Skip To Content
University Housing - Florida State University

University Housing

University Housing Florida State University
Housing banner image

Orientation to Campus Safety

Welcome to Florida State University. We are proud to have you on campus for the academic year and will do our best to ensure that you have an enjoyable and positive experience at Florida State.

The safety and security of our campus community depends, to a large extent, on you. With this in mind, University Housing and the Florida State University Police Department (FSUPD) offer students security resources that include on-going educational programs, safety-related policies, educational sanctions for violators of those policies, and staff assistance for dealing with security problems and emergencies. Without your help, though, there is only so much we can do.

We have provided several safety tips and resources for you in this publication. We hope that you take some time to become familiar with them, and that you take advantage of the beneficial activities during Safety and Security Week at the beginning of the Fall semester and throughout the year.

Upholding the Garnet and Gold

The Florida State University is a diverse community with a longstanding tradition of respect for the dignity and worth of each person. We recognize the importance of disagreement and informed debate for a dynamic learning environment, we also expect each member of our community to embrace the values of civility and ethical conduct and share in the responsibility to promote these values. Uphold the Garnet and Gold by demonstrative respect for ourselves and others, taking responsibility for yourself and those around you, and reflecting the values of Florida State.

The Seminole Creed

The guiding ethical norm at FSU is responsible freedom. As a member of this community, I promise the following:

  • Truthfulness: I will be honest and truthful at all times and work for personal and institutional integrity at Florida State University.
  • Respect: I will show respect for others, the University, the community, and myself.
  • Excellence: I will pursue excellence in my learning and living in the University and beyond.
  • Freedom of Speech and Inquiry: I will support academic freedom, including the right of dissent and freedom of speech.
  • Diversity: I will learn from and about those who are different and work to make the University inclusive.
  • Justice: I will treat others in a fair manner and strive to make the University a community of justice.
  • Citizenship: I will act as a responsible citizen in the University and beyond, participating in those activities fostering citizenship.
  • Discovery: I will take time for adventure, discovery, fun, excitement and friendship.

In The Residence Halls

The residence halls are great places to be, but they are not impervious to crime and/or safety issues. No matter how safe you feel, it is always important to take steps to ensure your safety and the safety of others, such as:

  • Lock your room door at all times when you are not home.
  • Even when home, lock your door when you are sleeping or anytime your door is closed.
  • Avoid just saying “come in!” when you hear a knock on the door. Use your peephole to identify people who are entering your room. If you do not know them, ask them to show identification before opening the door.
  • Carry your key at all times, including when you are just going down the hall or walking to the kitchen/laundry room.
  • Attend safety programs to learn more about what you can do to reduce your risk.
  • Never prop open exterior doors or gates.
  • Never let non-residents enter the hall unless they are your guests. If you do not know if someone is a resident, do not let them into the hall.
  • Report suspicious people to the hall staff and FSUPD.
  • Door to door sales are not allowed in the halls – if someone is going door to door selling shirts, magazine subscriptions, etc. – contact FSUPD immediately. You may also report them to the front desk or your Resident Assistant to ensure that the University Housing Staff is aware of the situation. Never let someone you do not know into your room.
  • Do not lend your room key or FSU Card to anyone – this is not only a safety issue, but an expectation from the Student Code of Conduct.
  • Always evacuate the building when you hear a fire alarm – an alarm is an alarm and should always be treated as such.
  • Remember that thieves look for items that are easy to grab such as unattended laptops or MP3 players. FSUPD can engrave items for easier tracking should they be stolen or lost.
  • Store valuables in a safe place within your room. Use the lockable desk drawers with your own lock for added security for items you want to keep safe.
  • FSUPD also offers online registration of your personal property through their homepage. Go to and go to the right column and click on “Register Your Personal Property”.

