University of the Ozarks has announced the launch of a new smartphone app to enhance safety and security on campus.
The app, called Ozarks Alert, was activated on Dec. 1 and is capable of connecting the user to emergency services on campus and giving the dispatcher a GPS location of the caller and other information first responders might need during emergencies. The university’s current emergency alert system, EagleAlert, will continue to be active through Dec. 31, 2015.
The new alert system app includes a mobile panic button, an Indoor Positioning System (IPS), ireports, and a Friend Watch element. Ozarks Alert is free for both iOS and Android phones, U of O Director of Public Safety Cyrus Smith said.
“We encourage all students, faculty and staff to download the app and to fully utilize it,” Smith said. “This new mass notification system allows app users access to emergency, safety, and weather alerts, through multiple platforms, all at the touch of a button. We are able to send alerts by email, text, voice call, Facebook, Twitter, Desktop Panic Buttons, websites, and push notifications. Ozarks Alert will increase our ability to serve and protect our community while giving the users the freedom to communicate among one another through programs such as Friend Watch.”
To set up a profile on Ozarks Alert, users are required to include their name, campus affiliation, local and permanent addresses and a person identification number (PIN) number for the app. Users can also add optional information such as a photo, allergy and medical information, and physician and emergency contact information.
The app is available for download on the itunes App Store and the Google Play App Store.
Smith said Ozarks Alert uses a geofence system to identify all U of O properties as well as the surrounding area to assist in response times for emergency services.
The app also has a feature called the Safety Beacon, which allows the user to log where he is going and how long he expects it will take to get there. When the time is up, the app will ask the user to input a PIN. If that PIN is not entered, the app will send a text to the user’s emergency contacts asking them to contact the user. The emergency contact can then alert police if the app’s user does not respond. The function is handy for people walking home from class late at night, work or other outings.
Users also have the ability to send the public safety office information about thefts, drug use, vandalism or a suspicious person as well as photos or videos of any incident, Smith said.
The app also contains a list of several scenarios, like an active shooter on campus or a power outage, with advice on what users should do in those situations.
University officials worked with 911Cellular LLC, to set up the Ozarks Alert system.
For more information about Ozarks Alert, or to register, please visit http://www.ozarks.edu/eplan.