School installs alarm system

By Spencer Gisser

A new system of alarms has been installed at both the Upper School and the Middle School. The alarms are essentially tornado warning systems that have been reconfigured and redesigned to work in the context of an academic environment.

When activated, the alarm at the Upper School can be heard from Mulholland Drive to Riverside Drive.

“The system’s sound will be able to penetrate even our soundproof rooms,” said Jim Crawford, the Director of Security at Harvard-Westlake and the head of CJL Security Inc.

The alarms can be activated both by panic buttons at pre-designated locations on each campus and cellular phones.

The alarms are 300 pound battery-operated electronic sirens that the school has purchased from the Whelen Engineering Company Inc., an emergency warning company founded in 1952.

The alarms that the school has installed can broadcast “clear, uniform and powerful 360 degree warning instantaneously throughout their coverage area,” according to the Whelen web site. The school’€™s Whelen alarms have also been programmed to issue vocal commands.

Members of school security will run several lockdown drills throughout the year to familiarize students and faculty with the operation and sound of the new alarm system, Crawford said.