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Emergency Drills

FES leads the charge in designing and conducting emergency evacuation and shelter-in-place drills in all Penn residential buildings (5 times/year in 14 different residential buildings and 2 times/year in fraternities and sororities) and academic/administrative buildings (2 times/year in 180 different buildings).

Evacuation and shelter-in-place drills are scheduled throughout the year to ensure the readiness of the campus community in responding to any type of crisis that requires building occupants to evacuate a building or to seek protective shelter inside of a building. Evacuation and sheltering-in-place are the inverse of one another. You evacuate a building when the conditions inside the building present a hazard to human life, health or safety. If the conditions outside of a building presented a hazard to human life, health or safety, one would reverse the evacuation steps and shelter inside a building.

Emergency Evacuation Drills

Evacuation drills include alarm activation to ensure fire protection and reliability, along with an orderly, disciplined evacuation, followed by a thorough inspection of the building to immediately rectify any code related issues. Finally, an on-site discussion is held with students, staff and faculty to evaluate and improve, when necessary, the performance and efficacy of these drills.

Specifically, upon activation of a building fire alarm system, the evacuation drill is designed to reinforce the message of immediately moving “out and away” from a building to the predetermined Building Area of Refuge (BAR) so that an accountability process can begin for all occupants. Before and during an emergency evacuation drill, the building administrator, building emergency coordinator and alternate, emergency team leaders and emergency team members collaborate with each other as part of a building’s Penn Emergency Team (PET).

Shelter-in-Place Drills

Shelter-in-place drills are a tactical response to a possible chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or natural disaster. They are designed to provide a place of refuge for people and to give them a level of physical, emotional and mental comfort. During a shelter-in-place drill, building occupants are directed to pre-designated “shelter areas” within a building.

The building administrator, building emergency coordinator and alternate, emergency team leaders, and emergency team members, similar to emergency evacuation drills, work as a team to assess the status of all building occupants and when necessary, relay emergency communications from the Division of Public Safety to the people sheltering.