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Alert Carolina Communication

The Alert Carolina System (ACS) communicates in multiple ways with students, faculty and staff, as well as visitors, local residents, parents and the news media in the event of an emergency or dangerous situation.

Under Alert Carolina System Protocols adopted in August 2011 and revised in Fall 2013, the University informs the campus community using four different types of notifications – Emergency Warning, Timely Warning and Informational and Adverse Weather.

Emergency Warning

An Emergency Warning is issued if there is a significant emergency or immediate threat to the health or safety of people on campus – such as an armed and dangerous person on campus, major chemical spill or a tornado warning issued for Chapel Hill and Carrboro. The emergency sirens will sound to alert people that they need to act now. Read more.

Timely Warning

A Timely Warning is issued if there is a continuing danger affecting the campus community and notification will not compromise law enforcement efforts – such as reports of a homicide, sex offense or robbery. Read more.



An Informational  message is issued if a situation is not an emergency and does not pose an immediate threat to the campus community, but is of significant interest to the campus. These messages are intended to tell people to be aware of a particular situation. For example an alleged assault occurring on or within close proximity to the campus that does not appear to pose a continuing threat, based on currently available information, including information from local law enforcement agencies. In addition, a crime occurring off campus but due to its location may have an impact on student or employee security interests.  Notification may be elevated to timely warning notification if additional information becomes available to DPS that there is a continuing threat to the campus community. Read more.

Adverse Weather

An Adverse Weather message is issued when a tornado watch or severe thunderstorm warning is issued by the National Weather Service for Orange County. The University may also send adverse weather notifications, including email, when other circumstances exist that do not represent an immediate threat to health or safety, yet action may enable people to protect themselves and/or their property. These situations may include approaching snow or ice storms or hurricanes. Read more.

Details about the Alert Carolina System and how people can expect to receive information are included in the University’s Alert Carolina System Protocols. This document also includes information about communicating with parents and families through the Office of New Student and Parent Programs and by registering on the American Red Cross Safe and Well list.

About Alert Carolina

Alert Carolina, a safety and awareness initiative launched in 2008, plays an instrumental role in supporting the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s overall efforts to communicate about an emergency or a situation affecting the safety and health of the campus community.

In an emergency or dangerous situation, the University will post safety-related announcements at this website, alertcarolina.unc.edu, along with updates, information and other resources.

Remember that it may take time for authorities to investigate the situation, verify the facts and provide the campus with instructions or updates. Do not call 911 or the Department of Public Safety for general information. The Alert Carolina website will provide new details as quickly as possible.

©2014 The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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