SHU Rolls Out New Safety Feature

News Story: September 11, 2014

Sacred Heart University has released a new phone application—SHU Safe—that enhances the security of its community members both on and off campus. This application is available for both iPhone and Android users and offers quicker access to emergency services as well as other safety features.

The primary function of SHU Safe is to serve as an emergency communication tool between the University community and campus security. SHU Safe offers three major features: Emergency call, iReports and safety check.

The emergency call feature allows users to access emergency services at the push of a button. The user can choose police, fire or EMS and will be immediately connected with Campus Security if on campus. If the user is not on campus the call will be routed to the 911 center of the town where he or she is located.

Campus Security will be able to see the location of the caller anywhere on SHU property—whether it is a parking lot, Oakview, Cambridge, etc. As long as the phone is connected to the SHU Wi-Fi system, the location will show up, and help will be sent. This only exception is the Stamford Graduate Center, but if the app is used there, it will connect to the Stamford Police Department.

Sacred Heart University is one of the first universities in the nation to launch a system so advanced that it can pinpoint where an individual is inside a building. Unlike tradtional GPS locations that can only identify a building, SHU Campus Security can identify exact locations within buildings through the app, which can drastically reduce response times.

The iReports feature allows users to report suspicious activity or call for help in nonemergency situations. Users can report everything from a suspicious person to vandalism or theft. The feature can also be used to call for help with a flat tire, locked door or other nonemergency. The iReports feature may be used anonymously.

The safety check feature allows for a check-in with someone in the user’s contact list. For example, if a student is going to be walking home from class late at night or going for a jog after dark, he or she can let a contact know the expected arrival time. If the feature is not deactivated by the appointed time, the contact will receive a text.

“We have been working on this project for approximately six months with our vendor, 911 Cellular,” said Paul Healy, executive director of Public Safety at SHU. “We believe it is an excellent enhancement to the strong safety measures that are already in place.”