Safety Tips from the Heart of America Metro Fire Chiefs Council
College Safety Tips
Going to college is a daunting experience - perhaps the first time students
live on their own and are responsible for taking care of themselves. When
campus crime is added to the equation, safety is a priority. If you
are a student heading off to college, or if you are a parent with a child
who will be leaving home to attend college, these tips are for making college
a safer place to learn.
Think Of Safety Before Applying to Colleges:
Research the schools that you are interested in applying to and obtain the
college safety statistics for each school.
- Visit the Office
of Post Secondary Education’s website to get important information
on college safety. There you can find answers to your questions
about the safety of these colleges.
Safely Traveling Back And Forth to College:
- Have an auto safety kit and first aid kit in your car in case of a roadside
- Keep your cell phone with you while traveling so that you could call
for help in case of emergency.
Before Moving Into Your College Dormitory or Off-Campus Apartment:
- Inspect the dormitory room or off-campus apartment for carbon monoxide
detectors and smoke alarms. If alarms are not present, be sure to
install them. If smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectorsare
present, test the alarms to make sure that they are working.
- Check to see if there are sprinkler systems installed or other safety
measures that will ensure your safety in case of a fire.
After You Have Settled into Your New Living Quarters:
- Be sure to participate in fire drills and adhere to guidelines for evacuation
when a fire alarm sounds.
- Never ignore the sounding of a fire alarm. Even if there have been
other false alarms, still take each and every alarm seriously.
- Have a plan ready in advance of outlining what to do in case of a fire
or emergency. Don’t wait until an emergency arises to make
your college safety plan. It is already too late!
- If you reside in a level above the first floor, purchase a fire escape
ladder to ensure that you can escape in case of fire or emergency.
- Check electrical outlets for overheating.
- Do not overload outlets.
- Purchase power strips with an over current protector that will automatically
shut off if too much current is being drawn.
- Purchase appliances such as irons and coffee pots with automatic shut
- Use fire proof mitts and pot holders for cooking.
- Keep candles away form curtains and other linens.
- Have an ABC fire extinguisher installed within ten feet of the kitchen.
Take Extra Precautions When You Live In Off-Campus Housing:
- 79% of fatalities from fires at colleges occur in off campus apartments
compared to 12% in dormitories.
- Be extra diligent in making sure that fire alarms and carbon monoxide
detectors are installed and working to be safe in your college apartment.
Have Your Own College Safety Items Readily Available:
- Don’t rely on others for your safety. You are ultimately
responsible for your safety while away at college.
- Have your own first aid kit and college survival kit in case of emergency.
- If you are going to a college in a different part of the country, be
sure to know the weather conditions you may encounter in your new environment. A
hurricane, blizzard or tornado could leave you stranded in your room or
apartment for a few days unexpectedly.
- Be prepared with a college survival
kit that contains the necessary items that could sustain you in case of
an emergency. Purchase a collegesurvival
kit with an emergency water supply. There are kits to choose from
that have water contained in small pouches. These are convenient
given the space constraints in most dorms and apartments. All necessary
safety items are stored in one small compact case readily available for
you at all times.
Be Safe When Walking Alone On Campus:
- Arm yourself with mace or pepper spray if you walk alone to class.
- Know your surroundings at all times. Be aware!
- Attach a personal alarm to your key chain that can be sounded if someone
is following you.
- Try to stay in a group.
- If jogging at night, be sure to wear a reflective safety vest so that
motorists can see you.
Adhere To A Buddy System While Away At College:
- Let at least one person know where you are going and who you are going
- It can only help if friends keep a watchful eye out for each other.
- If you are in an emergency situation and don’t come home, at least
someone will “miss” you and be able to alert the authorities.
One Final College Safety Tip:
Put the word ICE (In Case of Emergency)into your phone with a parent
or guardian name programmed with this code. The authorities know to
look for this code in case an emergency occurs and they need to get in touch
with a relative.
Enjoy yourself while away at college and keep yourself safe. Be aware
of all the safety precautions that you have available to you.
Floyd Peoples, Chief Fire Marshal, Kansas City, Mo., Fire Department, 816-784-9100
Heart of America Metro Fire Chiefs Council, 9550 W. 95th St., Overland Park, Kan. 66212