Safety and Security

Safety and Security Guidelines

Harrisonburg residents enjoy a relatively low crime rate. However, it is the responsibility of every member of the campus community to take reasonable precautions for maintaining personal safety as well as the safety of others. The university’s campus safety and security program is an ongoing process that includes the development and enforcement of regulations, procedures and practices.

Security concerns may be addressed to:

Campus Security: Dial 540-432-4911

The following information is designed to give you “how to” information on staying safe and responding to emergencies should they occur.

Crime Prevention

Crime prevention is essentially being aware of one’s environment and being alert to and avoiding situations that allows vulnerability to crime. Listing specific measures to protect people from every threatening situation that may arise is difficult; however, here are a few “crime prevention” suggestions in day-to-day living. This is not an exhaustive list of crime prevention measures, but serve as examples to make life safer and more secure.

Protect Your Possessions

Lock your door when you are away from your room. Most burglaries in student housing units occur in unlocked rooms. Lock your door to remove the easy opportunity for thieves.

Engrave all personal items of value in your room with your driver’s license or other identifying number. Engraving tends to deter theft and facilitates recovery of your possessions should they be stolen.

Keep a record of the serial numbers of all your belongings. Items of value that do not have serial numbers should be photographed. Clothing can be marked on an inside label with an indelible laundry marker 

Do not advertise your valuables. Keep them out of sight. Arrange your room so that high risk items such as cameras, stereos, and televisions are not visible from the hallway when the door is open, or from ground-level windows.

Items of high monetary value and minimal use in a college environment (such as expensive jewelry) should be left at home. Very expensive items should be stored in a safe deposit box 

All students should have insurance for their belongings.  Insurance against loss of, or damage to, personal possessions must be provided by the student. Check with parents regarding coverage under the family’s homeowner’s policy. Tenant’s insurance may be obtained from a local agency if desired.

Protect Your Car

Lock your car, close the windows, and take the keys. Many car burglaries and car thefts occur because the owner did not take time to secure the car. Don’t make your car a target of opportunity by leaving it unlocked and open for all who care to enter.

Do not park in isolated and/or dark places if these areas can be avoided. Park where there are people about and where the car will be lighted.

Do not leave items of value unattended in your car. Expensive cameras, stereo equipment, and even textbooks and clothing left on the seat of an unattended car are invitations to theft. If you must leave items in your car, store them in a locked trunk.  Weapons may not be kept in your vehicles or anywhere else on campus.

Specific parking regulations relate to lots dedicated to residential users. Familiarize yourself with these rules and obey them.  Vehicles on campus are subject to inspection if deemed necessary.

Protect Your Bicycle

Never leave your bicycle unlocked and unattended.

Record your bicycle serial number and description of the bicycle. Many recovered bicycles will not be released by the police without proper serial number identification. 

Engrave your bicycle with your name or your driver’s license number.

Bicycles are not to be taken inside campus buildings. Keep your bicycle locked on one of the bicycle racks or store your bicycle in the designated bicycle sheds. Keys may be obtained from your Residence Director.

Rules for Safety and Security in Student Housing

Specific student housing rules and procedures have been developed and implemented to make your building a safe and secure home. Following are examples of some important rules designed to enhance the safety and security of residents. However, residents should keep in mind that the most foolproof measures are not effective unless those persons they were designed to protect support the measures, and do not violate them.

Never admit an uninvited non-resident into the building. Do not let strangers enter the building as your guest. 

Guests of residents should be escorted at all times by their hosts. This is for the guests’ protection as well as the protection of other residents.

Report any unescorted stranger on your floor to your CA. If there is no staff member on the floor at the time, call your residence director or the residence director on call at 540-476-4578.

Do not give your ID card or keys to anyone to provide access to residence halls.

Residence hall floors are locked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your safety. Under no circumstances should you prop open any exterior door. Although doing so may seem convenient, you are endangering both yourself and everyone else. Neither should interior doors be propped open. These are designed to function as fire doors, and propping them open eliminates their effectiveness in preventing the spread of smoke and fire.

No motorcycles, mopeds, and/or gasoline-powered vehicles may be stored inside the building because of potential fire hazards.

In the interest of health and safety, and to be in compliance with city code, all fireworks are prohibited.

Possession of firearms and other weapons in the residence halls is prohibited.

Open flames including candles are prohibited.

Electrical heating devices such as hot plates or other appliances with exposed heating coils are prohibited because of the danger of fire. Acceptable heating devices are coffee pots, self-contained popcorn poppers, hair dryers and curling irons.

Health concerns prohibit pets in college student housing. Dogs, cats, and many other animals carry a variety of parasites and organisms that can rapidly spread in community living situations. Harmless fish are permitted.

Protect Yourself

Lock the door to your residence hall room when you are asleep or alone in the room. These are some of your most vulnerable moments; you need the extra protection a locked door affords.

Do not lend keys to your room, or ID card with building access to anyone .

Do not open your door to strangers. Immediately report any problems with your door’s lock to your CA.

Do not give your name, address, or phone number to strangers.

Whether traveling on foot, using public transportation, or operating a personal vehicle, have a friend go with you. It’s more fun to travel with company, and there is extra safety in numbers.

When going out, let your roommate, a friend, or a staff member know where you are going and when you expect to return.

EMU ID card should be carried at all times For your protection persons will be required to present a valid EMU I.D. card on campus in the evenings and for entrance into EMU events.  Your ID card is also required for access to all residence halls floors. 

Protect yourself in public areas

Do not leave your belongings unattended in public areas such as hall lobbies, restrooms, hallways, laundry rooms, and dining rooms; tables in public restaurants; hallways and classrooms in academic buildings; and public restrooms. If you want to keep it —keep it with you! 

Do not carry more cash with you than you anticipate needing in one trip. And do not flash large amounts of cash in public.

Do not carry your identification cards and your checks in the same wallet. Keep them separate; IDs in your billfold in one pocket and checkbook in another pocket. If either are lost or stolen, the finder will not have access to your checking account.

Mark items you regularly take to class, such as books, backpacks, and calculators. Persons in laboratory or studio classes should also mark all of their personal supplies with their name or driver’s license number.

Make a list of your credit cards, identification cards, and checking account numbers, and keep the list in a safe place. If your purse or wallet is lost or stolen, you will then have a list of numbers to use when notifying the proper authorities. Remember, you will need to contact not only the police, but all credit card companies and banks with which you do business. Immediately report these notifications.

Emergencies: How to Respond

The following guidelines apply to emergency conditions on campus. It is not possible to establish procedures for every conceivable type of emergency, but these guidelines can be used for any similar emergency or hazardous situation. Please review them frequently so you will be prepared in an emergency.

Fire Alarm

If you hear a fire alarm, leave the building immediately via the stairways. Cooperate with all staff members and other authorities. Do not reenter the building until you are given permission to do so. If you discover a fire, immediately sound an alarm and call the fire department at 911 stating your location.  Then call 540-432-4911 to alert Campus Security.

Bomb Threats

Notify the police at 911 and Campus Security at 540-432-4911 immediately if you receive a bomb threat. You will be notified as to whether or not the building will be evacuated.

Intruder/Lockdown Emergencies

In the event that it becomes necessary to activate and intruder/lockdown response, EMU has various tools to use for emergency notification. RAVE mobile alerts and HEARO/Via Radio devices are a few of the resources available. If actions are required the best response is to be prepared through personal pre-planned response actions. Typically in intruder situations, authorities suggest a stair stepped approach to a response:

  1. Exit the building if at all possible. AVOID the situation.
  2. Barricade and go into a lockdown mode. DENY entry or access
  3. Take decisive action against the intruder. DEFEND yourself with whatever means possible.

Any response needs to be based on one’s own personal safety. EMU has posted suggestions as how one might respond on the Emergency Procedure guidelines. These can be found throughout campus, it can also be found by visiting the EMU website. Please familiarize yourself with these guidelines and be prepared.

Medical Emergencies

For any situation requiring emergency medical assistance on campus, call 911. Notify the RD on call immediately (540-476-4578). Remember to dial “9” to call external numbers from landline phones. 

Physical Facilities

If you observe what you consider to be a hazardous condition in your residence hall, notify your community advisor or residence director. 

Weather/Tornado Emergency

In the event of a tornado warning, seek shelter ASAP in the pre-designated locations within buildings. These locations can be found by looking for the Tornado Shelter Location signage found throughout all buildings on campus. Please familiarize yourself with these locations.

Fire Safety Response Procedures

EMU strives to maintain a fire-safe campus community, through the implementation of proven safety standards and regulations. We hold to high expectations all those who use, and live on our campus with regard to fire safety.

Fire safety is always a concern. Students should not tamper with alarms or make changes to or modify any existing electrical equipment such as lighting, wiring or switches. As well they should understand and abide by all storage policies and guidelines for campus living.

The complete Fire Safety Response Procedure can be found at https://emu.edu/safety-and-security.

The campus fire safety Right-To-Know law requires all colleges and universities, to provide full disclosure of fire safety standards and measures with regard to campus buildings. The annual safety and security report is available at the Facilities Management during normal operating hours or online at www.emu.edu/safety-and-security/report.

Fire Procedures for Persons with Physical Disabilities

Living arrangements will be made on the ground level when the incoming student provides timely and necessary information on their housing questionnaire. 

Residents who are identified as having a physical disability will be asked, in a private setting, whether he/she desires help in arranging for any needed assistance in evacuation.  This includes persons who acquire a temporary disability.  If the student declines assistance, documentation should be provided and the student must verify that he/she has made arrangements on his/her own. If the resident requests assistance, the CA will solicit volunteers beginning with roommates, and suitemates, and then occupants in the nearest adjoining rooms.

Carrying an individual downstairs requires training and a great deal of caution and care.  It should not be attempted when the stairs are occupied by residents evacuating the building.  Wait for a clearing to carry an individual down the stairs.

Landings in the fire stairwells are used as an "area of safe refuge" for individuals who utilize wheelchairs or any other person who, for any reason, is unable to descend and leave the building. Individuals utilizing wheelchairs may evacuate in their chair from the hall to the landing, where they may await evacuation assistance from fire and rescue or other persons providing assistance, provided egress by others is not impeded. 

In the event of an evacuation, the CA on call will check to ensure that residents known to have a physical disability are safely evacuated, provided the CA is not endangering him/herself to accomplish the check.

Fire Extinguishers/Alarms/Suppression Systems/Emergency Notification Devices, etc.

Tampering with any of these will incur a fine of $500, may result in additional outcomes (i.e. restitution for harmed parties) and legal repercussions.

Fireworks

The use or possession of fireworks is prohibited on the university campus. Because of safety concerns, violators will be fined.

Weapons

The use or possession of firearms, explosives, knives, bows, flammable material or weapons of any kind (including BB, pellet, or paintball guns) is prohibited on the university campus, in vehicles on campus, or at any university-related function. If any of these items be needed on campus for educational purposes the vice president for student life must be contacted. The vice president for the student life must be contacted for storage questions related to hunting weapons.

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