Department of Public Safety

690 South Church Street
West Chester, Pennsylvania 19383
610-436-3311


External Notification System

What does it mean when I hear the External Notification System?

External Notification

The External Notification System sound alert means that there is a significant emergency on campus, a potentially dangerous condition, or impending threat. Examples of these significant emergencies would be a person with a gun, flooding, a large building fire with toxic smoke or a chemical release into the air, a HAZMAT incident, or the approach of severe weather. You should log into www.wcupa.edu for information and/or instructions. If you do not have access to this information source, chances are you will be close to someone who does (a fellow student or coworker, a Building Administrator, a campus police officer or other authority figure, etc.) and they can tell you what is taking place and what you should do.

Please remember to assist those with disabilities and share emergency notification information with them if appropriate.


What kind of sound will the External Notification System make?
The External Notification System has the capability to emit a variety of alert tones. The University has chosen to use a combination of tones and voice commands to alert the community to an emergency. After the initial External Notification System tone is complete, a pre-recorded or live voice message will follow providing information regarding the emergency and suggested follow-up actions. At the conclusion of an emergency, there will be an "All Clear" signal indicating that the emergency is over.

Are the External Notification System sirens the only way that the campus community will be alerted to an emergency?
No. The University believes in redundancy in emergency notification. Although the External Notification System will be a prominent part of the University's emergency warning system, the system also includes mass emails, website posting, digital signage, and text messages. All members of the University community should enroll in WCUALERT to receive text messages.


Will all External Notification System activations always mean that there is an emergency on campus?
No. The External Notification Systems must be tested at regular intervals. The University tests all components emergency communications system together once each semester. The protocol for testing the emergency communication systems is quarterly. The test tone will sound differently than the emergency tone. Additionally, there may be maintenance performed on a particular system siren or the entire system that requires activation. In cases of External Notification System maintenance where it is necessary to activate the system, the campus community will be notified in advance.


If I am inside my residence hall, class, or office, will I hear the External Notification System?
The External Notification System is designed to alert people outdoors. Some people will be able to hear the system indoors; depending on how close the indoor location is to the nearest system speaker array and depending on the volume of other noise indoors, such as a TV, radio, or machinery. Since there is the possibility that people who are indoors may not hear or clearly hear the External Notification System, it is important to enroll in WCUALERT and receive alerts through other forms of communication.


If I'm driving, will I hear the External Notification System?
The External Notification System is designed to provide all the campus with audio coverage. However, depending upon how close you are to a system speaker array, whether your car windows are open or closed, and whether there is audio interference in your vehicle from other sources such as a cellular telephone or stereo system, you may or may not hear the External Notification System.