Being ‘flexible’ key to safety on campus

Tom Lynch works to keep the campus safe. Photo credit: Jackie Graves

Whether you fight, flight or freeze, your best chance of keeping safe on campus is to be ‘flexible’, according to the director of campus safety, Tom Lynch.

Lynch emphasized the ability to adapt due to DC and UOIT’s size and varying locations.

“Your thought process has to be fluid,” he said. “There is no one concrete plan on how to get out safely.”

At DC and UOIT, it’s more likely danger could come in the form of radical weather or plane crashes, due to the proximity to Oshawa Airport, according to Lynch. He recommends staff and students take the time to get to know their surroundings, so they can give themselves enough time and distance from potential danger.

“We don’t know where the threat is or where it’s coming from,” said Lynch. “It’s good to know your environment.”

There are multiple protective measures available to ensure students are safe. Outside DC and UOIT, there are Code Blue stations, 9-foot poles with blue lights students can use to alert campus security or emergency services.

Campus Walk is a program where trained students escort people to their vehicles and residences. When Campus Walk isn’t available, security will provide escort, which is available 24/7.

“There have been contributions not only by my office but by faculty and students,” said Lynch. “In general, we have a great campus.”

DC and UOIT have exercises to help teach faculty and students to handle emergency situations, including practice lockdowns and secure-and-holds. However, senior leaders from DC and UOIT also meet with security staff on an ongoing basis to discuss what should be shared with the campus community to avoid causing unnecessary panic.

“Sometimes information can only harm or, out of context, cause more trauma and grief then its intended to,” said Lynch.

CCTV cameras monitor the campus 24/7 but this doesn’t mean campus security doesn’t have innovation in mind. DC and UOIT used to have a mic-radio system which became obsolete and caused interference with police radios. Now, the system operates on a 700-megahertz radio frequency, enabling anyone in the Durham Region emergency services with the same system to have full contact on campus.

For more on campus safety, visit under the Safety and Security on Campus tab.