Enhancing Safety on Campus through New Tools and Simple Tips
The new school year is underway and we have some updates and information on emergency services and community safety. Read on to ensure you have a safe year ahead.
Campus Transitions to New Emergency Notification System
When a major incident happens at or near UC San Diego – such as a fire, power outage, bomb threat or gas leak – the Triton Alert emergency notification system is activated, sending out timely information to recipients via email and phone.
Currently, the system is “opt-in,” meaning notifications are sent only to individuals who have registered to receive them. But, by the end of October, UC San Diego will transition to a new “opt-out” system. Everyone with a “ucsd.edu” email address will automatically be included and will receive future emergency notifications. No registration needed.
“In emergency management, we are constantly evaluating and re-evaluating the tools we use to get the word out and keep the campus safe,” said Dismas Abelman, UC San Diego’s emergency manager. “We conducted an audit of our existing system and determined that it made sense to move to an opt-out system, which is already in use at five other UC campuses.”
Anyone who is not yet registered will soon have their “ucsd.edu” email address included in the new system. They will also have the option to register additional devices such as a cell phone or office phone. Parents and any other interested individuals will also be able to opt in and receive alerts. While all users will be able to add, edit or remove registered devices such as cell phones, no one with a “ucsd.edu” email address will be able to opt out of receiving notifications at that email address.
“These notifications are meant to be part of a concerted effort to get the word out in a timely fashion,” said Abelman. “It’s always our hope that we never need to activate the system other than for testing purposes, but if we do, being able to reach everyone on campus is critical.”
If you would like to register or update your information before the transition takes place, visit the Triton Alert Emergency Notification page.
Prepping for the ‘Big One’
The next test of the Triton Alert emergency notification system will take place Thursday, Oct. 15 when UC San Diego participates in the Great California ShakeOut earthquake drill. The goal of the drill – which will take place at approximately 10:15 a.m. – is to prepare all Californians to “Drop, Cover and Hold On” in the event of an earthquake. With more than 8.5 million registered participants, the Great California ShakeOut is the biggest earthquake drill in the nation.
UC San Diego encourages all students, faculty and staff to organize and participate in the drill, which provides the best preparation in the event of a large-scale emergency. Learn more about how you can participate and what to do during an earthquake.
New Bike Path Debuts
Construction on the University Center Bike and Pedestrian Improvement project has been completed, transforming the way bicyclists and pedestrians access the busy Peterson Hill area. The steep, shared-use path was replaced with separate pedestrian and bicycle paths – pedestrians can use a new concrete walk with a series of staircases on Peterson Hill, while bicycle riders can use designated bike paths. A new ADA accessible route on Peterson Hill is also available.
“Getting used to a new path can take some time,” said Jamie Bohannan, project manager with Facilities Design and Construction. “We’d like to remind everyone to be courteous to their fellow Tritons – slow down on shared use walkways, respect speed limits and approach intersections and turns with caution. We want everyone who uses these paths to be safe and hope everyone enjoys the new improvements.”
Tips to Stay Safe
While planning for large-scale emergencies is critical, it’s just as important to focus on safety in your day-to-day activities. The UC San Diego Police Department, in partnership with university administration and the San Diego Police Department, works hard to ensure that the campus and surrounding community are safe places to live, work, learn, visit or have fun.
“Police patrol the campus and surrounding area 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we train to deal with a variety of scenarios,” said Dave Rose, UC San Diego Police Chief. “But there are many simple steps you can take to improve your safety.”
Here are 10 important tips to stay safe:
- Be aware and pay attention to your surroundings at all times.
- Use discretion and caution when taking shortcuts through isolated parts of campus.
- Report suspicious behavior to the Police Department at (858) 534-4357.
- Buddy up or use the Community Service Officer (CSO) Escort Program, which is available daily from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Call (858) 534-WALK (9255) to arrange for an escort.
- Keep personal belongings in view while eating, meeting, studying or shopping.
- If you ride a bike, skateboard or scooter on campus, follow all bicycle and skateboard guidelines.
- Lock your room, apartment or car doors at all times, even if stepping away for “just a minute.”
- Have your keys in hand as you approach your car and park in well-lighted areas. Be sure to check the backseat and floor before entering your vehicle.
- If someone tries to snatch your purse or your backpack, let it go. Most injuries from robberies occur when people resist.
- Plan ahead and learn what to do in various emergency situations. The more you think ahead and plan, the better prepared you will be to act.
Additional tips and other important information on personal safety and police services can be found on the UC San Diego Police Department website.
If you ever feel unsafe on campus or see something that indicates a threat to you or others, please call 911 or (858) 534-HELP (4357). If you are off-campus and need to reach the San Diego Police Department for a non-emergency, please call (619) 531-2000 or visit their contact page.
“Public safety should be everyone’s responsibility,” said Rose. “If you see something, say something – whether someone is acting strange or you see something happening that doesn’t seem right. Trust your instincts. Don’t be afraid to speak up and call police.”