Three new warning sirens installed on TTU campus

Warning sirens recently installed on the campus of Tennessee Technological University will further enhance the university's response time in cases of severe weather or other emergency, ensuring the safety of students and staff as well as citizens in the immediate area.

It was approximately this time last year that Austin Peay State University in Clarksville was devastated by a tornado, triggering TTU officials to fine-tune an action plan for the campus should a similar event ever take place in Cookeville.

The sirens are located in three locations: at the intersection of North Whitney Avenue and University Drive by East Building G in Tech Village, on the south side of the Bryan Fine Arts Building, and near the emergency phone by Memorial Gym.

The sirens are also fitted with a public address feature which will enable campus officials to speak through them and broadcast any emergency information, such as evacuation routes.

"We wanted the public address feature so we could speak over them because of the propane companies near campus and the railroad nearby Ð in case there was any kind of hazardous accidents on the road or the railroad, we wanted to be able to direct a mass or partial evacuation of campus," explained Jim Cobb, director of Environmental Health and Safety.

The warning sirens have been tested and are fully operational. Cost for the sirens and their installation was approximately $45,000.

The sirens are made by Federal Signal Corp., the same company that Putnam County and Cookeville purchased their warning sirens from. By having all the sirens from the same company, they are all hooked up to the same system and TTU's sirens can readily be activated by Putnam County's emergency management director, Cobb said.

"We wanted the local emergency management director to be able to activate our sirens at the same time he activates the county's and city's. But we do also have the ability to activate our sirens from campus," Cobb said.

In case of a tornado in Cookeville, students, staff and faculty at TTU have been instructed to gather in the ground floor corridors of most buildings, considered "safe-zones."

Also, safety personnel, working through the Safety and Environmental Committee, are purchasing placards that will be used to identify storm-shelter areas on campus.