Policy Manual

Fire and Occupational Safety

The University of Pennsylvania conducts fire drills two (2) times a year in all nonresidential type buildings and two (2) times per semester in all residential type buildings. In addition:

a. A record of all drills, including the results of a critique, shall be kept and shall be available to the Department of Licenses and Inspection on demand.

b. Drills must include the actual transmission of a fire alarm signal. Regulations further require the establishment of a formal evacuation procedure and an organizational structure within the building including a designated chief, floor captains and monitors.

Contact the Office of Safety Manager, 8-6921, regarding questions and/or assistance in complying with this policy.


Scheduling, conducting and ensuring an orderly evacuation shall be the responsibility of the Building Administrator or his/her designate who will serve as Chief of Exit Drills.

The extent of the actual drill will be at the discretion of the Building Administrator who, after consulting with the Safety Manager, will determine if total or partial evacuation will be performed. This decision will be based on the importance of programs and/or
projects which would be adversely affected by interruption, such as research projects, experiments in progress, etc.

A Floor Captain will be selected for each floor. Floor Captains will select monitors as required to cover conditions.

Back-up personnel for each position will be selected to ensure fixed responsibility in the event a regularly assigned person is not available.


Chief of Exit Drills will:


Fix time for holding drills and notify all building occupants. The fire alarm shall be used as the signal to start the drill.

Arrange in advance for an electrician to be available to restore the alarm system, notify the University of Pennsylvania Police Department that a drill is being conducted. Inform them again when drill is completed.

Arrange drills so that all means of egress are used by approximately the same number of people and ensure that in the event of a real emergency, the building is cleared in an orderly manner. Total evacuation is not always necessary, provided that safe refuge areas are predetermined, e.g. fire rated stairwells.

Conduct a critique after each drill.

Maintain a record of all fire drills, present to the Department of Licenses and Inspections on demand, include a brief comment of results of drill after critique is held.


Floor Captains will:


Have immediate charge of all occupants on his/her floor in all matters pertaining to exit drills, be responsible for the enforcement of rules and regulations.

Select and designate the exits to be used by the occupants during an alarm and appoint a sufficient number of monitors and alternates to adequately supervise each exit.

See that the evacuation from rooms and exiting into stairways is orderly, without crowding, and at uniform speed.

Appoint a responsible person who will see that exit doors are promptly opened, kept open until all persons have left the floor, and then closed.

Check all rooms to assure complete evacuation of the floor.


Monitors will:


Come under the direct control of the Floor Captain and have charge of leading people into the assigned exit in a safe and orderly manner.

Be aware of handicapped persons and provide for their evacuation to an area of safety until the arrival of the Fire Department.

Report alarm bells that are not operational to the Floor Captain.

Inform personnel on their respective floors as to location, purpose and use of fire related equipment.

Make sure that the people that have evacuated the building move away from the exit to allow firefighters unobstructed access to the building.

Assemble in a predetermined location to receive instructions on notifying and assisting people reentering the building.



All personnel should be familiar with the location, purpose and use of the building fire alarm system and fire suppression equipment.

IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY NOTIFY THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA POLICE DEPARTMENT IMMEDIATELY VIA PHONE (8-7333 or 511). The alarm system is connected to the Department of Public Safety, however, this is the secondary method of transmission, A DIRECT PHONE CALL IS THE PRIMARY METHOD.


Dial 8-7333 (or the appropriate tie-line then 7333). State your name and the location and extent of the fire, spill, fumes, etc. If applicable, state the nature of any handicap you or someone else may have, or of the need for an ambulance.

Sound the nearest fire alarm.

Evacuate the building, calmly, by following EXIT signs to fire exits. DO NOT USE ELEVATORS. People with handicaps and in wheelchairs should remain in fire towers until help arrives.

Remain on the scene, but at a safe distance, to receive and direct fire fighters when they arrive.


All University employees and contracting organizations working in University facilities will arrange through the electrical shops to deactivate or isolate automatic detector devices in the immediate vicinity where work requires the production of heat, flame and/or products of combustion.


In all cases where fire alarm devices are deactivated the University of Pennsylvania Police Department (8-7333) and the Physical Plant Operation Control Center (8-8686) must be notified. The system must be restored to service upon completion of work each day. Notification will also be made when systems are placed back in service.

Policy Number: 708
Effective Date: 2/1/1990
Supersedes Policy Number(s): N/A
Applicability: All University Employees
Cross-reference: Policy 001

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