Crime

August 28, 2014

Phone app allows instant alert to safety officials at UNC-CH

A free phone app lets students and others at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill automatically alert safety officials or other people if they do not arrive somewhere on time.

Officials at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill want people on campus to download a free mobile phone app that lets a user set an emergency timer to call 911 or friends if the user does not check in to show he or she arrived safely.

The app, available for iPhone and Android devices, is called Rave Guardian.

With the timer feature, a user who is going someplace and wants others to know they arrived can set the app to call 911 or designated other people if the user doesn’t turn off the timer when arriving.

The app also lets users load information about their residences, any medical problems they might have and other personal data into a profile that is sent to emergency responders right away if the 911 system they reach is, like UNC, equipped with what is called Smart 911 technology.

According to the Smart 911 website, UNC is the only local emergency system equipped with Smart 911, though the company says thousands of system nationally have joined, including Washington, D.C.

Department of Public Safety Director Jeff McCracken and Winston Crisp, vice chancellor for student affairs, urged students and other community members to download the app.

“With the start of a new academic year, we want to reinforce the importance of safety and well-being for everyone in the Carolina community,” the two said in a statement.

Randy Young, spokesman for McCracken’s department, said the phone app is an expansion of a computer-based Rave Guardian system for which the university has contracted for several years.

The app is available to anyone and lets users choose after it is installed whether they are affiliated with a school. It can be told to call a campus security agency or conventional 911 center.

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