Protect Yourself and Your Belongings

At home

  • Keep doors and windows locked.
  • Don’t let people who you do not know into your home.
  • Do not leave a spare key outside of your home hidden somewhere.  If you thought to hide it there, chances are someone else could think to find it there.
  • Educate yourself about insurance.  Many people don’t realize that renter’s insurance is typically needed to cover your personal belongings in the event of a fire or other accident (typically, homeowner’s insurance only covers the landlord's property and not a renter’s belongings!).  Renter’s insurance can actually be fairly cheap ($12/month to insure up to $30,000 is average) and can save you a lot of time, energy, money, and hassle in the event of an accident to your personal belongings.

Fire and carbon monoxide

  • The leading cause of fires nationwide is from cooking.  Stay in the kitchen while cooking and be especially careful while frying (extinguish a grease fire with a lid or extinguisher, not water).  Do not grill in enclosed spaces! 
  • The leading cause of fatal fires is cigarettes.  Be careful when choosing to smoke inside, make sure to fully extinguish smoking materials before getting rid of them, and don’t throw them in the trash or other combustible areas.  Be especially careful if you are having a party!
  • Make sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.  Smoke detectors are required on every level of the home and in all sleeping rooms. Batteries need to be replaced twice a year.  Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that can kill, so install a carbon monoxide detector that can alert you to danger.
  • When a fire alarm goes off, get out as quickly as possible.
  • Don’t overload electrical outlets—use power strips when more outlets are necessary.
  • Keep candles away from anything combustible.  Blow them out anytime you leave a room, even for a moment.
  • Know where your fire extinguisher is and how to use it.  Make sure there is a window large enough to escape out of in the case of a fire.

Extended absences from your residence

  • Close windows and blinds.
  • Lock all doors and windows.
  • Turn on outside lights that illuminate entrances to your home.
  • Arrange for someone you trust to check on your place and pick up your mail.
  • In the winter, make sure to leave the heat slightly on so that pipes don’t freeze and burst.

Outside your home

  • Don’t leave valuables in your vehicle.  If you do, make sure that they are not visible, and be sure to hide things before you arrive at your destination, not after.
  • Keep your computer safe and secure and learn about viruses and fraud, including free anti-virus protection. 
  • Learn about protecting yourself from identity fraud and minimizing the damage should such fraud occur. 
  • Pay only $12 for a STOP tag that will make your laptop or other portable device traceable and easily identifiable. 

Bike safety and security

Safety while walking

  • Always be alert to your surroundings.  Be careful walking alone, and plan to walk in groups of four or more at night, while following lighted paths (for on-campus paths as well as information about emergency phones, click here).  If you would like a free whistle to carry around, The Department of Public Safety in Cascade Hall and the Women's Center should have them available.
  • Call OSU’s SafeRide service, a free transportation option to prevent assault, if you are in a group of 3 or less and need a ride, 541-737-5000. 
  • Take steps to reduce your risk of sexual assault.

What to do in the event of an incident

No matter what you do to protect yourself and your belongings, it is always possible to experience an incident.  In that situation, please make sure to first take care of yourself, and second, report the incident using the proper method below:

  • In an emergency, call 911.
  • If it is not an emergency, the incident took place within Corvallis city limits, there are no known suspects, and it did not occur on a state freeway, you can file a police report online.
  • Call 541-766-6924 if the incident took place in Corvallis and online reporting is not right for you. 
  • If the incident occurred on OSU campus, call 541-737-3010.

Alcohol safety: Stay safe if you choose to consume.

  • Consider the risks of drinking or using other drugs before deciding to engage in this behavior—don’t just do it because you think that everyone else does it, many people don’t.
  • Don’t mix drinking and drugs of any sort, including pain medication or other over the counter medicine.
  • Drink slowly, while alternating with drinking water and eating food.
  • Avoid playing drinking games or having drinking contests; alcohol affects different people differently.
  • Do not drink and drive or bike. Be careful walking after drinking as well, and remember to walk in groups, on lighted paths, and to always be alert to your surroundings.

Alcohol poisoning is a serious condition that can be fatal very quickly.  Know the signs and be prepared to call 911 if someone exhibits the following symptoms:

  • Unconscious and hard to awaken.
  • Slow or shallow breathing, or no breathing at all (more than 8 seconds between breaths).
  • Slow pulse (40 or less beats per minute or 7 or less beats in 10 seconds).
  • Cold, clammy, and/or pale or blue skin.

If you are questioning whether someone is showing signs of alcohol poisoning, go ahead and call 911.  It’s better to call and potentially save someone’s life than not to call because you weren’t 100% sure or you were worried about getting yourself or someone else in trouble.

  • Read about OSU’s alcohol and drug policy on campus
  • Remember, "The Student Conduct Code shall apply to a Student’s or Student Organization’s conduct that occurs on University premises, at University sponsored or affiliated activities regardless of location, and to off campus conduct that adversely affects the University community or the pursuit of University objectives."
  • Also check out this document by the Corvallis Police Department that details some of the common legal violations that partying can lead to.


And don't forget to sign up for OSU Alert so that you can easily be alerted to campus operations and important safety information.