5 Ways to Maximize Safety While You Embrace Student Life

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Returning to college after a long summer has its perks, especially if you spent summer at home huddled on the couch with your laptop. You finally get to reconnect with those friends you lost touch with, everyone is throwing back-to-school parties, and your social life is once again in full swing! But while we totally encourage you to take part in all the fun and games, we don’t want you to be distracted from making sure you’re maximizing safety on campus too.

Even if your school’s admissions brochure told you that your campus is one of the safest in the country, it never hurts to be cautious. That’s why we’ve partnered with SABRE to show you five ways you can stay safe, whether you’re at a party or just walking home from the library.

1. Carry the right tools

Most of us have been told by a worried parent to carry self-defense sprays when going out, just in case – and it’s totally normal to have apprehension about this! How effective is the spray? What if it blows back in my face and hurts me? Can it be used repeatedly?

Luckily, SABRE has your back in the form of an innovative Pepper Gel, so you can relax. By using a gel rather than other spray formulas, there are no airborne particles and virtually no blowback, meaning you’re less likely to get hurt in the process of protecting yourself. Its range is also up to 12 feet (that’s 20 percent farther than traditional pepper spray), so you can fend off your attacker from a farther and safer distance.

SABRE is the #1 brand trusted by police worldwide, so you know it gets the job done. And since one canister is good for 25 sprays, which can provide protection against multiple threats and is five times more than other brands, we think it’s the perfect safety product to stock up during back-to-school season, so it’s ready to use at any point of the school year.

2. Use the buddy system

This is a rule that’s been around since elementary school, so we hope you’ve got this one down. You might be tempted to stop by the party that cutie from your math class invited you to, but make sure you bring a friend before heading anywhere unfamiliar with people you don’t know or trust yet.

And even if your campus claims that nothing will hurt you, try your best to avoid walking home alone at night, even if you’re just heading from the dining hall to your dorm. Having more friends with you is even better. So, the next time you’re thinking about checking out that new place downtown on a Friday night, turn it into a girls’ night and invite some friends. You’ll be much safer while also having fun!

3. Know what you're drinking

Parties are one of the best parts of the back-to-school season, and you can be sure that for the first weekend or two, almost every sorority house and dorm floor will be swimming with people. We know you’re eager to jump into the fun, but you should still be aware of everything that’s going on in the space when you’re there. You’ve probably heard, “Don’t drink the jungle juice!” before, but in truth, things get a bit more complicated than that.

Don’t accept a drink from anyone you don’t know, and even if you do know them, be cautious—they may act like your friend, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. You should never put your cup down, either; always keep it in your sight, so nobody can try to sneak something into it when you’re not looking.

And before you take a sip, you’ll want to do a test to make sure that beer really is just beer. SABRE sells their Drink Test Kits that are user-friendly: You just place a drop of your drink on both spots of the strip, wait for them to dry and if either of them turns dark blue, you’ll know that your drink is no good. The strips test for GHB and Ketamine, two of the most common date-rape drugs, so you can be safe whether you’re letting loose or fulfilling your role as the designated sober friend for the night.

4. Learn some self-defense

While some schools mandate self-defense classes during orientation, others haven’t equipped their students with the same knowledge. If you don’t already know the basics of self-defense, you can schedule a campus visit to bring SABRE’s College Safety Program to your school, and get an in-depth look at what you should be watching out for on campus and how to protect yourself.

In addition to basic self-defense teaching, the College Safety Training Class will teach you how to use safety products like that pepper gel we mentioned, and personal alarms (more on that in a bit). They want to prepare you for every situation, too, so you’ll learn travel safety, situational awareness, active shooter response and sexual assault risk reduction. These are lessons you’ll take with you far beyond college, but SABRE will tailor the class to your specific campus, so they’ll provide the most comprehensive class for you and your fellow students.

This isn’t something you have to go through alone, either—sign up with your sorority sisters, a club or a big group of your girlfriends. That way, you can be looking out for each other as well. Then when the class ends and it’s time to live it up, you can do so feeling better about your newfound knowledge, and more confident in your ability to help yourself or get help from others.

5. Sound the alarm

One of the most basic rules of self-defense is to yell when you’re being attacked, because it attracts attention to your situation. People will rush to your defense, or your attacker might get nervous that they’ll be caught and run away. But while yelling can be effective, having a personal alarm will ensure that you’re heard, and that people know something is wrong immediately.

SABRE’s Personal Alarm with Key Ring attaches to your backpack, purse, keys or whatever else you take with you when you go out, so you don’t have to worry about carrying an extra thing with you. It’s also so simple to use: Just pull the pin out to sound the alarm, then slide it back in to stop it. And this thing is loud. Your alarm will be audible up to 600 feet away at 120 decibels, so anyone nearby will be able to rush to your aid. It’ll also throw your attacker off, and probably scare them, so you can get away.

The best part? If you buy a pink or red personal alarm, you’ll be benefiting the National Breast Cancer Foundation or the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, respectively. So now you can protect yourself and help others at the same time—that’s what we call a good deal.

If you come home from parties after dark or just likes to exercise at night, having the Personal Alarm with Clip and LED Light is a smart idea for your lifestyle. Like the Personal Alarm with Key Ring, this alarm is easy to use by just pushing the button to turning the alarm on and off. It clips to clothing, bags, waistbands or whatever else you may have with you, so you’ll always have easy access, too.

It also comes with an LED light in three settings: a normal flashlight, slow flash and fast flash. So whether you need it for everyday use (like letting cars know you’re crossing the road when you’re on a night jog) or if you get attacked in the dark and want to alert passersby to your location and situation, this is so useful for every person on campus. Plus, the design is weatherproof, so rain or shine, you know you’ll be safe.

With these tips, you’ll be ready to hit up all the on-campus back-to-school events and have a good time with new and old friends, all without having to worry about what to do if you’re in danger.