PEMA Urges Visitors to Plan Ahead to Stay Safe During Papal Visit Activities in Philadelphia


September 22, 2015

Harrisburg, PA – People planning to travel to Philadelphia for Pope Francis’ visit this weekend should take steps now to ensure their safety during the event.

“Double-check your bags to make sure you have important information such as tickets, mass transit schedules and maps, and make sure everyone in your group has a copy,” said Pennsylvania Emergency Management Director Richard D. Flinn, Jr. “Figure out how your group will communicate and reunite if you get separated, whether you use text messaging or social media.”

During the weekend’s events, Flinn said people should allow plenty of time to get through security screenings, and be prepared to walk long distances and stand for long periods of time.

At the security screenings:

• keep your shoes and coat on;
• remove all metal objects and electronic devices from your pockets;
• open all bags so security personnel can quickly view them;
• keep your ID in your wallet – you will not need to show it; and
• if your event requires a ticket for entry, have it out and ready to be checked.

Flinn also reminded people to be aware of their surroundings and to report suspicious packages to the nearest law enforcement or security personnel.

“A lot of people at all levels of government have put thousands of hours of planning into ensuring the safety of everyone who wants to be part of this historic event,” Flinn said. “But we also want everyone to know they shouldn’t hesitate to let officials know if they see something that doesn’t seem right.”

If you get caught up in a crowd of people:

• try to walk around crowds, rather than through them;
• stay on your feet – do not sit down or bend down to pick up something;
• if you fall down, get back up on your feet as quickly as possible;
• move with the flow of people, rather than against the flow; and
• carefully and safely make your way toward the edge of the crowd.

To assist those traveling to Philadelphia for the papal visit, PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission launched a detailed travelers’ website –  The website is a useful tool that provides real-time traffic information; details on how to reach the papal venues, and how to take diversion routes around the region; color-coded maps showing how traffic is flowing; and other valuable event information. The site is accessible from both desktop and mobile interfaces.

MEDIA CONTACT: Ruth Miller, 717-651-2009,