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In July, the University released plans for the Penn Siren Outdoor System, an alert system that will transmit siren sounds and intelligible voice messages across the greater campus outdoor area to communicate in the event of an emergency.

The system's 13 speakers were installed on campus this summer.

Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush said the University decided to install the sirens to help take precautionary measures when there is a "very major event."

Incidents for the sirens' potential activation include the presence of a gunman or rapist on campus, a severe weather emergency or a chemical spill from a refinery to Penn's southeast, Rush said.

Penn SOS is the second phase of the UPennAlert Emergency Notification System. The first phase involved sending alerts to members of the Penn community via text messaging, voicemail and e-mail.

The program is also beneficial because the sirens will reach people on Penn's campus who are not students or faculty, Rush added.

In the event of an incident, community members will also be able to gather information by visiting the DPS Web site and by receiving updates through the Greater Philadelphia area's alert system, ReadyNotifyPA.

The decision to install the sirens was discussed with an advisory board that included student representatives from the Undergraduate Assembly, the Graduate and Professional Student Agency and the United Minorities Council.

The siren system Penn is implementing is similar to systems common in the Midwest and Florida used to alert people when there are weather emergencies, Rush said.

Rush declined to comment on the cost of the system.

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