Starting college is exciting, but it also means students are responsible for themselves and their safety, often for the first time. Here are some basic safety tips for students looking to stay safe and secure.

“The first thing [students] should not do is panic,”said UVU Police Sgt. Eric Beveridge. “Panic causes more stress and confusion to situations, and panic is contagious; it spreads like wildfire.” According to Sgt. Beveridge, students should always be aware of their surroundings, should know at least two ways out of a building in the event of an emergency, and should travel in pairs, especially at night.

Depending on the emergency, students might be asked to evacuate. If that is the case, they should leave immediately and not attempt to take any personal or university property with them. “Preservation of life and the prevention of personal injury are the main goals in an evacuation,”Sgt. Beveridge said.

Theft

Theft is a common crime on campus, so students should always keep property secure and not leave it unattended. Most thefts are crimes of opportunity because of unattended items or unlocked vehicles.“If [students] have a locker, keep it locked. If they are using a backpack, keep the backpack near them,”said Director of Emergency Management and Safety Robin Ebmeyer. “Don’t walk away from anything you don’t want stolen.”

Violence/Sexual assault

In the case of a suspicious person, Sgt. Beveridge suggests that students should watch the person for a couple of minutes and use common sense to determine if police are needed.

However, if someone is causing a disturbance by being aggressive or throwing items around, then the police need to be called immediately.

If a student observes a physical assault, they should call police immediately. Students are advised to not intervene if someone is being injured because of the potential for being hurt.

Physical assaults and sexual assaults can be reported to police or the Title IX office. It is recommended to report to police if students want criminal action taken and Title IX for academic support.

In the event of a sexual assault, students should also reach out to Student Health Services located on the second floor of the Sorensen Center, where counselling is available and completely confidential.

Active shooter

Sadly, school shootings have become more common in recent years and are a real possibility. Campus-wide text alerts are sent out to students, faculty and staff as soon as possible, usually within seconds of the first report of shots fired. These alerts are also sent out for natural disasters and other emergency situations.
“Depending on where the shooter is, students should run, hide or fight,”Sgt. Beveridge said.
He recommends students should get out of the area and run.

If running is not an option, then he suggests hiding or locking up in rooms or offices.

Sgt. Beveridge advises students to place chairs, desks, filing cabinets or any furniture in front of the door and to remain quiet.

He also suggests turning off the lights.

“Typically an active shooter is not going to take a lot of time getting into a room that is difficult to enter unless he has one person in mind as a target,”he said. Students who carry concealed weapons should get out as well and should not go looking for the shooter.

Law enforcement from all over the county will be responding to campus and will not be able to determine a good samaritan from the shooter. Sgt. Beveridge said that, unless the concealed carry holder is confronted by the gunman, they should not draw their weapon.

Earthquake

Besides active shooters and general safety, earthquakes are also a real possibility while on or near campus because UVU is near the Wasatch Fault Line. According to UVU’s Emergency Management Office, these are the steps to take before and after an earthquake:

During the shaking, students stay inside and take cover under sturdy furniture.

They should also keep away from windows and other large, glass items.

After the shaking, do not turn on any light switches and proceed with caution while exiting.

Also, assisting others around you and avoiding crowded exits is also recommended.While it is unlikely that students will experience an emergency on campus, it is always good to be prepared.

For more UVU Review coverage of this subject:

Safety First: UVU faculty and students discuss campus violence, how to prevent it

McKhelyn Jones, Editor-in-Chief
Editor in Chief and life-long student