Off-Campus Housing

  Safety and Security

 Some basic information about safety and security. Click the grey boxes below to expand and view the information. 

Residential Dwelling Safety

Contact: Pullman Building Inspector at 509-338-3287 for building code violations or Pullman Fire Department at 509-338-3274 for fire code violations.

This is a general safety checklist for houses or apartments. The list is not all inclusive but is based on a current edition of the Washington State Building Code. The building code requires a building to comply with the codes in effect at the time it was built. The actual rules for the building you live in may be different than this list; that is if your building was built in the 1960s the building should comply with the codes in effect at that time which may not be the same as the codes for building today. If you believe there is an unsafe condition in your house or apartment contact the building owner, their agent, the city building inspector, or the city fire inspector.

One bedroom(s), living room and dining room in an apartment should have openings to the outside to provide fresh air. This could be a door, window or a mechanical ventilation system.

  • All electrical boxes should have a cover over the wires.
  • When you use an electrical outlet or switch it should not spark or shock you.
  • The pipes used to vent the products of combustion (smoke) from the furnace or water heater should have tight joints.
  • Fuel burning furnaces or water heaters need oxygen for combustion to take place. An excellent source of oxygen is the air in a building. The room housing these appliances should be large enough to supply the needed air, have openings into a large room, have openings to the outside of the building, or have air piped directly into the appliance.
  • Fuel burning furnaces or water heaters should not be located in bedrooms or bathrooms.
  • Fuel burning furnaces or water heaters should not be accessed from bedrooms or bathrooms.
  • Furnaces, wall heaters, room heaters, woodstoves, gas stoves, and water heaters are required to have a clear space from walls or ceilings. The required clear space is often on a label on the side of the appliance. If there is not a label, you may check with the building inspector or fire inspector for the required clearance.
  • All apartments are required to have a door opening into a hallway or the outside. Generally a dwelling or apartment is only required to have one exit.
  • The support walls and posts should be plumb and straight.
  • The beams supporting the floors or roofs should be level and straight.
  • Bedrooms should have a window for occupants to escape or be rescued if the need arises.
  • Bedrooms, living rooms and dining rooms should have windows to provide natural light.
  • Each house or apartment should have a kitchen with a sink and cooking appliance.
  • Each house or apartment should have a separate bathroom containing a toilet, lavatory, tub or shower.
  • The sink, lavatory, and tub or shower should have hot water.
  • The roof and walls should not leak water.
  • A door should separate the kitchen from the toilet room.
  • An address number or letter should be on each unit.
  • Each house or apartment should have a heating system.
  • The area outside of each bedroom should have a smoke detector.

Sexual Assault

Anyone, male or female, is a possible rape victim. In most rapes, the victim and rapist were nonstrangers (acquaintances or friends). Educate yourself in rape prevention tactics by being aware of potentially dangerous situations, learning how to avoid them, and what to do when you cannot. Mandatory programs are held within the Greek community as well as in the residence halls and during New Student Orientation sessions. Free programs are available through the WSU Counseling and Testing Services at 509-335-4511 or for after hours crisis call 509-332-1505. WSU has a Sexual assault Response Team that can assist with filing reports, receiving support, and addressing housing or academic concerns. Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse also provides services and support for rape of domestic violence victims. Their 24 hour hotline is 509-332-4357. Remember your personal safety depends on you!

Apartment and Home Security

Life in a house or apartment includes taking personal responsibility for one's safety and well being. This includes everything from understanding the appliances and heating system, and how to shut them off if they malfunction, to locking your doors and windows. You are entitled to locks that work and need to contact your landlord immediately to repair broken locks.

There are other things you can do to protect yourself, your home, and your possessions. Make sure smoke detectors are properly installed and functioning at all times. If you have sliding doors or windows you might choose to have lengths of wood made to lay in the tracks of the doors/ windows to keep them from being opened. There are other commercial devices to provide extra security or warnings if your home is being entered. Check with your landlord before doing anything that would be permanently installed in the house or apartment.

Security of the apartment building you live in is only as effective as you make it. Don't leave it all to the management and the police. By following these suggestions, you can make your building a safer place in which to live.

  • Unknown or suspicious persons seeking entrance to the building should be referred to the management.
  • Notify the management when your apartment will be vacant.
  • Make arrangements with a neighbor or the management to receive deliveries.
  • DO NOT identify yourself on the mailbox as a female living alone.
  • Ask to install a wide-angle door viewer.
  • Do not expose yourself to unnecessary risk by opening the door to strangers.
  • Secure sliding balcony doors with a charlie bar or place a length of wood in the bottom track, making sure it fits snugly.
  • When in the elevator, stand near the floor button panel. In a difficult situation, push as many buttons as possible, particularly the Emergency button.
  • Do not enter an elevator if you are suspicious of the occupant(s); wait for the next one.
  • Be alert to vehicles or persons following you into the garage or parking lot.
  • Drive out of the area if you encounter suspicious circumstances and report them immediately to the management or the police.
  • Lock your vehicle; and remove high value items.

For more information contact the WSU Police Department at 509-335-8548 or Or contact the Pullman Police Department at 509-334-0802.

Safety on Campus

Your safety and security on and off campus is a priority. Many campus systems are already in place to make WSU a safe place for ALL students:

  • University Police: Police officers patrol the campus in cars, on bicycles and on foot. Two other levels of security personnel augment these professionals: the Cougar Security Patrol and the Police Intern Program, both of which are comprised of students. For emergencies call 911, for non-emergencies call 509-335-8548.
  • Women's Transit: Provides a safe, free transportation alternative for women who would otherwise walk alone after dark. Sun.-Thurs., 6:00 p.m. to midnight; Fri.-Sat., 6:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. Regular school year only, 509-335-6830.
  • Pullman Transit: provides local transportation services in Pullman, free for WSU students carrying their ID cards. Visit http:// or call 509-335-6535 for routes and schedules.
  • Blue Light Emergency Telephones: phones are located at many locations across the campus and in remote locations. Also, all campus and pay phones can access emergency services by dialing 911 for no charge.
  • Hazing: it is a misconception to believe hazing only occurs within our social Greek fraternities and sororities. It can also be found in class honoraries, athletic and sports clubs, and many smaller clubs on campus. Hazing is not always physical, it is often verbal and equally harmful.
  • Threatening or Obscene Phone Calls: anyone receiving such a call on campus can call the University police for instructions on how to trace the call. They can be contacted at 509-335-8548. 18
  • The Student Recreation Center (SRC): self-defense classes are offered by the SRC. Classes stress awareness, personal safety, and evasion training.
  • Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse: (509-332-HELP), is a non-profit, volunteer, and professional agency that assists survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault. It Provides 24-hour crisis intervention (509-332-1505), confidential shelter, and support groups for victims and workshops on domestic violence.
  • Campus Crime Statistics: The University believes a community that is well informed about the nature of its crimes is a safety-conscious public. Not only is it your right to know campus crime statistics, it is to your advantage to act on it by developing personal routines that enhance your own safety, and becoming actively involved in the reporting of crimes and suspicious/ unusual activities. For current statistics go to the WSU Police Department Web site at: .
  • Office of Student Conduct: Handles complaints on and off-campus about WSU students that have violated others rights, welfare or individual dignity. For more information contact them at 509-335-4532 or at
  • Bias Hotline: Bias related incidents can be reported to 509-332-2427.