Audible Warning System

NC State University utilizes multiple methods to notify and communication emergency information to the campus community.  One method of notification is the WolfAlert Audible Warning System, intended to provide campus pedestrians, students, staff, and guests, with audible notification of an emergency event that affects our campus. 

This audible alert system consists of a series of poles or roof mounted speakers positioned throughout campus.  These speakers can produce both tone or voice output.  The audible alert system may sound for  campus emergencies during which individuals should seek shelter indoors (shelter in place) such as during a tornado warning for Wake County, a major hazardous materials release, and certain police emergencies.   Additional guidance on emergency communication and recommended actions such as signing up for text messaging and sheltering in place are available at the NC State Emergency Website  www.ncsu.edu/emergency-information.

An emergency warranting use of the audible alert system will be initiated by a pulsed tone lasting for 30 seconds followed by a short message, with this sequence repeated three times. When the audible alert tone sounds, NC State personnel are being advised to do the following:

  • Seek shelter immediately
  • Obtain information from the University home page on any additional action to be taken
  • Stay tuned for further information until an “all clear” signal is obtained from campus officials.  Any campus emergency initiated by the alert system will be closed with an “all clear” signal from the system.  This signal will be a “Westminster Chimes” tone followed by a short “all clear” message, with this sequence repeated three times.


In some cases, live voice messaging may be utilized.  In this event, a short voice message will be communicated to all or a select group of speakers.

In the event you hear an emergency tone, you should seek shelter and tune in to the NC State Emergency Website for further information.  In some cases, a voice announcement may accompany the audible tone, providing additional (but very brief) directions.  We ask that in such an event, you promptly follow directions provided, assist visitors around you, and refrain from calling NC State University Police or 911 as this can overload these emergency communications systems, hampering their ability to manage the  emergency.

NOTE:  You may be in a place on campus where you cannot hear the tone or voice message, or hear is clearly. The WolfAlert Audible Warning System is not designed to be heard inside buildings.  If you are outside and unable to hear the tone, (such as a remote section of NC State property) be sure you have other emergency communication tools in place such as cell phones and have signed up for text messaging. It is very difficult to obtain clear voice messages to all parts of campus covered by the audible alert system. If you are outside and can hear the tone but can’t understand the voice command, move quickly a bit further away from the building to see if this improves clarity, otherwise take shelter in the nearest building and obtain further information from building residents or the university webpage.  Emergency voice messages  typically include instructions to move inside and obtain further information.

All systems require testing to ensure that they are working properly.  A monthly test will be performed at 12:15 on the first Monday of each month.  This will be a short functional test using the “all clear” chime described above. In addition, a full volume test of the entire system will be conducted quarterly, utilizing the emergency pulsed tone.

Should you have any additional questions please contact NC State Campus Police, (919) 515-3000.