The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

DPS hosted their health and safety fair on Sept. 30, 2022. Credit: Avi Singh

Around 200 Penn community members gathered to attend the Division of Public Safety's "An Ounce of Prevention” Health and Safety Fair for the first time since the pandemic began.

The event was coordinated in partnership with the Medical Emergency Response Team and the Penn Division of Finance to raise awareness about the public safety resources available on campus. The three-hour program on Sept. 30 featured a live controlled burn demonstration, a CPR demonstration, and speeches from members of DPS.

Tables were spread across the venue's location at the high rise field, featuring campus groups such as the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, Penn Sustainability, Wellness at Penn, and MERT. Penn’s dining halls also competed in a chili cook-off competition, where attendees lined up to try the different preparations and voted on their favorite recipes.

At 11:30 a.m., Fire and Emergency Services Safety Specialist Matthew Poissant demonstrated the benefit of sprinkler systems, which are installed in every Penn dormitory and many other campus buildings with a live burn.

In the life-size dormitory model room without sprinklers, the couch and other furniture items were completely destroyed by the time the first fire truck would arrive on the scene — which typically takes five minutes. Conversely, in the model room installed with sprinklers, the fire's heat triggered the sprinkler system, which successfully put out the fire within 26 seconds. 

Chief of Fire and Emergency Services Eugene Janda explained to the audience that sprinklers are the most efficient way to combat fires when they start, and it is crucial that they are integrated into future building projects.

“We’re proud to have sprinklers over the heads of everyone who sleeps on this campus,” Janda said. “We need a few more buildings that we’re working to get sprinklers for, and that should happen in the near future.”

Following the fire demonstration, members of MERT demonstrated how to care for burn wounds and taught the audience, including Penn's mascot the Quaker, how to perform CPR correctly.

Vice President for Public Safety Kathleen Shields Anderson spoke with The Daily Pennsylvanian and offered advice to upperclassmen moving to off-campus residences. 

“If you’re looking at off-campus housing, ask if they have sprinklers, if there are working smoke detectors, and make sure that they’re being tested twice a year,” Anderson said. “Always put your safety above everything else. There’s nothing more important than how you feel and that you stay safe.”