Published October 8, 2018
Smartphones provide a link connecting millions of us pretty much all the time. But in an emergency, mobile phones can also offer an extra line of defense. Now UB is launching UB Guardian, a free mobile application that turns a smartphone into a personal safety device.
UB Guardian is a service supported by Rave Mobile Safety, a leading provider of software safety solutions. The free app, “Rave Guardian,” can be downloaded and installed to an iPhone or Android device by following instructions found online.
By downloading UB Guardian on their smartphones, UB students, faculty and staff can invite friends and family to participate and sign on as guardians.
Once you have established who will be your guardians — cellular service is required to receive a guardian request and track your progress — you can share your intended destination and expected arrival time with a guardian and communicate with them within the app.
With the tap of a finger, the UB Guardian emergency call button directly connects you with University Police, providing your profile information and approximate GPS location if you choose to share it.
“As part of an ongoing effort to continuously improve emergency notifications on campus, and after listening to UB students express their concerns about personal safety, President Satish Tripathi directed us to implement a smartphone safety app to provide our campus community with an additional safety tool,” says Jay Roorbach, UB’s senior emergency planning coordinator.
Users may also provide information such as pre-existing medical conditions, emergency contacts or existing court orders of protection simply by adding it to their profile, making it visible to dispatchers whenever the app is used to contact UPD.
“This application provides some additional service options to our campus community, but as with any new technology, it is important to be mindful of its limitations and how best to utilize its features when compared to other available alternatives,” says Chris Bartolomei, interim chief of police.
“A direct phone call is almost always better than a text message,” Bartolomei says, “because it allows our dispatchers to ask critical questions and quickly gather specific information they need to properly respond to the incident.”
GPS locations provided by the app are useful, Bartolomei says, but they are approximate.
“They may tell us which building you are in, but not which floor you are on,” he explains.
“If you believe you are in a real emergency on UB’s North, South or Downtown Campus, your first line of defense should always be to contact University Police with the tap of a finger on the UB Guardian app or by manually dialing 716-645-2222.” says Joshua B. Sticht, deputy chief, University Police.
“Using UB Guardian, you can also call or text tips about suspicious activity to University Police, including your location and photos if you choose” Sticht adds. “The app offers users the advantages of additional control over their safety and improving communications across the UB community.”
UB Guardian is a companion app to the UB Alert emergency notification system. UB Guardian can receive UB Alert push notifications about weather and emergency situations, but will not automatically deliver UB Alerts via text message. All faculty, staff and students who have not already done so are encouraged to also register for UB Alert text and email messages.
Only currently registered UB students and current employees with an “@buffalo.edu’” email address can use UB Guardian. Subscribers to the app must use an “@buffalo.edu” email to log in.
The basic profile features of UB Guardian work on any iPhone or Android smartphone running on any U.S.-based mobile carrier network, including AT&T, Sprint and Verizon.
Additional information about UB Guardian and answers to frequently asked questions can be found on UB’s emergency website.