Types of Safety

Personal Safety

Be aware of your surroundings and use your common sense.  If you are out late, walk home with a friend, not by yourself, and utilize the Lyft Ride Smart program or Campus Area Bus Service (CABS). Should anyone choose to utilize a non-university rideshare program, the following tips are recommended:

  • Follow the rideshare vehicle on GPS (if available).
  • When the car arrives, visually confirm vehicle information/description and driver’s name likely provided through the company’s mobile app first before approaching.
  • Do not ride in the front seat or share your cell phone information.
  • If you feel unsafe, or that something is not right, leave the area and contact authorities. 

Additionally, our department offers personal safety alarms to students. Students can pick up personal safety alarms as well as home safety devices at our office located in suite 3106 in the Ohio Union. 

Bicycle Safety

By law, bicycles are considered vehicles and must obey all traffic laws. One-way streets, stop signs, riding on the right side of the road, and yielding to pedestrians are some of the requirements for bicycle operators. Here are some tips to remember:

  • Two locks are better than one. U- or O-shaped locks work best in deterring bicycle theft. When parking, lock both rims and the frame to a bike rack for more security. Use only bike racks, not small trees or outside furniture, and keep walkways and stairways unobstructed.
  • Prevent crime: When your bike is parked for an extended period, occasionally move it to show you are keeping a watchful eye.
  • Utilize the City of Columbus' Bug Your Bike program. Register online, by phone, or in-person by providing your contact information along with distinguishing characteristics of your bicycle. 

Additional resources for bicycling and safety:

Fire Safety

Each year, hundreds of fires impact college students nationwide. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 87% of all campus fires occur in the off-campus area. There are four common factors:

  • Lack of automatic sprinkler systems
  • Missing or disabled smoke detectors
  • Careless disposal of smoking materials
  • Impaired judgment from alcohol consumption

If you're interested in having the fire and safety effectiveness of your home evaluated, learn more about enhancing your home fire safety

Home Safety

Renters are at a higher risk of home burglary than homeowners. Remember to lock your windows and doors and pick up complimentary safety alarms and timers from 3106 Ohio Union. If you have questions about your home safety, visit the Enhance your Home Security page.

Fire Pit Safety

In the City of Columbus, fire pits are allowed with the following stipulations:

  • Must be a commercial fire pit with a screen top or a chimera, like those that can be purchased at a hardware store.
  • Use only clean, seasoned firewood or equivalent.
  • A water source and/or fire extinguisher should be located nearby and readily available for immediate use.
  • Must be supervised at all times. Be certain that the fire is completely extinguished before leaving it unattended.
  • The fire must be contained within the appliance, with no part of the flames extending outside the appliance or screen.
  • No less than ten (10) feet from any combustible structure (house, fence, shed, etc). Apartment Buildings may require twenty-five (25) feet.
  • Fire Pits cannot be used during "Air Quality Alert" days.
  • Any other "Opening Burning" (trash, brush, etc) must be approved by the Division of Fire, Fire Prevention Bureau and must have a permit (contact the City of Columbus for this).
  • If there are ANY complaints from neighbors, immediate extinguishment must be done. Complaints might include but are not limited to, smoke drifting into their house and/or fire getting out of control.

Outdoor Grill Safety

Ohio Fire Code requires grills to be placed at least 10 feet away from home/deck railings, and out from under any roof structures, eaves and branches.

  • Read all of Natioal Fire Protection Association's grilling safety tips and download our safety tip sheet.
  • Remember to ensure your renter's insurance is up to date and the policies cover the use of fire pits and/or outdoor grills.

If you have any questions about the information above, please contact the Fire Prevention Bureau at 614-645-7641, ext. 75668.

**Check Your Lease - Before proceeding, confirm whether your property manager prohibits using fire pits and/or outdoor grills, or if they have other requirements above and beyond those of the City and the Fire Department.**

Package Theft

Not only are package thefts from porches increasing in the City of Columbus and outlying areas but they are also increasing nationally. Ways to reduce the possibility of theft include:

  • Reporting to the local Police or US Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) if you notice mail carriers or delivery drivers being followed. This is also a safety issue for mail carriers and delivery drivers.
  • The contact information for the USPIS is 877-876-2455.
  • Report the theft immediately to the Police or Inspection Service, as well as to the shipper.
  • Require signatures on all package deliveries.
  • Insure packages.
  • Provide specific instructions where you would like the package left or have it delivered to your work address. The US Postal Service allows having certain deliveries left at the back, or side door, between the screen and main door, or with a neighbor.
  • Some deliveries can be held for pickup at the Post Office.
  • If on vacation, request a hold on your mail.
  • Pick up mail promptly after delivery.
  • Neighbors can be of assistance. Let them know if you are expecting a package. They can retrieve it or hold it for you.
  • USPS has a new service that will send a text message or email when the package is headed your way.
  • Mail Theft is a federal offense. The penalty for theft or possession of stolen mail is up to five years in prison, and fines up to $250,000.

Party Safety

If you're planning to host a gathering, it's extremely important to know your guests. If they choose to drink, make sure everyone is 21+ and that crowds stay inside your house or in your yard. Be respectful of your neighbors by letting them know before you’re having people over, and try to keep your noise at an appropriate level. If you choose to consume alcoholic beverages, be smart! For helpful tips, visit Party Smart.