6 ways you can help yourself stay safe

March 26, 2014  

This is the part of a series of articles discussing safety and security for the Purdue West Lafayette campus.

Take note of changes in behavior of those around you. If you have concerns, refer or take the person to sources of help. For faculty and staff, Purdue has an employee assistance counselor available through the Center for Healthy Living. For students, professionals are ready to help at Counseling and Psychological Services and the Office of the Dean of Students.

Enlist professionals and familiarize yourself with the University's policy. We have a collective, caring approach while at the same time mitigating risk. We offer counseling services and support groups as well as safe places for students to talk. For faculty and staff, we offer the services of an employee assistance counselor through the Center for Healthy Living.

In potentially alarming cases, the West Lafayette campus has two teams ready to help assess a situation and intervene if necessary. The Behavioral Intervention Team is student-focused and led by the vice president for student affairs. It is composed of representatives from Environmental Health and Public Safety; Counseling and Psychological Services, University Residences; legal counsel; and the Office of the Dean of Students. They meet as often as necessary, but at least weekly. They stay in constant communication with each other throughout the week.

The other intervention team -- the Employee Behavioral Assessment Team -- focuses on faculty and staff and is chaired by the vice president for human resources. It is composed of representatives from Human Resources, Environmental Health and Public Safety, police, legal counsel, and mental health professionals.

Both analyze potentially threatening situations, especially imminent threats to self or others, and take action to mitigate risk. At the same time, they offer help and support for individuals in distress.

The policy, which describes the processes in place to prevent violence on campus, can be found at www.purdue.edu/policies/facilities-safety/iva3.html.

Make the call. You are the University's eyes and ears. Call 911 for an emergency or make a call at one of nearly 300 emergency telephone stations around campus. Each has a blue light on top to help you identify them, even in the dark.

If it's not an emergency, other useful numbers include:

* Purdue crisis hotline: 765-495-HELP (2357)

* Purdue police non-emergency: 765-494-8221

* Dean of Students: 765-494-1747

* Counseling and Psychological Services: 765-494-6995

* Employee assistance counselor through the Center for Healthy Living: 765-494-0111

Report weapons. The University prohibits weapons on campus unless carried by law enforcement officers or their designees. (See www.purdue.edu/policies/facilities-safety/ivb1.html) Report violations to Purdue police.

Plan ahead. If you are in a threatening situation, help will be dispatched, but even quick response from police doesn't mean there aren't steps you can take to help protect yourself. Where might you go for safety? What would you do? Some good ideas are offered in the video "Shots Fired" at www.purdue.edu/securepurdue/news/2010/emergency-preparedness-shots-fired-on-campus-video.cfm.

Sign up for an All Hazards Awareness Training Session. The training will provide reminders on what constitutes an all-hazards emergency event and how faculty, staff and students in the classroom or elsewhere on campus should react in such a situation. Emergency preparedness officials will explain how the campus community receives emergency notifications through the multilayered Purdue Alert system, what "shelter in place" means and how to respond when they see the phrase in alerts sent out; evacuation procedures; what they can do to prepare; and available tools and resources. Sign up at https://www.itap.purdue.edu/apps/training/physicalfacilities/training.

Source: Carol Shelby, senior director, environmental health and public safety, 765-494-7504, cshelby@purdue.edu 


Also in the series:

* 10 tornado safety tips

* 6 ways to improve your safety

* Safety tips for campus drivers

* Safety tips for pedestrians on campus

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