On some college campuses, it’s easy to develop an exaggerated sense of safety. Many buildings are within walking distance, you’re surrounded by students your age, and hey—you’re at college! What could go wrong? But there are hazards at college, too, and students often aren’t prepared. Awareness and a few simple, proactive steps can help you avoid this trap.
Biking is cheap, environmentally friendly, and fun (ask ET). To avoid bike theft:
- Lock your bike in a well-lit area.
- Lock the bike’s frame and tires—not just one—to the rack. Often, thieves take tires and frames from separate bicycles.
- Register your bicycle with campus security and record its make, model and serial number in case it’s stolen.
- If you ride at night use reflective equipment. Wear white, neon or brightly-colored clothes and helmets, and use a headlight, LED taillight, and reflectors.
- On a road, you are part of the traffic, so obey basic laws like stopping at stop signs and signaling before turning or changing lanes. Ride with traffic, not against it, and scan all directions at intersections.
- Don't carry anything in your hands while you ride.
- Maintain your bicycle tires and chain.
- Scan the road for potholes and drainage grates in time to avoid them.
ATMs are convenient places to access your bank accounts—and for strangers to do the same. It’s pretty easy for someone you don’t know to watch you type in your PIN and, if they’re swift, take your card. To avoid ATM crime, take a few simple precautions:
- Avoid using ATMs alone—bring a friend.
- Use ATMs during the daytime. If you have to use one at night, choose a well-lit ATM without tall bushes nearby.
- When you arrive at an ATM, look around. If you see anything that makes you uncomfortable or anyone who looks suspicious, use another ATM or tell the police before you return.
- If someone else is using the ATM, too, stay alert by looking around every few seconds.
- Protect your Personal Identification Number (PIN)—don’t enter your PIN if anyone else can see the screen or keypad and use your body as a shield.
- Don’t keep your ATM card in plain view.
- Cancel your transaction if anything seems suspicious. You can return later.
- When your transaction is complete, check that you have your card and receipt and leave. Don’t count your cash at the ATM.
- If you can’t reach your area police by dialing 911, program the telephone number into your phone.
College Fire Safety
Fire safety officials don’t confiscate teapots and hair irons for fun. Electronics and appliances can start fires that destroy buildings. Fires in college housing are most common during evenings and weekends and, though most fires are cooking-related, the majority of deaths occur in the bedroom.
Before a fire strikes:
- Know where the second exit is in case your primary exit is unusable.
- Don’t disable smoke alarms.
- Don’t run extension cords under carpets. Damaged cords can ignite the carpet.
- Learn how to use your fire extinguisher.
- Keep the fire sprinkler head clear.
- Don't overload an outlet with too many appliances.
- Learn where the Fire Alarm Pull Stations are.
- If you live off-campus, make sure your home has large address numbers on the front so the fire department can find your house.
- Install a smoke alarm.
- If you're cooking, don't use water on a grease fire. Cover it and smother it or use the fire extinguisher.
- If you live off campus, make sure you have a functional smoke alarm.
When a fire alarm sounds:
- Assume the fire is real and evacuate.
- If there’s a fire in your dorm room, leave immediately and close the door behind you. This will slow the fire’s progress and give you and your dorm-mates extra time.
- If you safely can, notify others by knocking on doors and yelling “fire’’ as you leave.
- Activate the alarm system by utilizing the closest pull station on your way to the exit.
- Go to the nearest Emergency Call Box and report the fire.
- Stay at that Emergency Call Box and await either the Campus Police or the Fire Department so you can give them as much information as possible.
If caught in a dorm fire:
- Check doors with the back of your hand before opening. If a door is hot, exit another way. If you can't get out, call 911 and go to the window to wait for help.
- If a door isn’t hot, slowly open it a crack and make sure there’s no smoke. If you see smoke, close the door and stay in your room.
- Put clothing or towels under the door to keep smoke from entering.