The emergency sirens that have been blaring from the campus of University of Maryland, Baltimore County, aren’t new, said campus Chief of Police Paul Dillon. They’ve been around since at least 2010, when he first came to the campus.

But they’ve definitely been more noticeable lately.


“It’s gone off a couple times, twice, back-to-back Thursdays. I think the last time it went off was in our last emergency exercise in the fall,” Dillon said.

Two weeks in a row, tornado warnings and other severe weather events triggered the campus’ emergency alert system, and because severe weather means people should seek shelter, the sirens went off.

Howard roads reopen, power restored after tornado ripped through Glenelg last week

Nearly 3,000 homes lost power and more than 30 roads were closed. Baltimore Gas and Electric Company restored service by Friday night for most.

Dillon said the sirens would sound anytime the campus police department believes people should seek shelter. Besides a severe weather event, like a tornado, it could signal a terrorist attack or an active shooter, Dillon said.

In addition to the sirens, UMBC police send text message and email alerts as well as pop-up messages on computers connected to the UMBC network with more details regarding emergencies.

Dillon said the police department has the capability to do voice messages over the sirens, but does not currently.

The best way for neighbors who aren’t affiliated with UMBC to get updates if they hear the sirens is to follow the UMBC police department on Twitter or Facebook, Dillon said.