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Norwalk Offers Safety Advice for College Students

NORWALK, Conn. – As summer winds down, many Norwalk residents are preparing to leave home for a new year at college. Whether your student is a freshman, returning to the dorms or moving off campus, the Norwalk Fire Department reminds families to talk about emergency preparedness. By taking a few simple steps now, students and their families can have peace of mind if an emergency occurs.

Below are seven quick college tips for emergency readiness and safety:

1. Find your place of shelter for severe weather and emergency exit routes by asking a person of authority or checking the emergency plans posted on walls. Know at least two exits from your dorm and classrooms. Never take elevators in the event of a fire, even if they appear to be working properly, because you may become trapped between floors or doors may open on a level filled with flames. Don't stay in your dorm or go back for personal items during an emergency evacuation.

2. Practice by taking the evacuation route a few times in advance. Many dorms have stairways that lead to different levels, rather than a direct path to an exit. These may require several changes on other floors to reach the outdoors. Learn your way to exits before an emergency, when smoke-filled passageways can make navigation far more difficult. Determine whether your key or campus identification card are required (or will work) to open stairway doors on other floors. If you have to leave in an emergency, you may need these to exit.

3. Keep security's number posted by your room phone and programmed into your cell phone. Store your family's emergency contact info in your cell under " I.C.E. " ( I n C ase of E mergency). In the event you are unconscious or unable to call, responders can look at your cell phone for this information.

4. Identify how you receive campus updates. Does your college use email, radio, television or text alerts to send bulletins regarding violence or crisis situations? Can family members at home be added, so they also receive updates and alerts?

5. Stash an extra blanket, flashlight and batteries, first aid kit, and a few days of nonperishable food and bottled water handy in your dorm just in case you get stuck without power.

6. Make plans with family and roommates for contacting them in the event of a widespread disaster, such as a tornado, hurricane or flood. If a large area is affected, phone service (even your cell) may not have any reception. Identify a local and an out-of-state relative or friend for all family members to connect with.

7. Keep calm : No matter what events happen, maintain a level of calm. You're more likely to think clearly when you've got your wits and you'll be a greater help to others.

For additional tips on preparing for emergencies and learning about hazards and safety resources in other states, visit ready.gov.

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