While both on or off campus

Unfortunately, campus and the Tallahassee community are not immune to crime. No matter where you are, on or off campus, you should always take steps to reduce your risk of becoming a victim of crime. Below are some recommendations on how to keep yourself safe:

  • Let others know where you are going and when you will return. Give them a phone number if possible.
  • Walk with a companion whenever possible. In doing so, plan ahead—choose the most well lit and most populated route to your destination.
  • Utilize FSU Guardian which allows you to set a timer from your phone when going from one location to another. If your timer expires, FSUPD will be notified and respond accordingly.
  • Call the SAFE Connection at 850-644-SAFE (7233) for an escort in the evening.
  • Use the blue light trail and be familiar with how the emergency phones are used.
  • Avoid dark and secluded areas. If you have to park late at night and walk to your hall, call SAFE Connection to meet you in the parking lot and give you a ride to your hall.
  • Park in well-lit areas and remove all valuables from sight.
  • Always lock your vehicle doors, even when you are driving.
  • Visit your vehicle more than once a week. Many of the cars broken into are not noticed initially as their owner has not moved them.
  • Don’t leave valuables in your vehicle in plain view. Put them in the trunk, glove compartment, or better yet take them to your room.
  • Notify FSUPD immediately if you see suspicious activity in the parking lots or when leaving your vehicle.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
  • Only travel with credit or ATM cards you need.
  • Avoid carrying too much at once when making trips to your hall or classes. Make several trips if you need to or ask friends to help so that you are mobile.
  • Register your bike with FSUPD and always lock it if not in use.
  • Stay away from construction sites. Never remove construction barricades, cones or safety signs.
  • Report overgrown shrubbery by buildings.
  • If you carry a purse, hold it close to your body. If you carry a wallet, place it in your front pocket.
  • Avoid walking around at night on the phone or listening to music.
  • If your gut tells you to choose another route, follow your instincts.
  • Always report suspicious persons immediately. Even if they do not bother you, they may do something to someone else. Remember: If you see something, say something!
  • If you ever notice someone following you, head to a well-lit area and call Police immediately. If in a vehicle, get the license plate number and call Police.
  • Use extreme caution if you or friends use alcohol or other drugs. Use of these substances may contribute to impaired judgment and reduce your ability to stay in control of your safety. Never accept a drink from someone if you did not watch him or her prepare it.
  • Trust your intuition. If you do not feel right or safe with a particular situation, place, or person; act immediately to get where you feel safer.

On The Internet

Safety is just as important on the internet these days as it is in your hall or in the community. Follow these tips for ensuring you have a safe and enjoyable experience when on the internet:

  • When using social media, remember not to share personal information with people you have never met face to face. It is easy for people to pose as individuals different from their real identity. It is not safe to post information such as room numbers, phone numbers, or class schedules.
  • Do not share information regarding your identity such as your FSUID and Password. No one should ever ask for financial information such as bank account numbers. If they do, further investigate.
  • Avoid online financial transactions while using a wireless connection. This is not as secure as a traditional connection and may make you more susceptible to identity theft.
  • Always update your anti-virus protection and download the updates needed for your system. Your computer can be set up to perform these tasks automatically so you do not have to remember to do it all the time. Set up a firewall on your computer to protect you from any viruses. Just because you are on a network does not mean your computer is safe.
  • Be aware of who e-mails are from before you open them. If you do not know the email address or the name then delete the email. If you open the email you might risk infecting your computer with a virus.
  • Activate your spam protection through your email provider. This will limit the amount of spam you receive and allow you to control what you do and do not consider spam.

Keeping Your Identity Private

Florida State University and University Housing will not provide your information to anyone without your expressed consent. This includes family members and/or friends. In order to keep your own identity and information safe, we recommend that you:

  • Limit the number of people who have access to your personal information. (i.e., Social security numbers, date of birth, address, phone numbers)
  • Do not share your ATM or bank account PIN numbers with anyone, including roommates or friends.
  • Destroy items that contain your personal information. Even if you do not open a letter granting you a new credit card or another offer, rip up the envelope and the contents to prevent someone else from using it.
  • Use secure Internet sites for online purchases. Use a credit card with anti-theft protection when securing online purchases.
  • Identity theft is a federal felony. Document and report all cases of suspected identity thefts.
  • Do not provide bank information over the phone or via email unless you have made deliberate contact with the organization.
  • Research the companies you do business with and determine that they are not fraudulent.

Harassing or Obscene Phone Calls

Obscene, harassing or threatening phone calls are illegal, a nuisance and can be frightening. If you receive such a call, please do the following:

  1. Hang up on the caller.
  2. Contact FSUPD at 850-644-1234 to file a complaint and provide the date and times of the call.

If you receive harassing messages on your voice mail, messaging systems, social networking site, text message, email, or by any other means, be sure to save the messages to give to the police. Please print the received messages, so that there is a record of them in case of deletion.

Take Notes: You can help to provide a clear picture of the events that occurred for by providing the following information to police should you receive harassing or threatening calls: time, date, was the caller laughing or talking, if so, what did they say? Additionally, try to assess the overall tone or attitude of the caller.

Providing staff and police with information for a report can be difficult. Often times, students are not sure if they should say something, if they have enough information to report, what happens next, etc. Watch out for yourself and others. If you see strangers or hear cries for help, respond by calling the police. If you are wrong, no harm has been done. If you are right, you might have saved someone from injury or suffering. To learn more about bystander intervention strategies, please visit: Below are some tips if you may need to make a report.

How to Make a Report

  • When making a report, try to collect as much information, and be as descriptive, as possible.
    • Times, dates, locations and names are most helpful.
    • Report in a timely manner after the incident.
  • When in doubt, report what you saw and thought was happening. Remember: If you see something, say something.

What is a good report?

  • A good report is information given based facts, and upon investigation is determined to be true.
  • A good report possesses the information listed above in clear detail. Being able to report something you have experienced (witnessed, heard, or smelt) is best.

What is a valid report?

  • A valid report is information given based upon a suspicion of fact, but, upon investigation, may be determined to not be true.
  • An example of this could be: a student believes someone is trying to break into a car. The police investigate and determine that the owner had locked their keys inside the car and needed assistance.

What is a false report?

  • When a person knowingly files a report they know to be incorrect. This may be with the intent to obstruct or hinder investigation or operations, or without such intent.
  • A person who knowingly files a false police report is subject to criminal charges, which range from misdemeanors to felonies.
  • Law enforcement officers often investigate incidents directly from information give in a report, and knowingly providing false information hinders police efforts and works against the goal of keeping our community safe and secure.

I submitted a Police Report… what happens next?

  • The Officer must first determine if a crime has been committed. If the answer is YES, the Officer will collect information to complete a report.
  • During an investigation the Officer will attempt to have the complainant/victim answer the following questions: Who? What happened? When? Where? How did it happen?
  • The Officer will also attempt to interview the suspect(s).
  • During an investigation, the Officer will collect contact information from the complainant, witnesses, and if available, the suspect(s). If available, the Officer will collect any witness statements.
  • If possible the Officer(s) search and collect any evidence.

An Investigation has occurred … what happens next?

  • The Officer will request FSUPD Communications to assign a case number at the conclusion of an investigation. This will generate a case number.
  • The Officer will give the complainant or victim a business card with the Officer’s name, contact information, and case number. Depending on the type of crime, an Officer will offer the victim a Victim’s Rights brochure and/or Victim’s Advocate services.
  • After all interviews and information is collected, along with any evidence, the Officer will return to FSUPD Headquarters to enter all of the information collected into a written narrative. Once the narrative is completed and reviewed, it is kept on file indefinitely.

Residence Hall Staff: Residence Coordinators, Assistant Coordinators, Hall Directors, Facility Supervisors, Resident Assistants (RAs), Night Staff and Receptionists work in the hall. Please report all safety concerns to them immediately.

Florida State University Police Department (FSUPD): These are sworn law enforcement officers who respond to emergencies. They also provide safety programs for students. Contact them at 850-644-1234 or simply dial 911 from any campus phone. To learn more about FSUPD and its services, visit:

Adopt-A-C.O.P.P.: The Florida State University Police Department also provides liaisons, also known as Adopt-A-C.O.P.P.s, to the residence hall community. These officers participate in staff functions and spend extra time in the halls doing security rounds and interacting with students. To learn who your Adopt-A-COPP is, visit:

Crime Prevention Unit: FSUPD also offers a unit dedicated to educating the members of the University community in the areas of prevention, reduction, and awareness of criminal activity. The members of the Crime Prevention Section devise, implement, and deliver educational programs that let all members of the University community—students, faculty, staff, and visitors—know what they can and should so to prevent themselves from becoming victims. Successful programs include Adopt-A-C.O.P.P., Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) training, residence hall security consulting, and Auto Theft Prevention activities. They also post Crime Alerts to campus when they occur. To learn more about the Crime Prevention Unit and what they can do for you, visit: and click on the Crime Prevention link under “Departmental Divisions”.

FSU Alert System:In the event of any major emergency on campus, the university will use the FSU ALERT emergency notification system to warn everyone. There are up to 22 ways that FSU can use to alert the campus community in the event of an emergency including outdoor warning sirens, blue lights, e-mail, text messages, or NOAA weather radios. If one or more of these systems is activated, seek shelter in the nearest building and try to get more information by visiting the university website,, calling the hotline 850-644-INFO (4636), or tuning a radio to 530AM. To learn more about the FSU ALERT system, including how to register your cell phone for text messages, visit and click on the FSU ALERT logo.

S.A.F.E. Connection & Nite Nole: Dial 850-644-SAFE (7233) to request a pick up by the SAFE van. The van provides shuttle services between locations both on campus and on the periphery. This service is in operation from dusk until 3am. The Nite Nole is a bus service that operates from 10pm to 3am, Tuesday through Saturday during the Fall and Spring semester. The route begins in Heritage Grove and makes stops along the route stretching from Appleyard to Stadium Drive, all the way back through Tennessee Street and services over 32 apartment complexes. Both of these services are provided by your Student Government Association.

FSU Guardian: FSU Guardian allows you to set a timer from your phone when going from one location to another. If your timer expires, FSUPD will be notified and respond accordingly. To activate the timer, registered users can simply call 850-807-4949 and follow the subsequent prompts. With FSU Guardian you can build a unique personal profile that instantaneously provides FSUPD dispatchers with critical information should you call them from your registered phone number. All information provided by you is optional and is only seen when you call either 9-1-1 or 850-644-1234 for assistance. For more information, please see:

Blue Light Trail: The Blue Light Trail consists of over 400 strategically placed light poles equipped with emergency speaker phones and topped with strobe lights. If you are threatened, see anything suspicious or require any type of police assistance quickly, just push the emergency button to be connected with the FSU Police dispatcher. Note the locations of the blue light telephones as you move about the campus. You may never need to use one, but you should be aware of their locations. Look for a blue light: The blue light identifies the location of the emergency phone. Press the Emergency Phone button (No dialing is necessary): A strobe light will flash and you will be connected to the University Police Department.

Victim Advocate Program: A representative from this office will offer assistance to all victims, of any type of crime through any combination of the following: offer immediate crisis counseling and emotional support, accompany you to the hospital and/or police department, make referrals for on-going counseling and support groups, provide you with information about the university conduct and/or criminal process and advocate on your behalf, intervene with your instructors. Victim Advocate can be reached 24 hours a day. They can be reached by calling 850-644-1761 during regular business hours or by calling FSUPD at 850-644-1234 on weekdays, nights and holidays. FSUPD will need a number where the advocate can return your call. All information shared will be kept confidential. For more information, please see:

University Health Services: University Health Services provides routine medical care, elective minor surgery, physical exams, gynecological care, Rohpynol testing, dental care, x-rays, pharmacy and other additional services. You can drop in or make an appointment by calling 850-644-6230. University Health Services has an urgent care clinic for students that have a minor emergency or need to be seen immediately. For more information, see:

University Counseling Center: This center provides both individual and group counseling. Appointments are by walk-in, and walk-ins and emergencies are welcome. Call 850-644-2003 or stop by the Askew Student Life Center for information. Additional information is available through the UCC’s website at:

R.A.D. Training: You can learn how to protect yourself by attending a Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D) class. R.A.D is a 12 hour self-defense program offered by FSUPD to female students that focuses on the defense against abduction. It teaches basic self-defense and survival mindset, as well as empowers women to say no to unwanted advances. This is a hands on learning experience provided at no cost to female students. The instructors are certified and experienced in teaching this course. For more information, please contact the FSUPD Crime Prevention Division at 850-644-1388.

What to do if you are sexually assaulted:

  • Know that it is NOT your fault.
  • Go to a safe place and call or be with someone you trust. If you feel unsafe or there is any immediate danger to yourself or others, call the FSU Police Department at 850-644-1234 if you are on campus or call 911 if you are off-campus.
  • Consider seeking medical attention for physical injuries and/or evidence collection. Avoid changing your clothes or taking a shower until this has been done.
  • Consider contacting the police.
  • Consider contacting FSU Victim Advocate for confidential assistance 24 hours a day at 850-644-7161 or through FSUPD (nights and weekends) at 850-644-1234
  • Consider seeking immediate medical and counseling support. To view a list of resources on campus, visit this website

Reporting a sexual assault:

Deciding whether to report a sexual assault can be difficult and overwhelming. If you experienced a sexual assault and you're unsure whether to report it, please meet with a Victim Advocate to explore your options and rights as a survivor of sexual assault. To schedule an appointment with a Victim Advocate at FSU, call 850-644-7161, 850-644-2277, or 850-645-0086 during regular business hours. If you need to speak with an advocate after hours, call 850-644-1234 and ask to speak with a Victim Advocate. To learn more about FSU's Victim Advocate program, visit their website at

When deciding whether to report a sexual assault, it's helpful to know where your confidential resources are on campus. The following departments at FSU are confidential: University Counseling Center, Victim Advocate Program, University Health Services, and Employee Assistance Program.

Ways to end a culture of violence:

The responses below were given by FSU students when asked "How will you end a culture of violence?"

  • Be there. Believe my friends. Be sensitive and sympathetic.
  • Ask. Respect. Don't expect. Communicate with my partners to establish consent.
  • Be proactive. Be accountable for my behaviors and look out for my friends.
  • Speak up. Set the standard and lead by examples through my words and actions.
  • Educate. Tell my friends how to create a culture of care at FSU.
  • Get involved. Share my passion and knowledge on social media. #kNOwMORE


The kNOw MORE initiative is about action, education, and the continuum of care for our students, faculty, and staff at Florida State University. kNOw MORE provides institution-wide programs and services to ensure all members of our community have a voice and access to resources; while promoting a collective understanding that we are responsible for preventing power-based personal violence. For more information, visit our website at:

Bystander Intervention and Green Dot

Green Dot is a campus wide prevention strategy for reducing sexual violence, relationship violence, and stalking within our campus community. Green Dot is a bystander intervention initiative that recognizes that most people care about the high prevalence of power based personal violence but may not have the tools to know how to be part of the solution. Green Dot seeks to change the culture by activating all members of our community, thus making power based personal violence prevention a responsibility of everyone. For more information on how to be involved, visit or contact Jose Carval at

Alcohol is the most widely used drug on college campuses. Unfortunately, some students drink more heavily in their college years than at any other point in their lives. Irresponsible consumption of alcohol often results in vandalism, conflict with roommates and friends, failed grades and University conduct action. Please think before you drink.

Located in the Student Code of Conduct the following policies govern alcohol use on and off campus:

  • S.C.C.e(8)e Possession or consumption of alcohol when under the age of 21 as specified by the State of Florida.
  • S.C.C.e(8)f Providing alcoholic beverages to an individual who is under the age of 21 as specified by the State of Florida.
  • S.C.C.e(8)g Driving while under the influence of alcohol or any illegal substances.
  • S.C.C.e(8)h Intoxicated behavior.
  • S.C.C.e(8)j Any other violation of the FSU Alcohol Policy, Rule 6C2-6.012, F.A.C.

By signing your housing contract you have agreed to abide by these policies found in the Guide to Residence Living, the Community Expectations:

Alcohol and Illegal Drugs

  1. No person under the legal age in the state of Florida may consume alcoholic beverages in the residence halls. S.C.C.e(8)e
  2. Possession of alcoholic beverages is not permitted by students under the legal age in the state of Florida. S.C.C.e(8)e
  3. Students who display intoxicated behaviors (including, but not limited to, glazed eyes, slurred speech, etc.) or students who require staff assistance due to their consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs shall be subject to disciplinary action. S.C.C.e(8)h
  4. Residents over the legal age in the state of Florida are not permitted to have open containers of alcohol in a common area (including, but not limited to, hallways, lounges, kitchens, bathrooms, elevators).
  5. Decorative container collections e.g. bottles, cans, bottle caps are not permitted.
  6. Devices that promote irresponsible drinking (including, but not limited to, kegs, beer balls, funnels, bongs, beer pong table, etc.) are not permitted in the residence halls.
  7. If none of the residents assigned to a particular living space are over the legal age in the State of Florida, alcohol is not permitted in that living space, regardless of the age of the person(s) that claim responsibility for said alcohol.
  8. Possession or use of illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia is prohibited in the residence halls. S.C.C.e(8)a,b,d
  9. Possession or use of prescription medication for which you do not have hold a valid prescription in your name is not permitted in the residence hall.
  10. Empty containers previously containing alcohol are prohibited in student rooms where no student is over the legal drinking age in the State of Florida. This includes, but is not limited to, empty alcohol cans or bottles.

Drinking and Driving is a Lose-Lose Situation in Tallahassee

The Florida State Police Department works in conjunction with Tallahassee Police Department and the Leon County Sheriff’s Department on educating students on the dangers of drinking and driving. They routinely run the DUI checkpoints on campus and in the Tallahassee community. During the checkpoints officers ask the driver for his or her license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance. If it is determined that the driver is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs he or she will be asked to perform sobriety tests. If a student fails the state sobriety tests, he or she is then arrested and is subject to criminal prosecution. The student will also face University disciplinary action. Therefore, the student will be subject to both the criminal and University conduct processes.

Had too much to drink?

If your friend or roommate has had too much to drink, it is important to assess the situation and get help in an expeditious manner. Get a staff member or call FSUPD right away. Do not just tell them to sleep it off, especially if they are vomiting and/or are dehydrated. Get help because it can mean the difference in saving someone’s life. So what if they are upset at you tomorrow? At least they will be ok!

Medical Amnesty

Florida State University (FSU) supports a safe and inclusive environment that enhances academic pursuits and student success. Institutional core values of the Seminole Creed and Responsible Freedom guide our conduct and inform policy and decisions. A Medical Amnesty Policy benefits our campus by encouraging students to make responsible decisions in seeking medical attention in serious or life-threatening situations that result from alcohol and/or other drug use or abuse and in any situation where medical treatment is reasonably believed to be appropriate. This policy seeks to diminish fear of disciplinary and conduct sanctions in such situations and to encourage individuals and organizations to seek needed medical attention for students in distress from alcohol and drug use.

Under this policy, a student who seeks emergency assistance on behalf of him- or herself, another student, or a friend experiencing an alcohol and/or other drug related emergency will not be subject to disciplinary action under the FSU Student Code of Conduct. Although students who qualify for Medical Amnesty are exempt from the Student Conduct process, they are required to complete educational measures and pay for any incurring costs as described in the Medical Amnesty and Policy Procedures Section.

Tallahassee is subject to strong to severe weather, especially during the summer and fall semesters. You should listen for anything indicating LEON COUNTY, as that is our county. In the event of severe weather (hurricane, severe thunderstorm, tornado, or flash flood warning), an FSU ALERT will be issued. University Housing will follow all instructions from the FSU ALERT. We recommend all students sign-up to receive FSU ALERTS to their phone. See for more information on how to register your phone, download the SeminoleSAFE mobile app, and other helpful information to stay safe on campus.


Hurricane season begins June 1 and ends November 30 in Florida, peaking from mid-August to late-October. It is important that all residents and their guests stay informed about changing weather conditions.

In the event of a hurricane or tropical storm threat to FSU, the university will provide specific recommendations for how students should prepare. The FSU campus is one of the safest places in Tallahassee to be during a hurricane, and Tallahassee is an evacuation location for the state. In most cases, it is not necessary to evacuate residence halls for a storm. You may hear the term “shelter in place,” which indicate that the halls will not close; instead, the halls will remain open with limited operations until the threat has cleared. Our live-in staff may be asked to stay during the storm, to assist with hall operations, but some of our staff will be preparing for the storm themselves and thus unavailable for immediate issues. University Housing is not a shelter open to off-campus students or the general Tallahassee public.

Students should make the decision to stay or leave the Tallahassee/FSU area themselves. If you choose to stay, here are some things you can do to prepare yourself:

  • Hurricane Watch (issued 48 hours in advance of anticipated tropical-storm force winds): indicates that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible within the specified area. Residents should begin preliminary preparations to protect personal safety, well-being and property.
  • Hurricane Warning (issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds): indicates that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are expected somewhere within the specified area. Residents should notify the Resident Assistant (RA) about their evacuation location if leaving the facility.

Students should make the decision to stay or leave the Tallahassee/FSU area themselves. If you choose to stay, here are some things you can do to prepare yourself:

  • Get prescription medications filled to last at least a week or two. Make a plan for how to keep refrigerated medication cool in the event of a sustained power-outage.
  • If possible, gather enough cash from the ATM to last you a week or two, as ATMs will be inoperable if power is lost.
  • Hit the store and purchase anything that you deem as a ‘must have,’ such as a special snack. Extra water, hand sanitizers, flashlights, and batteries for yourself are a good idea. This is extremely important if you have any dietary restrictions, as certain foods may not be readily available after the storm. As a reminder, candles are prohibited in the halls, so a flashlight or battery-powered lantern is recommended.
  • Keep your cell phone well charged and consider having back-up charge source available in the event power is lost.
  • If you have a vehicle, fill it with gas. Vehicles are heavier when they are full of gas and gas pumps do not work when the power is out.
  • Move items away from windows, including yourself.
  • High wind, lots of rain, and a potential for airborne debris are dangerous, so stay inside during the bad parts of the storm. This is for your own safety and the safety of others.


Tornadoes season has two seasons for increased likelihood of tornados: Summer Season is from June 1 and until September 30 and Spring Season is from February 1 until May 31 in Florida. Spring season tornadoes are frequently more powerful. It is important that all residents and their guests stay informed about changing weather conditions. These storms develop suddenly, often with little advanced notice.

In the event of a tornado threat to FSU, the university will provide specific recommendations for how students should prepare.

Verbiage of which to be aware:

  • Tornado Watch: indicates conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes in the area. Residents should begin preliminary preparations to protect personal safety, well-being and property.
  • Tornado Warning: indicates a strong rotation in a thunderstorm is indicated and/or a tornado is sighted. Residents should seek shelter immediately and move to a windowless area of their room/hall, if possible.

Severe Thunderstorm or Lightning

Seek shelter in a substantial building such as a residence hall, and do not be tempted to watch lightning from open windows or doors. When thunderstorms are approaching, avoid outdoor activities or selfies. When lightning is occurring, the most dangerous place to be is an open area, such as a sports field or under a tree. Outdoor water activities such as swimming, boating and fishing are very dangerous during lightning.

Your National Weather Service promotes the 30-30 Rule in seeking safe shelter. The 30-30 Rule states: When you see lightning, count the time until you hear thunder. If this time is 30 seconds or less, go immediately to a safer place. As the storm passes, wait 30 minutes or more after hearing the last clap of thunder before leaving your shelter. For more information visit:

Seek shelter in the nearest building away from doors and windows until the storm has passed. These storms can bring strong winds, hail, severe lightning, and flash flooding. Do not attempt to walk or drive through any floodwaters, no matter how deep or fast you think it is.

Flooding/Flash Flooding

Flooding is when an area, normally a dry area, is inundated or engulfed by water within 3-6 hours; Flash Flooding is a sudden violent flood that can develop over minutes or hours, typically due to heavy rainfall. Flash flooding happens everywhere in the country, so ensure you take precautions no matter where you are.

Verbiage of which to be aware:

  • Flood Advisory: indicates a specific weather event that is forecast to become a nuisance. Residents should be aware for further information.
  • Flood Watch: favorable for a specific weather event to occur and cause some flooding. Residents should be prepared for the possibility for a flood.
  • Flood Warning: indicates an event is happening to cause a flood or a flood is actively occurring.
  • Flash Flood Warning: indicates a sudden flood is imminent or occurring. Residents should seek shelter or move to higher ground immediately, if possible, for either a Flood or Flash Flood Warning.

Preparation and Awareness

Students should prepare for severe weather year-round, and particularly during weather event seasons particular to their living area. Ensuring you are prepared in the event of a weather emergency is the best way to prevent a personal emergency.

Before, during and after a hurricane, tropical storm, or other weather conditions, emergency information can be found through the following resources:

For more information on how to prepare for a storm, please visit


It is the responsibility for all residents to help maintain a safe living environment. Below is information residents can use to help prevent a fire from occurring within their room and hall.

Residents can help reduce fire in a few simple ways. We’ve broken down some recommendations and policy reminders by room to help educate residents on what they can do in every room.


  • Don't bring prohibited items.
    • Candles, incense, fireworks of any kind, halogen lamps
    • Motorized vehicles, including but not limited to: motorcycles, mopeds, hover boards, self--balancing scooter boards, two-¬‐wheeled scooters, Segways, and carts
    • Storage or use of any dangerous chemicals including solvents or flammable liquids
  • Tampering with fire safety equipment, such as extinguishers, hoses, alarm pull stations, or smoke detectors is strictly prohibited.
    • If your smoke detector beeps, due to low battery, report the issue to the front desk for further assistance.
  • Smoking or vaping is prohibited on campus.
  • Power strips and surge proctors should be used to plug items directly into the wall socket. Students shall refrain from plugging power strips and surge protectors into other power strips or surge protector.
  • Hang items in the closet, not on sprinkler heads or pipes.
  • Ensure irons are cool after use before storing them away.


  • Turn off any heated element used for hairstyling immediately upon finishing.
  • Store any heated element items away from easily flammable items (don’t set your curling iron on your towel).

Kitchens/Common Kitchens

  • Using any appliance with an open-element, such as a hot pot, rice cooker, George Foreman Grill, or Toaster/Toaster Oven is permitted only in the kitchen. Once the device is cooled, it can be stored in the student’s personal room.
    • Not sure if it is an open element? Ask a staff member.
  • Appliances over 700 watts are not allowed for student use.
  • Store items in cupboards or in your personal room, not in or on the stove.
  • Cooking is a common cause of fires and alarms. Below are some tips and tricks to ensure a smooth cooking experience for all involved.
    • Be sure to put water in mac and cheese.
    • Stay with all food, especially your popcorn, as it heats up and until it finishes.
    • Keep your pots/pans in good repair to prevent food from burning.
    • Ensure the cooking device, such as microwave and stove, is clean and in proper condition.
    • Clear things that may catch fire, like towels or potholders, from the area before use.
    • If you are cooking, and a fire starts, slide a lid over the pan/pot and leave it in place until the pan is completely cool. Never put water on a grease fire.

General Living Space

  • Ensure doorways are unobstructed.
  • Take out all trash regularly. Know where dispose of trash and recycling materials properly, and prevent this from piling-up around your space.
  • Avoid overloading outlets. Unplugging items not in use also saves electricity- a great bonus!
  • If you think you can safely extinguish a fire with a fire extinguisher in a known location, use it.


In the event of fire or fire evacuation, be sure to evacuate the building and locate building staff once outside. Each hall has their own evacuation plan. Please see your hall staff for further hall specifics.

Ensure you have a personal fire evacuation plan, including knowing the location of your closest fire exit. Think about how you would get to the evacuation point given where you live, your abilities, and/or your needs. The American Red Cross recommends having multiple exit strategies, depending on the location of a fire. Elevators go directly to the first floor in the event of a fire, so if you or a guest need help to go downstairs, for whatever reason, be sure you contact FSUPD (850.644.1234) for emergency assistance. Also, if you have a guest (or approved animal), be sure to think about and plan for their needs, as well.

If you are unsure of how to evacuate in the event of fire, or want to talk out a plan, connect to your building Head Staff, FSUPD, or the Office of Accessibility Services (OAS) for assistance in talking you through your needs.

For further information on fire safety and evacuation planning, below are a few resources for your convenience.

FSU Police Department 850-644-1234
University Housing 850-644-2860
Dean of Students 850-644-2428
Victim Advocate: daytime 850-644-7161
Victim Advocate: nights/weekends 850-644-1234  
University Counseling Center 850-644-8255
Environmental Health & Safety 850-644-6895
Emergency Management 850-644-9111
University Health Services 850-644-6230

For additional information regarding campus safety, including the University’s most up-to-date Clery Act statistics, please visit the FSU Police Department’s site at or

Return to
top of page

Division of Student Affairs at Florida State University


University Housing Department
Division of Student Affairs
109 Askew Student Life Building
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306

Phone: 850–644–2860
Fax: 850–644–7997

University Housing: