Working Safely in University Buildings

Work Safer.

Safety in University Buildings

  • Be aware of the emergency numbers and post them in visible areas.  Preprogram your cell phone!
  • Know where the nearest exits are located if you need to escape.
  • Make note of emergency phones:  Downtown, UTM, UTSC
  • Know where the nearest fire alarm is located.
  • If you are working alone, ensure that the exterior doors and/or your main office door are locked.
  • Don’t bring valuables, jewelry or large amounts of money to school/work if you don’t have to.
  • Never prop open doors, even for a brief time. It may save you a few extra steps or a few moments, but it places the safety of everyone in your building at risk.
  • Lock your office door, even if you are leaving only for a few minutes.
  • If a tradesperson, repair person or courier requests admittance to your building, office or room, ask for identification. If you are not satisfied with the person’s credentials, direct him or her to someone in authority for assistance.
  • If someone unknown requests entrance to your building or attempts to enter a locked area with you, refuse them entry. Tell them, “I’m sorry, but we are very concerned about security in this building” or “If you will tell me whom you want to visit, I’ll buzz them for you.” If they persist, direct them to someone in authority. Report any unauthorized entry to your building security or to the University Safety.
  • Be especially aware of maintaining security in your building during holiday or vacation periods, or during quiet times, when there are fewer people around.
  • Use the buddy system. If you are going to work late at night in a University building, try to locate yourself close to someone you know. Or, let someone else know where you are and when you expect to leave.

Safety in Elevators

  • If the person waiting to get on the elevator with you makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t get in. If you are riding with someone who makes you feel uncomfortable, leave. Get off before the door closes, or leave at the next floor. You don’t need to feel guilty for protecting yourself.
  • In elevators, stand near the control panel with your back against the wall. If you are threatened, hit the alarm button and as many floor buttons as possible.

While you are out and about:

  • Be alert! 
    • Be aware of who and what is going on around you is the best defense.
  • Walk with a self-assured stride, with your head up, and look around
    • People who look strong and in control are less attractive targets.
    • Consider using only one earbud/earphone while walking on the street and on campus so that you are able to hear movements around you.
  • Make note of the campus emergency phones:  DowntownUTMUTSC
  • Avoid walking alone on campus at night.
  • Know where you are going; plan your route.
    • Avoid using short cuts or other routes that are less traveled and try to stay in well- lit areas where you are more likely to be seen by others.
    • Have your keys or ID card ready in your hand. This prevents you from having to fumble with your keys at the doors.
  • If you suspect you are being followed, indicate your suspicion by looking behind you.
    • If you are walking, stop and allow the person behind you to move on ahead.
    • Cross the street (if walking), change directions or vary your speed.
    • In a commercial or residential area, head for a place where there are other people as soon as possible.
    • Drive or direct your driver to Campus Safety or to the nearest police station
  • If someone is following you or you have reason to believe that someone is following you, call Campus Safety (416-978-2222) or 911.

Safety in the parking lots:

  • When you know you will be returning to your car late at night, try to park it in a well-lit area.
  • Have your keys in your hand, so that you don’t have to search for them when you reach your car.
  • Try not to park on levels of a parking garage that will be empty when you return.
  • Know your nearest safe exit route from a garage.
  • Back your car into a parking stall in a garage. This gives you greater visibility and allows you to drive away more quickly if you are being approached by a stranger.
  • When you leave your car, walk briskly and confidently. Do not be distracted.
  • If you are worried about becoming a target, vary your routine. Park in different spots at different times.