There are many resources on campus and in the community to keep you safe and healthy during your time in Tallahassee. As in any community, you should familiarize yourself with both those resources and what to avoid.
The FSU police are available when calling 911 from campus for an emergency or at 850-644-1234 for a non-emergency or a S.A.F.E. Connection ride to and from campus locations between the hours of 7 p.m. and 2:45 a.m. You can also use any Blue Light call box on campus to call the FSU police for an emergency, non-emergency, or S.A.F.E. Connection ride on campus. The FSU Guardian App can assist international students and scholars in quickly and effectively communicating personal details to an FSU dispatcher in the case of an emergency. This may be especially important if the caller feels they may have difficulty communicating in English during an emergency situation or if they have a medical condition (like a seizure disorder) that could prevent them from speaking. The FSU police also provide self-defense classes, a Citizen’s Police Academy course, Sexual Violence Prevention information, and more, which can be found at https://police.fsu.edu/services
FSU ALERT is Florida State University's emergency notification system. If there is a condition which threatens the health and safety of persons on campus, university officials will warn the campus community through a variety of methods. Ensure that your U.S. cell phone number is updated in your www.my.fsu.edu account in order to receive important messages from campus. If extreme weather or power outages may affect whether or not FSU opens, information will be posted online and on the SeminoleSAFE App
Most international students report having a very positive experience generally at FSU. Although we hope this will always be the case, the campus wants to be responsive to any inappropriate behavior that may be witnessed or experienced. Students are encouraged to report any sexual misconduct, concerning behaviors, accessibility issues, acts of discrimination, or hazing at report.fsu.edu. The Dean of Students also supports students who have become a victim of crime through the Victims Advocate Program.
Keeping Yourself Safe
As in any community, there are areas of Tallahassee that experience greater levels of crime and these should generally be avoided, particularly at night and when walking alone. The city police have a regularly updated, searchable map that shows all reports they receive – www.talgov.com/gis/tops/default.aspx. Keep in mind that many reports are traffic accidents, and not everything reported to the police leads to an arrest or conviction. For instance, if someone reports that their laptop has been stolen and then finds that their roommate borrowed it, that report would still show up on this map as a burglary. Areas where there are several violent crimes and drug violations reported, though, should be avoided. The Tallahassee Police Department also has a very comprehensive list of safety recommendations at www.talgov.com/publicsafety/tpd-prevention.aspx
The FSU Fire Department has recommendations on fire extinguishers and smoke alarms at www.talgov.com/publicsafety/tfd.aspx. The American Red Cross has detailed fire prevention checklist and fact sheets. Their top tips are:
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
- Test smoke alarms every month. If they’re not working, change the batteries.
- Talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.
- If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL FOR HELP. Never go back inside for anything or anyone.
The most frequent weather-related issue you may experience in Tallahassee is flooding. During the summer, daily afternoon rain is common, and a heavy rainfall during this time may cause streets, low-lying neighborhoods, and waterways to flood temporarily. Always avoid walking or driving through flooded streets, sidewalks, and parking lots. If your home is on a bottom floor or in an area prone to flooding, learn how to prepare and consider purchasing, prior to a flooding event, renter insurance that covers flooding and damage caused by storms.
Tallahassee can also be impacted by the annual hurricane season from June 1 to November 30. Hurricanes can cause flooding, downed trees, and lengthy power outages. You should prepare for hurricane season before June 1 by:
- Purchasing and storing a two-week supply of non-perishable, canned or boxed food;
- Having available and clean storage containers that can be filled with at least 14 gallons of water per person;
- Having available a battery-powered radio, flashlight, and plenty of extra batteries for both;
- Consider purchasing a portable, external battery pack/charger or solar charger for your phone;
- Having a plan for a place to stay outside of Tallahassee and a way to get there in advance of the storm, if needed or preferred;
- Having a plan to notify family and friends of your safety and location, if your ability to call or message is limited;
- Purchasing renters insurance that will cover damage or loss caused by a hurricane or named storm; and
- Having a watertight container suitable for storing and bringing your immigration and identity documents with you.
No one anticipates experiencing an accident or illness that leaves them unable to communicate their wishes or manage their own financial affairs, but occasionally this happens. Individuals who have written health care advance directives will provide their friends or family a means of knowing what their wishes are. The Florida Bar has free information available regarding advance directives and related legal issues. Have all legal documents, life insurance, and financial account information in a watertight container in a safe place known by those you have assigned to make decisions on your behalf, should you become debilitated.
Health and Mental Health Resources
FSU and the Tallahassee community have a wealth of resources to help you stay healthy and obtain services when you are not. All enrolled FSU students are assessed fees that allow them to access the FSU Health Center, the University Counseling Center, and Campus Recreation. Faculty, staff, and visiting scholars can pay a one-time $15 fee for access to the FSU Health Center, a membership fee and/or per use fee for Campus Recreation services, and free access to the Employee Assistance Program. Note that students, scholars, and faculty/staff will pay any applicable insurance co-pays or co-insurance for services provided by the Health Center, and there may be additional fees for services like nutrition counseling or outdoor adventure trips. The Morcom Aquatic Center is also available for use for a fee, as is the FSU Golf Course.
There are many community resources available to keep you and your family healthy as well. Here are just a few (check your insurance exclusions before participating in sports):
- Tallahassee Parks, Community Centers, and Sports
- Warner Soccer
- Florida Trail Association
- Florida Blue Center Events (many are open to the public)
- Capital Health Plan Resources and Events (members only)
- Bond Community Health Center
- 211 Big Bend Crisis Support
- Leon County Extension Center
- Mental Health Recovery Center