Penn Public Safety to Conduct UPennAlert Drill, Host Fire Safety and Emergency Preparedness Day

facebook twitter google print email
Media Contact:Jill DiSanto-Haines | | 215-898-4820September 7, 2011

PHILADELPHIA — The University of Pennsylvania’s Division of Public Safety will conduct a UPennAlert Emergency Notification Test with a campus-wide shelter-in-place awareness drill, Thursday, Sept. 22, at 2:55 p.m. 

UPennAlert is an emergency communications system that allows the University to quickly provide the Penn community and campus visitors with critical information during a crisis through various methods, including text messages, voice mails, e-mails, the Penn Siren Outdoor System, the Public Safety Web site and other digital displays.

In testing all of the delivery methods, Public Safety will send messages to all registered members of the UPennAlert System, instructing recipients to become familiar with the shelter locations in campus buildings in the event of a possible chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or weather-related emergency. 

“Our number one goal with this test of the UPennAlert System, and all of our Public Safety programs, is to enhance the safety and security of our community,” Maureen S. Rush, vice president for public safety, said.  “The UPennAlert System serves approximately 55,000 people.”

As an added layer of protection, Penn’s Siren Outdoor System, Penn SOS, which consists of 15 outdoor speakers, will transmit a 15-second siren and emergency voice messages to the outdoor campus environment.

 “The effectiveness of the UPennAlert system is dependent on our students, faculty and staff registering and providing accurate, up-to-date personal contact information,” said Mitch Yanak, the director of technology and emergency communication in Public Safety.  “We have made extra efforts to ensure that new students, staff and faculty have registered and are familiar with the system.”

Students can register by accessing PennInTouch via the Penn Portal at

Faculty and staff can register through the Penn directories at by clicking on “update directory listings” and logging in with a PennKey.  Another method is by accessing U@Penn directly via, clicking on “my directory information” and logging in using a PennKey.

In conjunction with the UPennAlert and shelter-in-place drill, Public Safety and the Philadelphia Fire Department will hold the annual Fire Safety and Emergency Preparedness Day as a part of the national campaign for campus fire safety and emergency preparedness.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m, personnel from the PFD, along with Penn’s Fire and Emergency Services, will be at intersections across campus distributing safety literature and answering safety questions.

In addition, the PFD’s Fire Safety Trailer, used to promote home fire safety awareness, will be on College Green for tours by students, faculty, staff and visitors.