March 7, 2018

Carbon Monoxide Safety
According to data published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning was the second most common non-medicinal poisonings death between 1999-2012. Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized. A 2012 report (PDF) by the National Fire Protection Association indicates 81,100 non-fire CO incidents were reported to U.S. fire departments in 2010, and more than 90% occurred in homes or apartments. CO incidents affect campus communities with reports of illness and deaths happening both on and off campus.
CO awareness during flu season is particularly important as the symptoms of CO poisoning can mimic flu symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the "...most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion." CO is an odorless, colorless gas that requires specific equipment to detect it. CO is found in fumes produced by burning fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces. When appliances and vents work properly, and there is enough fresh air in the living space to allow complete combustion, the trace amounts of CO produced are typically not dangerous. Normally, CO is safely vented outside the living space. Problems may arise when something goes wrong. Residents may have appliances malfunction, vents clog, or debris blocking a chimney or flue. Additionally, heating elements and charcoal grills can produce unsafe levels of CO if they are unvented or not properly vented.
Although the popularity of CO alarms has been growing in recent years, it cannot be assumed that everyone is familiar with the hazards of CO poisoning. According to the  National Conference of State Legislators, very few states require carbon monoxide detectors be installed in schools, and the regulations vary by state for rental properties.
There are a multitude of resources available to address the dangers of CO poisoning:
  • The CDC offers a wide variety of resources to aid in educating your campus about CO safety including clinical education, FAQs, podcasts, and public service announcements.
  • The Electrical Safety Foundation International has helpful tips on CO alarms, installation, and maintenance including:
    • If your CO alarm sounds, immediately move to fresh air outside. Alert others in the home to the danger and make sure everyone gets to fresh air safely.
    • Never ignore a sounding CO alarm.
    • Test CO alarms at least once a month by pressing the TEST button.
    • CO alarm batteries should be replaced in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions, at least once a year. If an alarm "chirps" or "beeps" to indicate low batteries, they should be replaced immediately.
  • The National Fire Protection Association offers general information on CO and has a toolkit that is available in multiple languages to assist in keeping your community safe with carbon monoxide alarms; sharing resources for families; how to talk about CO safety; public service announcements; and sample social media, blog, and local media templates. They also produce a tip sheet (PDF) that you are welcome to customize and share with your campus community.

National Street Harassment Report
Download the SSH report.
Street Harassment
Stop Street Harassment (SSH), a nonprofit organization dedicated to documenting and ending gender-based street harassment worldwide, provides this working definition of street harassment:
Gender-based street harassment is unwanted comments, gestures, and actions forced on a stranger in a public place without their consent and is directed at them because of their actual or perceived sex, gender, gender expression, or sexual orientation.
Street harassment includes unwanted whistling, leering, sexist, homophobic or transphobic slurs, persistent requests for someone's name, number or destination after they've said no, sexual names, comments and demands, following, flashing, public masturbation, groping, sexual assault, and rape.
Since 2008, SSH has collected thousands of street harassment stories, and in 2014 they commissioned a 2,000-person nationally representative survey, Unsafe and Harassed in Public Spaces: A National Street Harassment Report (PDF). The results from this survey confirmed what the stories suggest: across all ages, races, income levels, sexual orientations, and geographic locations, most women (65%) in the U.S. experience at least one type of street harassment in their lifetime. Among all women, 23% had been sexually touched, 20% had been followed, and 9% had been forced to do something sexual. Among men, 25% had been street harassed (a higher percentage of LGBT-identified men than heterosexual men reported this) and their most common form of harassment was homophobic or transphobic slurs (9%). The report includes suggestions for how educators and community leaders can work with and involve K-12 youth and college and university students (pp. 32-34).
Results from a sample survey conducted in 2016 by student community educators from the Sexual Harassment & Rape Prevention Program at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) are similar to the national statistics with 80% of women and 23% of men stating they experienced street harassment. Twenty percent (20%) of students who took the survey said they experienced sexual touching or grabbing, and 4% experienced some form of assault. The Wildcats STOP Street Harassment campaign aims to point out the seriousness of the issue of street harassment. The campaign web page includes information on why street harassment isn't a 'joking' matter, things students can do to deal with harassers, and links to UNH and other external resources. You may email Connie DiSanto, UNH marketing communications specialist and the staff member who launched the campaign, with questions or to find out more.
Because street harassment is often dismissed as harmless, it is important to acknowledge it for what it is: a human rights violation and a form of gender violence. Street harassment also often connects with sexual and domestic violence, racism, homophobia, sexism, ableism, transphobia, reproductive injustice, Islamophobia, and other forms of oppressions. "When street harassment is common, all women will be on edge, worried, and wondering if they'll be next. The mental energy spent on vigilantly looking out for possible harassment and steeling oneself to ignore it takes away from our creativity and drive," says Kimberly Fairchild, an associate professor of psychology at Manhattan College who studies street harassment. In the article " The 'bystander effect' keeps catcalling alive. Let's train ourselves to take action" Fairchild goes on to suggest, "Active bystanders can be wonderful allies to help make the streets more welcoming."
The following resources and data can aid your campus community in efforts to educate, prevent, and respond to street harassment:
No individual action is too small to take in the effort to make a difference. Educators, government leaders, law enforcement, transit agencies, and businesses must also work together to create safe public spaces for everyone.

Professional Development Opportunities

Title: Low-Frequency Sounders and NFPA 72
Organization: APPA Standards and Codes Council and the Center for Campus Fire Safety
Date: March 14, 2018 at 1:00PM ET
Location: Online
Fee: Free for Members
Title: Hollaback!
Organization: Bystander Intervention Digital Training
Dates and Locations:
  • March 30, 2018 Online
  • April 25, 2018 Online
Fee: Registration fee
Title: International Conference on Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, and Gender Bias
Organization: End Violence Against Women International
Dates: April 3-5, 2018
Location: Chicago, IL
Fee: Registration fee

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This project was supported by Grant No. 2013-MU-BX-K011 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the US Department of Justice.
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