Environmental Health & Safety

Seahawk Warning Siren System

Recognize the Siren Sounds

In an emergency requiring shelter in place, the siren will sound as a 16 second "up" tone, followed by an eight second "down" tone cycling for four minutes.

When you hear the alert tone, take shelter immediately!

When the emergency has ended and shelter in place is no longer required, the siren will sound again to indicate an all clear. This tone will sound as a steady tone for three full minutes.

Siren Warning Tone - Sirengraphic WarningTone 

Siren All Clear Tone - SirengraphicAll Clear tone 

An "all clear" will not be issued until conditions are deemed safe by emergency officials. Therefore, depending on the nature of the emergency, issuing an "all clear" could take several minutes or several hours. All campus community members should remain patient and sheltered until an "all clear" has been issued. The siren will sound a second time on a steady tone for three full minutes to signify an "all clear and emergency information sources will be updated."














Emergency Alert


30 seconds (7 full oscillations), followed by recorded voice; then 17 seconds (4 full oscillations) followed by recorded voice; 3rd cycle same as the 2nd

Attention: This is an emergency. Go to a safe location.

Play tone and voice message 3 times; 2nd and 3rd cycles are shorter than the 1st



All Clear





Westminster Chimes

20 seconds (full cycle – hour chime), followed by recorded voice; then 9 seconds (2 phrases – half-past chime), followed by recorded voice

Attention: All Clear. This is an all clear message.

Play tone and voice message 2 times; 2nd cycle is shorter than the 1st



Audible Test






17 seconds (4 full oscillations), followed by recorded voice; repeat once

Attention: This is a test of the Seahawk Siren System. This is only a test.

Play tones and message 2 times











Audible Distance

When the siren sounds, people within a 1.5 mile radius of each siren location (Schwartz Hall and DePaolo Hall) will be able to hear it. The siren will sound loudest closer to the actual siren locations and the sound will decrease as the distance increases from these locations.

For a map of the siren coverage, please click here.

About the Siren

UNCW upgraded its outdoor warning siren system in June 2020 as part of a life cycle replacement of a siren system installed in the late 2000s. The system now consists of five strategically placed sirens that warn the university community to take shelter in a major emergency, such as a severe weather event. The system now consists of an alert tone along with a recorded message. This sequence is repeated several times and is intended to provide additional capabilities to improve the safety of the campus community. An all clear announcement will follow all emergency activations, and there is also the ability for the system to serve as a mass alert public address system.

The siren will be sounded only during major emergencies when the majority of the UNCW community will need to shelter in place in order to stay safe. When a UNCW community member hears the siren, he/she should take shelter indoors in a safe location immediately, seek information from a variety of sources such as the UNCW social media, university email, or the UNCW homepage. (Information will be posted as soon as it is available), and wait for an "all clear" siren or message.

Why have a siren on campus?

UNCW has seen the need for an instant notification system for the campus that can alert the campus community of major emergencies. A siren system serves the purpose of notifying the UNCW community who are outdoors instantly if a major emergency is occurring on campus. While fire alarms can notify building occupants to immediately evacuate a space, the siren system allows for a method of notifying students, faculty, staff, and visitors who are outdoors that a major emergency is taking place and to seek shelter to stay safe.

The Seahawk Warning Siren System is meant to be an outdoor emergency warning system that is used to warn people of the need to take shelter indoors. People who are outdoors on the UNCW campus will be able to hear the sirens. Additionally, the siren will penetrate many buildings on campus so individuals inside may also hear the siren however, the siren system is primarily intended to be an outdoor warning tool.  Because the siren is an outdoor warning system, it may not penetrate all buildings on campus. In these buildings, alternate notification methods will be used to alert the occupants of an emergency.

Taking Shelter

When the sirens sound, everyone on the UNCW main campus should take shelter indoors immediately. Close all windows and doors, if possible, and remain sheltered until an "all clear" is given.

Seeking Information

When the siren sounds, university officials will post information about the emergency as soon as possible. However, depending on the nature of the emergency, it may take several minutes for information to become available. For this reason, it is important that campus community members remain sheltered until an "all clear" has been issued.

There are several ways to seek out emergency information after the sirens have sounded:

For Everyone:

  • Call the Emergency Information Hotline at (910)962-3991 or toll free at (888)657-5751.
  • Check Facebook (facebook.com/UNCWilmington) and Twitter (twitter.com/UNCWilmington)
  • Check the Emergency Information Website at https://sites.google.com/site/uncwalert/
  • Visit the UNCW homepage at www.uncw.edu
    • Click on the "Emergency & Safety" link or the "News" headline.

For Students, Faculty, Staff, Parents and Community Members:

  • Check one's cell phone for an emergency text alert from UNCWAlert
    • Students are automatically registered, however, all others must self-register
  • Check UNCW issued e-mail for an emergency e-mail notification.

UNCW Neighbors

Neighbors in the surrounding area of UNCW's main campus will be able to hear the siren when it is activated. In this case, neighbors should seek information in the same way UNCW community members will (i.e. by checking the UNCW homepage, calling the Emergency Information Hotline, etc.). The siren will warn surrounding neighbors of immediate hazards requiring shelter in place just as it will warn the UNCW community. Neighbors should take shelter as well, because an emergency requiring siren activation will likely not only affect the main campus, but also the surrounding areas. Neighbors will be notified about the full volume siren tests through various means by the Office of University Relations and others. If you are a neighbor to UNCW and would like to be added to the siren notification e-mail list, or if you have concerns about the siren system, please e-mail the UNCW Emergency Manager


There are five sirens located on UNCW's main campus. Sirens are located on the roof of Schwartz Hall (a residence hall), the roof of DePaolo Hall (which houses Student Health and other student services), Sea Hawk Landing (edge of back parking lot); beside Friday Annex and at Boseman Field. 


If you have any additional questions or comments about the Seahawk Warning Siren System, contact the UNCW Environmental Health & Safety Department at (910)962-3057 or e-mail Emergency Management.