Emergency Alarm Triggers, Causes Confusion

Conor Merrick | News Editor | cpm2022@jagmail.southalabama.edu

Photo by: Michael Dunn | Photographer

The campus emergency alert system was accidentally triggered during routine maintenance on South’s Moulton Tower on March 14.

Although the alarm that was triggered was done so on accident, the severity of the situation remained a mystery to students who heard it. Once it was recognized as a mistaken alarm, the campus police gave an “all clear,” according to an email from the office of the university’s president. 

Senior exercise science major Quintavea Davis received the notification from campus police shortly after the alert was triggered.

“It was kind of scary at first,” Davis said. “But then they sent an email saying it was an accident…then I was like ‘okay, well, nothing to worry about’.”

Library technical assistant Anita Lovelady was at the Marx Library when students came in wondering if they should take shelter.

“A girl came up and said ‘are we on lockdown?’ and we were like ‘what?’,” Lovelady said. “She said the alarm had went off and so I called campus police and they assured us everything was fine.”

In the confusion, the news took longer to spread to other parts of campus that it was a false alarm, causing workers at Yolany Lizzeth Lagos Ortiz’s office on campus to take shelter. 

“We just didn’t know what was happening clearly, and because we didn’t receive a message we were in limbo,” Ortiz said in a message to The Vanguard. “It was very scary because we didn’t know what was happening. Someone in our office called several people and that’s how we learned it was a mistake and basically went back to our offices.”

A mass email from the office of South’s president was sent the next day apologizing for the confusion and fear the event may have caused students, faculty and staff.

The alarm system is intended to alert students to dangerous situations unfolding on campus so they can take shelter in time.