The University Emergency Centre is open 24/7 and can be reached by dailing 09 264 71 25 (or just 88 in case of emergency - using a phone on UGent premises) or e-mailing to permanentie@UGent.be. This Centre responds to technical incidents (power failure, damage to infrastructure, leakage, stuck lift etc.) and safety and security incidents (fire, accident, aggression, theft, excessive noise etc.). They are the guys to call in case of an university-related emergency.
The national emergency telephone number is 112. You should only call this number if you require urgent assistance (unnecessarily calling the emergency services may result in a heavy fine). Explain the problem briefly to the operator, who will put you through to the police, fire brigade or ambulance service. Help will arrive within minutes.
Other useful emergency numbers
Tip: although people involved in accidents usually have a mobile phone with them, emergency personnel do not know who to call from their contacts list. Indicate the person you want contacted by the code 'ICE' ('in case of emergency'). This is an international convention, immediately recognisable by emergency workers.
Health and safety @ Ghent University
The staff of the Health & Safety support services provide a central resource for health and safety to complement and support the work of safety officers in the University’s academic departments. Together they ensure that the University is a safe and healthy place to work, study or visit.
Keep safe in the city of Ghent
Yes, it’s safe to drink water from the tap. Regular health inspections also ensure that food and drinks sold in the shops and in public eating-places are safe. Public toilets are generally clean. In other words, community health standards should not be a cause of worry.
Ghent is no more dangerous than any other large city in Western Europe. However, it is very important that you look after your own personal safety, particularly when you are unfamiliar with your surroundings. Most criminal acts that can happen to international guests are avoidable and therefore every precaution should be taken to prevent unnecessarily hazardous situations.
Here is some advice you can follow to keep safe:
- Do not give pickpockets a chance: be sure not to flash your money to anyone on the street and do not keep your passport, purse and mobile phone in your pocket or in an open bag
- Do not leave your bike or car unlocked (tips on securing your bicycle)
- If you are travelling late at night, go in a group
- Do not visit cash-points alone at night
- Remember to lock all your windows and doors of your accommodation - even if you are only going to be away for a few minutes
- Do not display items which would be attractive to thieves
- Do not use your mobile phone or music player when walking alone in the street at night
- Beware of carbon monoxide leakage (aka the silent killer) from old boilers
- Keep your room locked
Remember that handy checklists are made available via the target group pages which might function as guidelines in preparing for your stay at UGent, arriving in and leaving Ghent.
The police department is in charge of maintaining law and order.
For example, you can expect a visit from a police officer if your party is making too much noise and the neighbours get annoyed and complain. Police are also on the lookout for people riding their bicycle without any lights, or cyclists who ignore the traffic regulations.
Everyone is encouraged to report incidents to the police (e.g. if your bicycle is stolen, if you are involved in a traffic accident, etc.). Police officers are there for your security whenever you need them. They are usually not armed and are not connected with the military forces. All police officers are approachable and they will be happy to assist you with any problem you encounter.
The Ghent Police Officers or 'Flikken' are kind of famous in the Low Countries and are featured in their own fictional series on national television.