Student safety takes priority

By Tyler Manoukian

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Kadyrose Druar/Collegian

As the new school year gets underway, the Canadian Standards Association International and the University of Massachusetts Police Department have provided students with some safety tips to get through the upcoming year.

“It is important for students to take safety precautions on campus to help protect themselves and those around them,” said Anthony Toderian, a product safety expert of CSA International.

CSA International is an accredited certification and testing program with over 90 years of experience. Their experience allows them to update tips and suggestions continuously in order to avoid accident and injury.
Dorm safety.

CSA primarily advises students to make sure a working carbon monoxide alarm is installed near your room. Carbon monoxide is a very lethal gas, compounded by its state of being odorless and colorless. Termed the “silent killer,” the gas kills 500 people annually. Symptoms are easy to misdiagnose, and include nausea, dizziness, headaches and fatigue.

Smoke alarms are equally important. They should be tested monthly and placed outside all sleeping areas. Make sure that the alarm has been certified by an accredited organization.

Electrical safety is commonly overlooked in a college setting with so many students plugging in micro-fridges, sound systems, gaming systems, and flat screen televisions. With students looking to bring the comforts of home into their dorms, electrical safety cannot be ignored.

“For many students, this is the first time they are living away from home and setting up their rooms and apartments with the electrical items they need, often in small spaces,” Toderian said.

CSA suggests extension cords not be used as a permanent connection. Extension cords should be temporary and not used to link with power strips. Cords should be single use and long enough to reach without stretching.

It is important to follow all recommended safety procedures. Make sure lamps and lights and other appliances have no frayed wires. This can cause an electrical spark, which could cause a fire. Avoid hanging decorations near exit signs, sprinklers, or extinguishers – these could hinder your vision and safety.

Beware Counterfeits

Counterfeit electronics are another major detractor of student safety. These can include microwave ovens, mini-fridges, MP3 docks and other common expensive devices. Counterfeit products are usually missing certification marks.
Look for unclear labels, misspelled words and a product that is light and flimsy. If the iPod does not look like a product Apple would sell, be aware of suspected counterfeit. Products without brand labels, or trademarks with return addresses are generally items to avoid.

Campus Security

The UMass Police Department also recommends additional safety tips that could increase the chances of student safety. For those uncomfortable with the thought of walking home alone, UMPD offers a walking escort service between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m. For the escort service, you can call 413-545-2123. Students are also encouraged to take the bus after hours, when it is too dark to walk alone.

Identity theft on the college campus is a real issue. Fraudulent transactions are often a by-product of this crime. Never give out any personal information to someone who you do not know or seem suspicious. Keep important information, such as your UMass Student ID number, passwords and PINs to yourself.

Precautionary Programs

One of the most significant safety steps the UMPD have taken is the Like it, Lock it, Keep it program, which encourages students to always lock their doors when leaving their room.

Operation Identification is another program that “etches” an identification number into your personal property. In the event the item is stolen and recovered, the item can be more easily identifiable with the owner. Students can call 413-545-2121 between 7:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday for more information about the service.

While you can not prevent bad things from happening, you can help reduce your chances by keeping your safety your priority.

Tyler Manoukian can be reached at [email protected]