Penn Siren Outdoor System (PennSOS)

The Division of Public Safety, in conjunction with the Division of Facilities and Real Estate Services (FRES), has launched the Penn Siren Outdoor System (PennSOS). This 22 speaker system operates as part of UPennAlert Emergency Notification System, transmitting voice intelligible emergency messages and alert tones to the outdoor campus environment. PennSOS is not designed to penetrate buildings, but will be audible above normal street noise.


PennSOS is one of several delivery methods for disseminating a UPennAlert Emergency Notification. Currently, the UPennAlert System serves fifty-five thousand (55,000) Penn affiliates by delivering emergency notifications via electronic devices. Penn SOS provides a second layer of protection for the Penn Community, offering the advantage of communicating with all individuals located outdoors, throughout Penn’s campus. These individuals might not otherwise receive emergency notification if they are not registered with the UPennAlert System, or are not a Penn affiliate. In the event of a major emergency, both systems could be used to alert people in the area of an immediate, dangerous situation.

Benefits of PennSOS:

  1. PennSOS provides mass notification capabilities to the broader Penn community, visitors & neighbors
  2. 22 strategically placed speaker locations can be operated individually or simultaneously
  3. PennSOS transmits voice intelligible emergency messages to the OUTDOOR campus environment
  4. PennSOS works as part of the UPennAlert Emergency Notification System
  5. PennSOS generates both an alert tone siren & voice intelligible messaging
  6. PennSOS is designed to interface with fire alarm panels providing indoor public address capabilities on campus

System Testing Schedule

To promote system reliability, monthly tests, using Westminster Chimes, will be conducted on the first Friday of each month at 11:00 a.m. In compliance with the Clery Act, PennSOS will be tested annually, in conjunction with the annual UPennAlert drill, using the actual siren. Notifications will be made to the community in advance of this test. You can hear all possible sounds below.

PennSOS Examples

Testing: Systems tests of the PennSOS will be conducted using Westminster Chimes.

Emergency: In an emergency you will hear a fifteen (15) second siren followed by a voice intelligible message instructing you on what to do. This will repeat three (3) times

All Clear: When it is deemed safe to resume your normal activity, the system will emit a series of beeps followed by a voice intelligible message indicating it is “All Clear”.

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