GVSU installs new tornado warning system

Chelsea Lane

With tornado season on the verge, Grand Valley State University’s campus is gearing up with a new emergency alert system.

Five new electromechanical tornado sirens are being installed on campus to replace the university’s current old-fashioned tornado siren behind the Fieldhouse, which will eventually be removed once installation of the new sirens is completed. The Grand Valley Police Department hopes to have all five new sirens up and running by the start of April.

The new sirens will be erected west of the Fieldhouse, north of Kliener Commons, on top of Zumberge Library, by Robinson Field and on Pierce Street near the Lake Michigan Credit Union kiosk. Two of the sirens have already been installed and regular testing of the system will commence once all five are operational.

The sirens, which are being installed by West Shore Services, are linked to Ottawa County’s 911 system, and in addition to broadcasting a traditional tornado warning siren, they can also act as public address system and play pre-recorded messages. When Ottawa County is alerted of an incoming tornado or other potential safety hazard, GVSU will automatically be alerted as well.

“Our current tornado siren does not cover the entire campus well, nor does it really penetrate any of the buildings,” said Capt. Brandon DeHaan, assistant director of the GVPD. “With these multiple locations, it should be able to cover the entire campus well, including the golf course, and should be able to spread to some of the off-campus apartments. It will be able to penetrate some of the buildings, but not all, and should be able to warn more individuals on campus.”

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