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Safety classes, resources available at Ohio State

The Ohio State University released its Annual Security and Fire Safety Reports on Oct. 1.

Two free classes highlight a comprehensive list of safety resources available to The Ohio State University’s campus community. Registration closed this week for the police division’s Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) and Community Police Academy, with the popular classes filling quickly.

“Education in the classroom, and in life, is core to the college experience,” said The Ohio State University Police Division Chief Kimberly Spears-McNatt. “Our police officers have a uniquely tailored approach that focuses on both safety and education.”

R.A.D., a free program to teach self-defense tactics and techniques to women, will begin Oct. 15 and run through Nov. 12. Taught by OSUPD’s nationally certified R.A.D. instructors, the comprehensive, women-only course begins with awareness education and risk avoidance instruction and progresses to the basics of hands-on defense training. R.A.D. courses are open to women in Ohio age 14 and older.

In addition to R.A.D, university police also offer the Community Police Academy. The four-week program begins Oct. 9 and offers members of the campus community an idea of what it’s like to protect and serve at Ohio State.

Each session consists of weekly classes at Blankenship Hall where participants discuss OSUPD programs, policies and procedures. Spears-McNatt said the program allows community members to learn why and how police officers do their job, but is also an opportunity for law enforcement to learn more about what matters to students, faculty and staff.

The comprehensive instruction includes open discussion and scenario-based role playing. Participants will conduct a mock traffic stop and be allowed to participate in an educational ride-along with an OSUPD officer.

Police train countless hours to be prepared for emergency situations and are ready to respond, as needed, to protect the campus community. OSUPD officers undergo active shooter training on an annual basis, and the department’s Special Response Team receives additional training for various emergencies.

Safety enhancements extend into the classroom at Ohio State as the university nears completion on the installation of door locks for pool classrooms.

“Following a November 2016 attack on our Columbus campus, a public safety after action report identified the desire from our students and faculty to install more uniform locks across campus,” said Robert Armstrong, director of Emergency Management and Fire Prevention. “These locks are one additional tool to help our campus community shelter in place in the unlikely event of an active attacker.”

Under the project, which began in the summer of 2018, approximately 400 locks have been installed to date.

Along the same lines, the Office of Student Life’s Off-Campus and Commuter Student Services supports off-campus students with free safety devices, including window and door alarms and light timers.

Should an emergency situation arise, Ohio State will send a Buckeye Alert. Often sent via text message, Buckeye Alerts are issued when public safety staff believe the campus community needs to take immediate action to remain safe.

Ohio State public safety officials will determine which method, or combination of methods, may be utilized to communicate during an emergency. To learn more about Buckeye Alerts, or to sign up a family member to receive the alerts, visit the Public Safety website.

Another digital tool for the university community is the Rave Guardian app. The app allows users to receive Buckeye Alerts faster via push notifications and offers a virtual guardian: Users can select friends or family to follow them via GPS tracking, with a destination-based timer. If time expires, the virtual guardian gets an alert and is encouraged to contact the user.

The Rave Guardian app is available to download for students, faculty and staff with a university username and password who have signed up for Buckeye Alerts.

Public safety officials remind all Buckeyes to practice safe habits and be aware of their surroundings, especially at night. Lyft Ride Smart at Ohio State offers eligible students discounted rides, within the university-designated service area, between the hours of 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. All users should adhere to the following safety tips:

  • Follow the Lyft vehicle on GPS via the app.
  • Visually confirm that vehicle info and descriptions match information in the Lyft app (license plate, model, etc.).
  • Match the color: Most Lyft drivers have a dashboard display that acts as a beacon, changing color to match the rider’s app and help riders identify their Lyft more easily.
  • Ask the driver to say who they are picking up.
  • If you feel unsafe, leave the area and contact law enforcement.

To learn more about the resources offered to the campus community, go to the Department of Public Safety website.

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