Jan. 22, 2018

Emergency app rolls out new functionality to keep UCalgary safer

UC Emergency Mobile is now equipped with two new modules for employees and students
SoloSafe and HelpLine — two new modules on UC Emergency Mobile — were rolled out to all app users on Jan. 8. Photo by Riley Brandt, University of Calgary
SoloSafe and HelpLine — two new modules on UC Emergency Mobile — were rolled out to all app users. Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

With two new features in place, the UC Emergency Mobile offers more than a direct line of communication from the university to the campus community — now, the community can use the application to communicate with Campus Security.

SoloSafe and HelpLine were rolled out to all app users on Jan. 8. Bob Maber, director of emergency management, says the new modules make downloading the app even more worthwhile.

“The app was already a critical tool for staying informed and safe on campus. The new functions provide a different level of personal safety by allowing users to be in contact with Campus Security,” Maber says.

You’re never alone with SoloSafe 

Working or studying alone after hours can be unnerving. Now, you can check in with SoloSafe, so Campus Security knows where you are and when you plan to leave. If you haven’t checked out by your planned departure time, a Campus Security member will confirm your safety by phone or — failing that — in person.

“It’s good to have someone who knows exactly where you are when you’re on campus alone,” Maber says. “The system now allows for a trained individual to provide assistance if required.”

You can activate a SoloSafe session from a smartphone or a desktop computer. When used from a smartphone, SoloSafe requires you to enable location services so Campus Security knows where you are. Legislation requires UCalgary to have systems in place for those who work alone — both SoloSafe and the Working Alone system previously in place meet these requirements.  

University of Calgary Emergency Mobile

University of Calgary

One HelpLine calls them all

With the touch of a button, you can connect to Campus Security or 911. If you contact 911 through the app, Campus Security is automatically notified of your call and — if you’ve enabled location services — your location, which is critical information when you’re calling from a 380-acre campus.

“911 dispatch protocol is to alert Campus Security when there’s a 911 call from campus,” Maber says. “Since they’re already on site, Campus Security usually reaches the incident location before municipal first responders arrive. Utilizing the app for contact can help ensure the quickest and most accurate response, even if you aren’t certain of your location.”

TipLine is another function of the HelpLine module and provides a fast and easy way to report safety or security concerns.

“We want our community to feel comfortable reporting incidents,” Maber says. “The TipLine is an alternative method to communicate with Campus Security. The more options people have, the more likely they are to report — and that’s good for the safety of our students, faculty and staff.”

Classic functionality still crucial piece of emergency communications

The new utility doesn’t change the primary benefit of installing the UC Emergency Mobile on your mobile device: it is the first line of communication that Campus Security will use in the event of a serious event affecting the university community. The app delivers alerts and updates that could save lives and prevent injury, so ensure push notifications are enabled.