Tag Archives: Parkland College Department of Public Safety

Fire Alarms and Evacuations

Parkland College never performs fire drills, so any and all fire alarms that go off in our facilities are to be treated seriously. If an alarm goes off, safely and quickly find the nearest exit and proceed a safe distance from the building. Exterior speakers will advise when it’s safe to return inside.

Parkland has volunteer faculty and staff Floor Coordinators spread throughout our buildings and wings, who can be identified by their safety vests and flashlights. These individuals can assist you in locating the closest exit, as well as pass on information to emergency personnel if you require additional assistance.

Additionally, there are several Rescue Assistance Areas spread throughout the college that act as gathering points for individuals who need evacuation assistance in the event of a campus emergency. If you require assistance evacuating the campus in the case of an emergency, go to one of the following designated areas. Rescue personnel will check these areas in the event of a campus evacuation. If necessary, use the emergency phone to dial 911:

  • A wing: 2nd floor near the elevator
  • B Wing: 2nd floor, men’s restroom
  • C wing: 2nd floor near the C-3 stairway (West side)
  • D Wing: 2nd floor, restrooms
  • L Wing: 2nd floor, women’s restroom
  • M wing: 2nd floor near M109
  • X Wing: 2nd floor, men’s restroom
  • X Wing: 3rd floor, restrooms
  • U wing: 2nd and 3rd floors (East stairwells)
  • Library: Main floor (2nd Level), restrooms

[Ben Boltinghouse is a sergeant with Parkland’s Department of Public Safety.]

[Photo by Bill Friedrich for Champaign Fire Department.]

Shopping by Classified Ads? Think Safety

If you submitted your tax return early, have some extra money in your pocket, and want to replace your couch or TV,  looking through the classified ads or going on a site like Craigslist can be an easy and affordable way to make some new additions to your furniture or entertainment options.

After you’ve gotten in touch with the seller and  agreed on a price, however, setting up a place to meet and complete the purchase can be a dangerous situation if you’re not careful. Use the following tips to help ensure that you’re as safe as possible when setting up an exchange.

Meet in public places. Whenever possible, set up the exchanges in a public place, as opposed to meeting at someone’s house. You’re much safer in a busy restaurant or parking lot than at a stranger’s house.

Don’t go alone. You should always bring someone else with you when you meet to exchange, especially if you’re not able to meet in public. At the absolute minimum, make sure a friend or family member knows where you’re going and how long you should be.

Don’t bring any extra cash. Carry with you only the exact amount of money you’ve agreed upon with the seller. There’s no need to risk having anything else taken if things go poorly.

Meet during the day. On top of meeting out in public, meeting when it’s light out is another way to ensure you stay as safe as possible.

[Ben Boltinghouse is a sergeant with Parkland’s Department of Public Safety.]

Stalking: Know It. Name It. Stop It.

 

Our message this week:  National Stalking Awareness Month.

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January is National Stalking Awareness Month, a time to focus on a crime that affected 7.5 million victims in one year.

The theme, “Stalking: Know It. Name It. Stop It.”, challenges the nation to fight this dangerous crime by learning more about it.

Stalking is a crime in all 50 states, the U.S. Territories and the District of Columbia, yet many victims and criminal justice professionals underestimate its seriousness and impact. In one of five cases, stalkers use weapons to harm or threaten victims, and stalking is one of the significant risk factors for femicide (homicide of women) in abusive relationships.

Victims suffer anxiety, social dysfunction, and severe depression at much higher rates than the general population, and many lose time from work or have to move as a result of their victimization.

Stalking is difficult to recognize, investigate, and prosecute. Unlike other crimes, stalking is not a single, easily identifiable crime but a series of acts, a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause that person fear. Stalking may take many forms, such as assaults, threats, vandalism, burglary, or animal abuse, as well as unwanted cards, calls, gifts, or visits. One in four victims reports that the stalker uses technology, such as computers, global positioning system devices, or hidden cameras, to track the victim’s daily activities.

Stalkers fit no standard psychological profile, and many stalkers follow their victims from one jurisdiction to another, making it difficult for authorities to investigate and prosecute their crimes. Communities that understand stalking, however, can support victims and combat the crime.

As we work more to raise awareness and recognition of stalking, we have a better chance to protect victims and prevent tragedies. If you or someone you know is a victim of stalking, please don’t hesitate to approach any of the Parkland College police officers or call us at 217/351-2369.

For further information on this issue, please visit: stalkingawarenessmonth.org/about

 

This article was originally  posted in January 2017.

 

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

Holiday Fire Prevention Tips

The holiday season is the most dangerous time of the year for house fires, whether it’s cooking in an overly cluttered kitchen, lighting too many candles around the home, or stringing up old or damaged holiday lights. Consider the following tips from the U.S. Fire Administration on how to prevent house fires during the holidays.

  • Keep candles 12 inches away from things that can burn, and consider using flameless battery-operated candles.
  • Place candles in a sturdy candleholder that will not tip over, and never leave a burning candle alone.
  • Throw away holiday light strands with frayed or pinched wires, and turn off all your holiday lights before going to bed or leaving your home.
  • Water your Christmas tree every day, as a dry tree can very easily catch fire. Get rid of your Christmas tree soon after Christmas or whenever it dries out.

We hope you have a safe and refreshing holiday break!

 

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

World AIDS Day 2017

For this week’s blog post, we’ll be discussing an intersection between Public Health and Public Safety as we observe World AIDS Day today, December 1.

First, some fast facts about HIV:

  • At the end of 2014, the most recent year for which such data are available, an estimated 1,107,700 adults and adolescents were living with HIV.
  • Of those, an estimated 166,000 (15%) had not been diagnosed.
  • The number of new HIV diagnoses fell 19% from 2005 to 2014. Because HIV testing has remained stable or increased in recent years, this decrease in diagnoses suggests a true decline in new infections.

Although undeniable progress has been made in the fight to eradicate HIV/AIDS, the job isn’t finished; plenty more work has to be done, both domestically and abroad. If you’d like to get involved, here are ideas on how to help:

  • Reach out to a local HIV  service organization. Many organizations have support groups for people living with HIV and their loved ones. To find a local HIV/AIDS service organization near you, use HIV.gov’s HIV Testing Sites & Care Services Locator.
  • Get involved in your community. To get involved in HIV and AIDS prevention, care, and advocacy, contact your local HIV service organizations and/or community health department. These groups can help identify local volunteer opportunities. You can also visit the sites listed below to search HIV-related volunteer opportunities.
  • Engage with others. Social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat offer opportunities to connect with others who are interested and involved in HIV issues.

***This post was compiled using resources from hiv.gov and the CDC.

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]