Whelen Outdoor Mass Notification

The primary use for the Whelen Engineering Mass Notification Products is to: ALERT and INFORM a large number people. This chief objective is the specific reason why college and university campuses are in need for mass notification.  Often times, your campus has a large number of student, faculty, parents and other visitors on the grounds of the school.  The use of a Whelen Student Alert system provides the emergency manager/public safety officer to warn anyone of an impending emergency.  The Student Alert does not require the population to “opt-in” or subscribe to emergency notifications.  It is a non-discriminating form of alerting.  With the cyclical nature of the population and how frequent new students and visitors arrive daily, it is important that the warning message be delivered to all that it may benefit and not just those who have registered.

Emergencies and disasters, man made or natural, have been around since the dawn of man.

Unfortunately, the urgency in which the need for mass notification became prevalent and in the forefront of the public’s mind was on April 16th, 2007, the day of the Virginia Tech Massacre.  This tragic and unspeakable event raised concerns and heightened the awareness for public safety and emergency communications on school and university campuses nationwide.

Since then, many forms of mass notification have been discussed and used in the university market.  While there is no single perfect solution or product to ensure one-hundred percent effectiveness, ways have been developed to ensure a higher success rate of delivering an emergency message to the target audience (in this case, the campus population).  One of these proven methods of alerting the population instantly is the use of outdoor mass notification.

Whelen Student Alerts ready for shipment


The challenge of any outdoor warning design is the obvious obstructions: buildings, trees, ambient noise, weather conditions, etc.  With a college campus, these can be magnified due to the fact that often times there are many buildings all within a confined space.

Some key questions to answer in the initial design phase:

  1. What size area does the campus cover?
  2. What are the campus boundaries?
  3. Is the campus in a major metropolitan area or in a rural setting?
  4. What are the campus’ expectations of coverage?
  5. Where are the major obstructions? i.e. tallest buildings
  6. Does the campus require roof mount only or will pole mount suffice?
  7. Where are the common grounds, athletic fields and other large outdoor gathering areas?
  8. Where does the student population reside?

    Whelen Student Alert roof top mount with solar at Salisbury University


After these questions have been answered or confronted, equipment considerations can be determined.  Whelen’s Student Alert system has many options and variations when considering outdoor mass notification.  Whelen can provide omni-directional, rotating, voice or tone only speaker arrays for indoor and outdoor warning.

Key questions to answer for the proper equipment list:

  1. How does the campus want to activate the system?
    RF, landline, fiber, etc.
  2. Does the customer want pre-recorded and live PA voice messages?
  3. Can the voice sirens be pole mounted or roof mounted?
  4. Does the campus want indoor warning?
  5. Is there a power supply nearby?
  6. Does the campus prefer solar power?

    Whelen Student Alert roof top mount at Bloomsburg University

As each answer has been solved, the proper equipment for what the customer is looking for and what is to be recommended can then be proposed.

It is the hope that this information will be helpful in the initial design and proposal.  Should you need assistance to help in a final design and presentation, don’t hesitate to contact Roney International at 615.429.9640 or email at, the proud representatives of Whelen Engineering Company for over 20 years.  Experience counts.  Count on Roney.

A beneficial tool to help you initially design your own Outdoor Student Alert,  you can also visit Whelen’s WE plan to design your own system or contact Roney International for all your design needs.

Whelen Student Alert roof top mount with solar at the University of New Haven