How to Act Effectively in an On-Campus Disaster

Natural disasters, crimes, mandatory evacuations, and other emergency situations can all be challenging for people no matter the type of environment in which they live. A sense of confusion and chaos is often present, and people may make their chances of retreating to safety, avoiding injuries, and finding help lower by acting irrationally or from fear. In college campus environments, these effects can be even more pronounced, as many students may not be aware of how best to respond to an emergency situation. When students live on campus, such issues can present special difficulties, as a tendency to follow the crowd may lead students into dangerous situations. For students and faculty members alike, it’s of great importance to think about the risk of various disasters and emergency situations and to formulate a clear plan for responding effectively. Though people commonly found on college campuses may prefer to put such thoughts out of their minds as being unpleasant or uncomfortable, simply spending a bit of time to consider what responses might be most beneficial can make a great deal of difference when actually dealing with an emergency.

Some areas are particularly vulnerable to certain types of disasters. Whether a campus is located in an area that experiences higher than average rates of earthquakes, is susceptible to the spread of annual forest fires, or is otherwise in a clear path of danger, it is common for the institution to provide specific safety information to students and all of those who are regularly present on campus. Though it can be tempting to put such information aside as being unimportant or less than vital, doing so can create a serious risk. Taking the time to look through any materials devoted to proper response procedures in the event of common emergencies is a wise move that any student or faculty member should make when considering their own security. In addition to noting down any information explicitly given about local disasters, those on campus should pay close attention to the evacuation plans and safety drills offered by campus authorities. Regular disaster drills are sometimes treated with irreverence by students and other campus dwellers, and while such events may seem boring, they can go a long way towards ensuring that people are able to move to safety quickly.

In the event of an actual emergency, students should follow whatever guidelines they’ve been given regarding evacuation procedures, or should find a way to reach a safe place if they’re unprepared for the specific type of disaster at hand. Once this goal has been accomplished, students should make an effort to alert local authorities to the problem. While campus security officials and local police forces are likely to notice something like an earthquake or hurricane, they may not immediately be aware of such problems as an armed person rampaging on campus or the presence of a small-scale flood or fire. Even when a disaster is likely to be already known to authorities, students and other people on college campuses can improve their chances for survival by getting in touch with emergency services and alerting responders to their location and whether they’re in need of any special medical or rescue assistance.

Remembering emergency contact numbers, evacuation plans, and other important information can be difficult while a disaster is ongoing, which makes having such data readily available an especially important part of preparing for an on-campus emergency. Making use of a survival kit that includes such information and also offers basic protection from the elements, first aid supplies, and a source of food and water can greatly ease the process of getting through and recovering from an emergency. Many college dorms and other on-campus buildings are equipped with survival kits and first aid supplies, which can be highly useful for those in need of basic sustenance or medical care, but it is essential that students and faculty members understand how to properly use these items. If tools and supplies in an emergency survival kid are used improperly, people may experience even more intensive injuries or health issues, and so taking the time to thoroughly read and understand any included instructions, or to locate a person with previous knowledge or experience in how to operate a given device, is a safe precaution.

Getting through an emergency situation in any environment can be extraordinarily difficult, but in the context of a college campus, there may be even more particular dangers that must be dealt with in order to ensure survival. Students, faculty members, and other people who frequent college campuses should pay close attention to emergency information, take the time to alert proper authorities about the problem, and make use of any available emergency tools or kits to increase their chances of staying safe.

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