Western installs new weather siren
Western installs new weather siren

Western heightens emergency preparedness with new weather siren

Western University has implemented a new preparedness tool to ensure students, staff, faculty and members of its greater community receive the earliest possible warning in case of an imminent weather danger. 

Western has installed a city-first emergency Whelen omni-directional weather siren on the roof of Alumni Hall.  This siren can be heard on campus and a few kilometres into the community. In the case of a real weather emergency the siren tone followed by voice commends will indicate a need to take immediate action and seek shelter.

A stretch of southern Ontario including London is known to experience tornadoes, such as the one that devastated the town of Goderich in August 2011.  In the case of weather emergencies, early warning tools accompanied by comprehensive emergency plans increase public safety.  “With more than 30,000 students, faculty and staff on campus each day, Western is doing everything possible to ensure safety on campus and in the surrounding community,” said Elgin Austen, Director Western University Campus Community Police Service.  

The emergency weather siren has a silent test capability but will be sound tested between two and four times per year.   

 If you have any questions or concerns please contact Ashley Conyngham, Community Relations Specialist 519-661-2111, 85467 aconyng@uwo.ca


Weather Emergency Siren FAQ

Q: Why did Western think the sirens were necessary and why at this time? Why are we doing this?
A: There are thousands of people on campus everyday and the possibility of a weather emergency does exist – e.g. Goderich, Aug 2011. Being prepared, as we are with other emergency scenarios, is a responsible thing to do.
Q: How loud are the sirens?
A: A map has been developed to chart the approximate range of the sirens.
Q: When will the sirens be used?
A: The sirens will be used in the case of a severe weather emergency.
Q: Who will determine when to use the sirens?
A: Campus Police monitor changing weather conditions through radar and weather radios.  They are also sent alerts directly from Environment Canada.
Q: What should one do when they hear the sirens?
A: Take immediate personal action to seek shelter.
Q: How often will the sirens be tested and what will that be like?
A: Sirens have silent test capacity, which may take place monthly.  Actual sound tests will take place between 2 and 4 times a year. The community will be given advanced notice of testing.
Q: How will false alarms be dealt with?
A: False alarms are not possible – because a deliberate code must be entered for the siren to be activated.
Q: Is this part of a larger city strategy?
A: Not at this time, but in the future if our equipment and experience could lend a significant role in a larger strategy, Western would always look for ways to participate and partner.
Q: How do people know when it is safe?
A: There is an all-clear message included in the siren package and would be complemented by our current emergency procedures.
Q: Are there any other sirens systems in London?
A: Yes General Dynamics Land Systems Canada.
Q: What other Universities in Ontario have siren systems?
A: Queens University and McMaster University.

Available Media

Weather siren at Western installation - B roll

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Media Contacts

Keith Marnoch
Director, Media Relations
519-661-2111 ext. 85468

Jeff Renaud
Senior Media Relations Officer
519 661-2111 x85165

Stephen Ledgley
Senior Media Relations Officer
519-661-2111 ext. 85283

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