Safety Information

Child Safety

Between 1.3 and 1.8 million children are reported missing in the United States every year. Some run away, while others are abducted by strangers or by parents. Each year, between 20,000 and 50,000 cases of missing children remain unsolved by the police. Parents can take positive actions to protect their children.

They can teach them:

• That no adult has authority over them simply by virtue of size—that children can say no.
• To know their home address, including apartment number, street address, city and state, and phone number with area code. Children should also know their parents’ names.
• How to use a phone for local and long distance calls.
• To memorize emergency phone number, 9-1-1.
• To run to the nearest public place, store, or police station, if they feel unsafe.
• To avoid enticements from strangers—like candy, gifts, money, or requests to help find a lost dog or cat.
• Not to get close to a car if a stranger calls out for directions or anything else. It is easy for a stranger to pull a child into a car.
• Not to open the apartment door to strangers.
• Not to tell callers that mom or dad are not home. Instruct your child to say their parents are unable to accept a telephone call and will call back at a later time.
• Not to walk alone whenever possible.
• If a child is old enough to walk alone, to walk near the curb, on well-lighted streets at night, and against the traffic, and to travel known routes.
• To run away, scream, and make lots of noise if they are followed or grabbed by a stranger. The last thing a dangerous stranger wants is a lot of attention.
• To go to the checkout counter and wait if they are separated from you in a store.
• Never to go out to a parking lot alone.
• To tell parents immediately if anyone or any incident has made them feel uncomfortable or frightened.

(Information from the McGruff “Take a Bite Out of Crime” series supplied by the University of Illinois Police Department.)

Finally, parents should keep recent, clear photographs of their children. It is helpful to have pictures of the children in several different poses.

Personal Safety

While safety is one of the reasons cited as to why residents choose to live in Family & Graduate Housing, all residents are encouraged to take basic safety precautions. First of all, be alert to suspicious people or circumstances. If something or someone doesn’t seem right to you, go to a well-lit, populated area and notify    the police. Travel in well-lit, well-traveled areas and try not to walk alone. Familiarize yourself with the locations of emergency phones around campus—if you ever have a problem, these are a direct line to the University Police.

Here are a few tips for keeping you and your family safe:

Safety at Home

  • Get to know your neighbors.
  • When away on vacation, have a friend pick up your newspapers and place your mail on vacation hold by calling 1-800-275-8777 or visit
  • If someone comes to your house claiming to be a repairman, ask for identification. (University Housing Facilities Maintenance employees always wear identification.)
  • Keep windows and doors locked even when you are at home.
  • Report any suspicious activity to the police immediately.


  • Avoid jogging, walking, or riding bicycles at night, and consider carrying a panic alarm or whistle.
  • Don’t wear stereo headphones when walking alone.
  • Vary your walking or jogging route and schedule.


  • Use well-lit, busy paths.
  • Know your neighborhood, and walk facing traffic.
  • If you feel you’re being followed, go to a well-lit store and call police.

On the Bus

  • Sit near the bus driver.
  • Stand near other people while waiting at the bus stop.
  • Attract attention if you’re being harassed by someone.
  • Use well-lit and frequently used bus stops and utilize the campus Safe Rides program.

In the Car

  • Keep the gas tank at least 1/2 full.
  • If your car breaks down, stay in your car and have someone who stops to help you call the police.
  • If you’re being followed, turn around and go to an open gas station to call the police.
  • Drive with the doors locked and your windows rolled up, and don’t pick up hitchhikers.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence refers to violence that occurs within a home: husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, parents and children. The abuse is often in the form of physical injury, but also may be in the form of sexual assault, emotional mistreatment, threats, isolation, and deprivation. Although this violence is usually hidden, it is extremely common and affects a large number of families. Domestic violence gets worse with time. It does not go away on its own. You are not responsible for the abuse being inflicted upon you, but you can take action to stop it. Both domestic violence and child abuse are violations of the University Code of Policies and Regulations, against Illinois State Law and a breach of the Family & Graduate Housing lease. All perpetrators of these crimes are held accountable by University policy, the police, and Family & Graduate Housing.

Family & Graduate Housing at the University of Illinois has a no-tolerance policy for domestic violence. If you or someone you know is in a violent relationship or having problems with domestic violence, please contact the University Housing on-call staff member at 217-649-1213. We offer support, counseling, and resource referral to residents in stressful situations.

The University also operates SafePlace, a facility on campus that can provide safe, temporary housing in an emergency situation.


If you or a friend or neighbor is experiencing physical or verbal abuse in the home, or if you simply feel unsafe, the University SafePlace is here to help you! SafePlace is a facility on campus that can provide you with safe, temporary housing in an emergency situation. SafePlace provides counseling, advocacy, and referrals.

