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Houston-Clear Lake launches emergency response safety app

The University of Houston-Clear Lake has launched a new campus safety app to its campus security platform this fall. The university’s new SafeZone app is a safety communications service, that focuses on rapid responses to assistance calls across campus facilities.

According to an official university release, the SafeZone app was launched in time for the start of this fall semester, and will help the university to deliver more rapid response to calls for assistance across all campus facilities. The app include strict privacy safeguards on an opt-in basis. Optional services include real-time location sharing that are shared only if the student elects to activate an app-based alert or chooses to use the app’s “check in” feature.

“We are always exploring ways to make UHCL even safer for our students, faculty and staff,” says Russell Miller, executive director of public safety and chief of police at UHCL. “With technology, I prefer looking into the future rather than settling for the past. SafeZone is the future of campus public safety.”

With the app, anyone in the UHCL campus community can request assistance at the push of a button on their smartphone. The app is expected to add a layer of safety in cases of an emergency, a medical issue or when alone on campus after hours.

CriticalArc — the company behind the SafeZone app — says that in an emergency, individuals can call 911, but on a college campus, it’s often challenging for responders to find an individual’s exact location.

“If students call for help with the SafeZone’s easy to use app, first responders will know who called for assistance, where they are, and the nature of aid required,” says Darren Chalmers-Stevens, Chief Operating Officer at CriticalArc.

In these often time-sensitive moments, effective incident response isn’t just about understanding exactly who needs help and where, but also knowing what resources are available and where they are relative to the incident so they can be quickly deployed for optimal outcomes. The SafeZone app hopes to better solve for some those variables by streamlining communications between first responders and those who request help.

UHCL Police hope that as SafeZone gains traction across the UHCL campus, users will find that it is a tool for positive engagement while promoting a “safety everywhere” culture.

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