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The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

Emergency personnel offer safety tips at spring safety fair

A+Pitt+Police+officer+talks+with+students+during+the+Spring+Safety+Fair+in+the+William+Pitt+Union.
Amber Farabaugh | Staff Photographer
A Pitt Police officer talks with students during the Spring Safety Fair in the William Pitt Union.

It’s important for students to feel comfortable bringing their safety concerns to the Pitt police department, according to Bradley Kiefer. 

“If you see something, say something — it really is the truth,” Kiefer, a Pitt police lieutenant, said. 

The Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management and Student Government Board hosted the Spring Safety Fair on Monday afternoon in the Assembly Room of the William Pitt Union. The event gave students, faculty and staff a chance to learn about personal and public safety from various University and external services. The Pitt police, Pennsylvania State Police and various third party services sent representatives to attend the fair, giving students an opportunity to educate themselves on different aspects of safety, from road safety to CPR to on campus security.

“It’s a nice opportunity to connect with the students, staff and faculty and present them with the resources that are offered on campus,” Heather Walker, a Pitt police officer in the Community Programs Unit, said. “We really like to highlight different aspects of safety and this is a nice opportunity to get everyone in one space.”

A participant practices CPR during the Spring Safety Fair in the William Pitt Union. (Amber Farabaugh | Staff Photographer)

The event featured booths with different agencies along with a few interactive displays. Students could wear alcohol impairment goggles and try to walk in a straight line, examine a fire extinguisher or practice their CPR skills on a pair of dummies.

“We should never take our safety for granted,” Antonio Gumucio, a representative from the Center for Cardiac Arrest Survival, said. “And this is a great opportunity for different departments to show what they do and how safety is essential.”

Gumucio said the best thing one can do when someone near them goes into cardiac arrest is call 911. He also advised students to download the PulsePoint app, which alerts users of cardiac arrests happening near them and points out defibrillator locations.

Pitt police occupied many of the booths at the event, where representatives from various sub-departments, including the Motorcycle Unit, Honor Guard and communication department, spoke with students. Walker emphasized the importance of having a “good” relationship between the Pitt community and the police department.

“We want [students] to come talk to us, we don’t want [students] to hesitate to contact the police,” she said. “No concern is stupid, we want students to come to us.”

Many organizations also had student ambassadors overseeing events and handing out prizes and pamphlets.

“I find it really nice that not only is this event open to students but that the organizations themselves have students working,” Jess Jobbins, a Pitt student, said. “The ambassadors make it more engaging for students.”

Organizers handed out slices of pizza and boxes of popcorn to students in attendance. Students also had the opportunity to fill out bingo cards with the attending agencies on them.

Representatives handed out merchandise like keychains and miniature first-aid kits, and students had a chance to enter to win a pair of AirPods Pro.

Jobbins said the event is especially beneficial for college students and new adults.

“My parents and I were intimidated by all this, being able to trust myself in environments that I’m in, so I think it’s good for student safety.” Jobbins said.

Jobbins added that she feels safe on campus but said “some responsive measures” could improve. 

“I think when it comes to crime alerts, that’s something they could definitely improve on,” Jobbins said. “With the amount of police working around campus and the new call buttons in the Cathedral, it definitely is improving, but there’s always room to grow.”

According to Walker, the safety fair is a good way to highlight community programs in the police department.

“We have self defense classes that we always promote, especially at events like this where students, staff and faculty may not know about [them],” Walker said. “We also have a Citizen’s Police Academy that we run every semester, and this is a nice way to promote that.”

To sign up for either of those events, students can contact Walker at [email protected] or Kiefer at [email protected]

Beyond the myriad of departments and agencies tasked with keeping students safe, situational awareness and personal safety are some of the best tools students have, according to Officer Walker.

“Having each other’s backs, looking out for each other and paying attention to your surroundings is a big part of it,” Walker said, “Even coming to these types of events and finding out what kinds of resources are on campus and spreading the word to friends.”