SafePlace is available to University students, staff, and all residents of Family & Graduate Housing. Services are free and confidential. Contact the University Housing on-call staff member at 217-649-1213 for additional information or access to this  service.

Fire Safety

Immediately activate the building’s fire alarm system. Evacuate the building unless otherwise notified. Call 911 from any campus phone, cell phone, or off-campus phone.

If you discover a fire:

  1. Manually activate the building’s fire alarm system.
  2. Immediately evacuate the building, closing doors and windows behind you.
  4. Locate those persons with special needs, and provide assistance if possible. Otherwise, provide their location to emergency responders.
  5. Report to your department’s designated gathering point
  6. Call 911 from any campus phone or cell phone or from off campus.

Once the fire alarm is activated:

  1. Walk quickly to the nearest exit. Do not use the elevators.
  2. If you are able, help those who need special assistance.
  3. Notify fire personnel if you believe someone may still be in the building.
  4. Gather away from the building and emergency responders at a pre-designated location.
  5. DO NOT re-enter the building until the fire department has cleared the scene.

If caught in smoke:

  1. Do not breathe the smoke!
  2. Drop to your knees and crawl to the closest safe exit.
  3. Breathe through your nose, and use a shirt or towel to breathe through, if possible.

If trapped in a building:

  1. Close all doors and windows.
  2. Wet any cloth material and place around and under the door to prevent smoke from entering.
  3. Attempt to signal people outside of the building. Call for help using a telephone or cell phone.

(Information provided by the Office of Emergency Planning, a division of Campus Safety.)

Fire Extinguisher

Each apartment has a fire extinguisher that is inspected prior to a new resident’s arrival and is checked by Housing Facilities Maintenance each year.

It is important for you to read the instructions and know how to remove the fire extinguisher from the wall and operate it safely. Check the gauge monthly to make sure the needle is in the green area.

Using a Fire Extinguisher:

1. First, report the fire (call 911) from any campus phone, or call 911 from a cell phone or off campus).
2. Use a fire extinguisher only if you have been trained to do so. Improper use of an extinguisher can increase the hazard.
3. If you have any doubt of your ability to fight the fire, exit immediately.
4. If you decide to use a fire extinguisher, place yourself between the fire and your exit from the area.
5. To use the fire extinguisher, follow the PASS method: Pull the pin. This will break the tamper seal if one is provided.  Aim low, pointing the extinguisher nozzle (or the horn or hose) at the base of the fire. Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent. Sweep from side to side at the base of the fire until the fire is out. Watch the area. If the fire re-ignites, repeat the steps above.

(Information provided by the Office of Emergency Planning, a division of Campus Safety.)

Tornado Safety

The tornado season for Champaign-Urbana is generally March through October.

Notification of an approaching tornado could be a news bulletin on the radio or television, or one long blast from the sirens of the Outdoor Warning System. Tornado sirens are sounded for those areas in the path of the tornado throughout Champaign, Urbana, and Savoy. Turn on a radio or television to local stations for weather bulletins.


Tornado Watch means tornadoes are possible in your area. Remain alert for approaching storms, and be prepared to seek shelter.

Tornado Warning means a tornado is imminent or has been indicated by Doppler radar or reported by storm spotters. Move to your pre-designated place of safety immediately!

Severe Thunderstorm Watch means severe thunderstorms are possible in your area.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning means a severe thunderstorm is imminent or has been indicated by Doppler radar or reported by storm spotters.

What to do during a tornado warning

When the tornado sirens sound, or if a tornado has been sighted, go to a safe shelter immediately.

1. Move to a pre-designated shelter, such as a basement. Assist those with special needs in getting to the shelter area.
2. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use arms to protect head and neck. Stay away from windows and open spaces. Stay there until the danger has passed.
3. If there is no basement, go to an interior room on the lowest level (closets, interior hallways, or restrooms). Do not open windows.
4. In a high-rise building, go to a small, interior room or hallway with no windows on the lowest floor possible. Do not call 911 unless you need to report an emergency, such as a fire, medical emergency or severe building damage. 911 lines need to be kept open and available for emergency calls.
5. Get out of vehicles, trailers, and mobile homes immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy nearby building or a storm shelter.
6. If caught outside with no shelter, lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of potential for flooding.
7. Never try to outrun a tornado in a car or truck; instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter. Tornadoes are erratic and move swiftly.
8. Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.

(Information provided by the Office of Emergency Planning, a division of Campus Safety.)

Pool Safety

Residents may use small children’s pools on apartment property with the following required safety guidelines:

  • Children must be supervised at all times by an adult when using a pool.
  • No water can be left in a pool if an adult is not present. Pools must be emptied on a daily basis when done being used.