College Safety Tips

Whether you’re going to college for the first time or are returning for another year, it’s important to review and remember top safety tips to ensure you’re taking the right precautions.

The following college safety tips can help you avoid dangerous situations, or help should you find yourself in a risky situation.

1. Don’t allow technology to make you unaware of your surroundings

Everyone with headphones and a smartphone knows, the minute you’re plugged in, the rest of the world takes a backseat to what is happening on your phone.  You stare at your phone not knowing what is going on around you.  This is exactly what you should be avoiding.

When you start to find yourself becoming unaware of what’s going on around you, consider turning the music down, putting your phone away and opening your eyes to what’s happening.

The key to avoiding a potentially dangerous situation is to recognize it as such. This is nearly impossible if you aren’t paying attention to situations you may be walking into.

2. Never walk alone at night

Walking around alone and in the dark is basically asking for trouble. Sure, there are times that you need to get from point A to point B which may occur at night, but you should always abide by the buddy system so that, should something happen, you’re not on your own.  If you are on campus and are concerned about getting to your vehicle safely at night, call campus security and they can help.

3. Utilize locks

While it’s easy to become relaxed in college life, there are some habits that should always remain standard. Locking your car doors and lockers should be one of them.

Aside from allowing yourself to be vulnerable, it’s also much easier for theft to take place if you’re essentially providing easier access to anyone who may want to take your belongings.

4. Carry some emergency cash

It’s good to have some cash on you at all times, just in case. Perhaps your credit card won’t work or your debit card gets lost. You never want to be stuck in a scary situation because you don’t have the necessary funds to get out of it as quickly as possible.

5. Locate the emergency call boxes/phones on campus

The Youngwood campus and all of the centers have emergency call boxes or phones for students to utilize in the event of an emergency. Know what is at your location and where the boxes and phones are located. Should you ever find yourself in trouble, it will be much easier if you know where you can call for help.

6. Know your way around campus

In addition to paying attention to your surroundings, you should know your surroundings as well.

Take time to become familiar with campus landmarks and streets so that you are able to navigate your way around, or out of an area, should you need to.

You should also know alternate routes you can use to get to campus in the event of a road closure or unexpected detour.

7. Never stay at a party when your friend leaves

No, you don’t need to call it an early night just because one of your friends does. But, what you should do is ensure you always have a minimum of one person with you that you know (and know you can trust).

Being alone in a party setting isn’t smart – go home if you’re going to be alone because it is not worth the risk to stay – no matter how nice everyone there seems.

8. Avoid becoming inebriated and losing control

If you’re getting to the point that you don’t have control of yourself or your surroundings, you need to stop and think about the types of situations you’re putting yourself in.

It’s far too easy for others to take advantage of you or a situation if you can’t think or act rationally.

9. Always have emergency contacts on you or in your device

Program emergency phone numbers into your cell phone.  At the Youngwood campus, the Park Police can be reached at 724-925-4250 or at 4250 from any campus phone.  In an emergency, call 911.

Additionally, make sure you have signed up for the RAVE emergency notification system.  This is how the school notifies you in an emergency situation or if school is closed due to inclement weather.  You can sign onto the RAVE system from the MyWestmoreland portal by clicking on the button labeled Emergency Alerts.