Photo by Connor J. Marth
By Connor Hayden | Herald Contributor
Sirens and flashing lights are the classic signals that most people associate with an emergency services vehicle. According to the Roger Williams University Department of Public Safety, there have been 182 emergency reports filed on campus this semester, as of Wednesday, Oct. 25. This is an improvement from the 226 calls at the same time in the semester of fall 2016.
Emergency reports are classified as anything requiring a written response and include both EMT and non-EMT responses. While some may believe that Public Safety’s only purpose is to ticket cars parked in the wrong lot or to break up parties that have gotten out of hand, the officers actually deal with a large number of emergency responses, ranging from fire alarms set off by attempts to make popcorn gone wrong to serious injuries such as broken bones.
Department of Public Safety Director Steven Melaragno attributed the reasoning behind this decrease to a number of different possibilities, most notably through the implementation of programs on campus that aid in alcohol and drug awareness and prevention, such as the Roger After Dark (RAD) program and the Inter-Residence Hall Association (IRHA).
“By opening the line of communication, we can work to reduce the number of injuries on the campus,” said Melaragno, referring to the alcohol-related injuries that made up a significant portion of the 182 reports.
Melaragno shared about an upcoming event on campus, “Pizza With P-Safe,” which will be an opportunity to allow students to meet and talk with Public Safety officers, therefore opening up the communication between the student body and the administration.
Another major reason for the decrease of alcohol-related emergencies given by Melaragno was the attitudes of incoming students. He stated that, in recent years, students have addressed the situation with increasing responsibility.
Freshman Tyler Marchioni was surprised to find how many organizations and programs provide opportunities for students to have fun on campus without feeling pressured to go to parties to fit in with other new students on campus.
“They do a great job because students shouldn’t feel like they have to drink to make friends and have fun,” said Marchioni. “I think that these are great ways to have fun without feeling pressured to drink.”
However, alcohol-related emergencies are not the only causes of the emergency reports. One of the most common causes of reports is accidental fire alarms in the residence halls. As a result, Public Safety has been working to update sensors and detectors in residence halls, another reason for the decrease in emergency reports seen in the previous year’s fall semester.