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Safety Tips

School Safety

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Seldom do we hear stories where crime and school violence are stopped before anyone gets hurt. One such incident took place earlier this year on May 16th at Dixon High School in Lee County. The heroic efforts of Dixon School Resource Officer, Mark Dallas, stopped tragedy from taking place. Soon after 8:00 a.m., a former student opened fire near the school auditorium. Officer Dallas rushed to the area, which led to a foot chase. Officer Dallas and the suspect exchanged gunfire, and ultimately, Dallas shot and disabled the gunman. There is no doubt that Officer Dallas put his life on the line and saved the lives of children and faculty at the school. This heroic feat is yet another example of bravery and how our men and women in uniform protect lives every day. Our children represent our society’s most important assets and the future of our communities. Far too often we hear terrifying news concerning the loss of life or injury to children and school staffers in the wake of school violence. For this reason, school safety is among the highest priorities in Illinois and throughout the country. Here are some other ways we can potentially avoid and resolve school tragedies:
  • Recognize that all communities have different needs in securing their schools.
  • Implement national school safety guidelines that establish standards and best practices among schools.
  • Share information with all stakeholders related to threats and crimes committed on school property.
  • Increase the number of highly trained School Resource Officers with a commitment to law enforcement and security.
  • Utilize available technologies, including enhanced direct notification systems to E911 emergency service access points and using these technologies to enable law enforcement to improve response time and protect students during an active shooter event.
  • Require emergency systems to use video, computer software, voice and data communications to alert first responders and other vested stakeholders
Schools are a vital part of our community infrastructure and should be protected at least as well as government buildings. Enhancing the physical security of our schools and improving incident response are vital, because each classroom is to be considered protected space for our children.

Look Before You Lock

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that heatstroke is one of the leading causes of non-crash-related fatalities among children. Heatstroke begins when the core body temperature reaches about 104 degrees and the thermoregulatory system is overwhelmed. A core body temperature of about 107 degrees is lethal. Even great parents and caregivers can forget a child in the back seat. In any case, it is important to understand children are more vulnerable to heatstroke than adults. It is never okay to leave a child alone in or around a car for any reason. NHTSA Recommendations:
  1. Make it a habit of looking in the back seat before you lock the car
  2. Keep your car locked and your keys out of reach, because nearly 3 in 10 heatstroke deaths happen when an unattended child gains access to a vehicle
  3. Take-action if you notice a child alone in a car! Protecting children is everyone’s business
  4. Heatstroke can happen at any time of year and in any weather condition. Outside temperature in the mid-60s can cause the inside temperature of a car to rise above 110 degrees Fahrenheit through the “Greenhouse Effect.” The interior temperature can rise almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit within the first 10 minutes.
Your Illinois Sheriffs’ Association encourages you to adopt NHTSA’s “Look Before You Lock” suggestions to help prevent accidental heatstroke.

Holiday Safety Tips

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While out and about

  • Do not drink and drive!
  • Make sure purses and wallets are secure on your person.
  • Limit the number of credit cards and cash carried with you.
  • Do not leave valuable items visible – store them in the trunk.
  • Park in areas where there is adequate lighting.
  • Remain aware of your surroundings and refrain from shopping alone.
  • Have keys ready before getting to your car.
  • Report suspicious people or activity to law enforcement immediately!

Preparing home before vacation travel

  • Make sure all doors and windows are locked, even if you have an alarm system.
  • Activate alarm system and motion detectors when you leave home.
  • Make arrangements to hold mail and newspaper delivery.
  • Ask a trusted friend or neighbor to tend to your home during your absence.

The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association wishes you a Safe and Happy Holidays!

Travel Safety Tips

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  • Do not advertise your absence.
  • Do your homework and have well-defined plans and use reliable travel resources.
  • Share your daily travel plans and emergency contact information with select people.
  • Contact home on a regularly scheduled basis.
  • Restrict cash and valuables in your possession and keep them properly concealed.
  • Carry no more than two credit cards.
  • Properly list and label any medications and make certain they are secure and accessible.
  • Be mindful of crime areas like restrooms, baggage claim, check-in, shuttles, curbside, etc.
  • Wait until your return before sharing travel experiences through social media.
  • If possible, stay with your travel partner or group during daily activities.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings and avoid unlit or desolate areas.
  • Limit the amount of personal information shared with strangers.

                                                In case of Emergency: Dial 911

Is Your Home Safe

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We know that keeping your family and property safe are among your biggest priorities. The annual rate for burglary in Illinois is about 50,000 cases per year with another near 200,000 relating to theft in general.

Here are some practical ways to securing your home and family against break-ins and other property crime.

  • Make sure all doors and windows are locked
  • Keep the inside and outside of your home well-lit with motion sensor lights and/or lights running off timers when you are not at home
  • Use an active, working alarm while you are away or at sleep
  • Use signs outside the house that let burglars know the home is protected by an alarm system
  • Keep your valuables out of sight
  • Make sure all drapes and blinds closed, especially when away at work or on vacation
  • Keep ladders and other tools that can be used by burglars stored away
  • Let your trusted neighbors know when you will be away on vacation so they can keep an eye on your home and property

We urge you to take note of these helpful tips. And remember, if you see any suspicious activity either at your home or someone else’s, do not hesitate to call 911.