Students should bring their bikes and expired pills to Safety Month this year. All September long, students can learn how to drink alcohol safely, get rid of their old prescription drugs at the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office “Operation Pill Drop”, and much more. And they can do all of it at this year’s Safety Fair, or what its organizers say is the biggest event happening all month.
This year’s theme is “Look Up – Look Down – Look All Around,” which focuses on pedestrian safety. Over 60 tables will crowd the Breezeway Sept. 13 at 10 a.m. with vendors teaching students about staying safe on and off campus. And even though over 2,000 showed up last year, this is the only Safety Fair this month that has all of these events, according to Environmental Health and Safety Director Tom Bradley.
Top five reasons to visit the Boca Safety Fair this year:
1. Free stuff: There’s free food and drinks, but getting them is going to take some work.
“We provide a free lunch and a T-shirt for those who complete their ‘Passport to Safety,’” said Bradley. That passport is a pamphlet students can get at any of the fair’s 60 tables and have it stamped at each one by a vendor. Student Health Services Director Cathie Wallace says some tables will have displays about sun safety, dating and relationship health, STI prevention and texting and driving.
“When their passport is fully stamped,” Bradley said. “They can proceed to the free food and T-shirt tables.”
But there are some freebies you can get with no strings attached. Housing and Residential Life will be giving away safety whistles, yellow rain ponchos and key chains. Those and flashing reflector lights go hand in hand with this year’s theme.
“Every year there are themes to the activities and programs,” Director of Housing and Residential Life Jill Eckardt said. “This year we are focusing on pedestrian safety.”
2. Theme parks have simulators, so does FAU: The fair isn’t only about pamphlets and free condoms — there are rides too.
Eckardt has worked with the Safety Fair since it first started five years ago. In the past, students have been able to put out flames with a fire extinguisher, escape smoke filled rooms, and walk through mini hurricane demonstrations.
This year, students can sit in a Roll-Over Simulator (which looks like the front half of a pickup truck) and flip upside down as they would in a serious car crash. Florida Highway and Safety Patrol is bringing this simulator along with one called the Seat Belt Convincer.
“We are bringing back the Florida Highway Patrol’s Seatbelt Convincer, which was a success in previous years,” Bradley said.
Students can ride down a cart as if they were in a car going 8 mph and learn how a seatbelt works when the cart abruptly stops.
“The Seatbelt Convincer and the Roll-Over Simulator are fun and active ways to demonstrate how your car seat belt may save your life in a rollover car accident,” Wallace said.
3. It’s the biggest one: FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute is hosting a fair Sept. 18, but it’s smaller than Boca’s.
There will be other activities for Safety Month on the Davie and Jupiter campuses, like Club FAU in Jupiter where students can hang out in a nightlife atmosphere without the alcohol. Davie will have events like BMI testing and blood pressure checks, but no fair.
Harbor Branch’s fair will have the same crash simulators as Boca and beer goggle demonstrations to teach students about DUIs, but not 60 tables worth of safety information. Last year many of these events were on the Treasure Coast campus. Since it closed this summer due to state budget cuts, they will all be on the Boca campus.
“The annual Boca campus Safety Fair has continued to attract about 2,000 people, mostly students, each year,” Bradley said. “We expect similar numbers this year.”
4. Winner, Winner, GoPro Dinner: This year FAU is having a safety video contest. The prize is a camera worth around $200.
FAU faculty, staff, students and organizations can submit a video to the Environmental Health and Safety Department and win a GoPro video camera donated by Force E Scuba of Boca Raton. The video must be safety related and 3 minutes or less and the winner’s video will be posted on the FAU EH&S YouTube site.
5. You’ll learn something new: It’s not all fun and games, you’ll learn something too.
Even if you’re just getting your “Passport to Safety” stamped for the free lunch, there are lots of things to learn. “I think you can see by the wide variety of events and activities on the Safety Month web site that there is something of interest for everyone,” Bradley said.
“The key is for students and employees to take advantage of the events and activities.”
And although there haven’t been studies on how much students learn from Safety Month, FAU Police Chief Charles Lowe sees a difference.
“We do see an increase in students registering their bicycles, taking advantage of the book stamp program, and registering for [Rape Aggression Defense] classes,” he said. “I believe these are signs that the program has an impact.”
Check out more Safety Month stories in the UP each week of September.
WATCH OUT: In celebration of Safety Month, FAU’s safety pro’s have some advice for how to stay protected this school year.
Student Health Services Director Cathie Wallace: “Reduce stress by: 1) using good time management for study, work, family and friends and recreation 2) listen to your favorite music 3) try yoga or meditation 4) dance 5) exercise regularly.”
FAU Police Chief Charles Lowe: “The best advice for students is to be aware of your surroundings and assume responsibility for your safety and the safety of your possessions. Some examples might be: don’t leave valuables visible in your vehicle, lock your room door, use a lock if you put things in a locker, and lock up your bicycle.”
Environmental Health and Safety Director Tom Bradley: “Number one, and a theme for this year’s Boca Campus activities, would be ‘Do not text while walking, skateboarding or bicycling.’ Distracted pedestrians, skateboarders and bicyclists can be severely injured themselves or even worse, they can injure someone else. So, look up, look down and look all around to avoid accidents and injuries.”
Events worth going to:
9/6 Club FAU: Everything you get in the club atmosphere, without the alcohol in Jupiter at 7 p.m.
9/11 Free BMI analysis and Blood Pressure Testing in Davie at 9 a.m.
9/12 Rape Aggression Defense Workshop and Sexual Assault Protection Workshop: Learn self defense against sex predators in Jupiter at 3 p.m.
9/18 Harbor Branch Safety Fair at Harbor Branch 10 a.m.
9/20 Stolen!: Program that shows how easy it is to get your stuff stolen out of a dorm in Jupiter 5 p.m.
For a full list of events visit: www.fau.edu/safetymonth/