When living in residence, safety is everyone’s responsibility. To ensure the safety of students living in residence we have many practices in place within residence buildings and beyond including building features, safety initiatives, and campus partnerships.
Each of our 13 residence buildings come equipped with proximity-access card readers which only unlock the main doors of their specific building to card holders. This means that only students living in that specific building are able to get inside. These buildings also have 24/7 electronic surveillance cameras in a variety of non-intrusive spaces such as lobbies, as well as security intercom systems. Every residence room has an industrial grade lock system and first floor room windows come with professional grade reinforced security screens. All buildings are equipped with smoke and heat detectors, fire extinguishers, hoses and alarms, which are all checked regularly.
To support the ongoing safety and security of students in residence, we have several ongoing initiatives that staff and students both take part in. Each night, Residence Life Staff perform coverage rounds between the hours of 9pm and 8am, as well as stay active on the emergency pager. We also have a residence life area coordinator on-call 24/7 to respond to any emergency or crisis situations. On top of this, we have an extensive Guest/Escort Policy based on accountability, permission, and courtesy and limited areas of entry to residence buildings after 9p.m. Students are provided with clear emergency procedure guidelines in September and participate in weekly fire tests and randomized building evacuation drills to practice preparedness. There is also an Annual Inter-Residence Council Safety Audit completed in conjunction with Housing & Conference Services to make sure all of our safety measures are up to date.
Housing & Conference Services has important campus partnerships that help to protect the safety of students living in residence. The Student Walk Home Attendant Team (SWHAT) is a student volunteer run service where volunteer teams will walk anywhere within a 30 minute radius of campus to accompany students home during particular hours of the night. The Emergency First Response Team (EFRT) is a 24/hour on-call student volunteer run organization that responds to medical emergencies on campus. All volunteers are trained in both the Red Cross’ Emergency First Responder and Toronto Ambulance’s International Trauma Life Support courses. Finally, McMaster Security Services is run by McMaster Security officers, who are sworn peace officers with the ability to enforce the Criminal Code of Canada, Federal and Provincial statutes and Municipal by-laws on the University Campus.
We want to keep students in residence as safe as we can, though we can’t do this alone! Here are five tips for staying safe in residence: