(Courtesy of Rave Mobile Safety) The app is listed in app stores as Rave Guardian and can be downloaded on both Apple and Android devices
Ashley Rose Rivera
With safety on campus a prevalent topic on student’s minds, the office of Life Safety and Emergency Preparedness is working diligently to make sure students take all precautions necessary. Through the Office of Life Safety and Emergency Preparedness, there is an app made to help with these precautions. The RAVE guardian app is an app that offers UMass Lowell students access to information regarding emergencies on campus and offers students the opportunity to create personalized profiles for direct connectivity to the Campus police and the Lowell police task force.
Inspired by the idea of buddy systems and fueled by the desire to make sure students are staying safe, the app uses different features to assist students.
The app uses a specialized feature called a “safety timer”. The safety timer, which serves as a timer that will send an alert to a designated contact unless otherwise shut off in a given time frame, serves as a way for students to eliminate the middleman in dangerous situations. If a student does not have the time to explain a situation to a trusted confidant beforehand or suddenly finds themselves in an unexpected sticky spot, the guardian app allows a student to inform someone in a timely manner.
With direct connectivity to the Lowell Police Department, the guardian app is not the only tool available to students that puts an emphasis on their overall safety while keeping them informed.
Richard Wood, the director of life safety and emergency preparedness at UMass Lowell says although Guardian is an effective system, it is not the only one the school has in play.
“It’s like a one shop safety app,” said Wood of the Guardian app. “If you go to the web page UML alerts, that’s where you’re going to find this information too… [at] UMLALERTS is a Twitter handle and I’d love to see more people take that Twitter handle… [at] UMLEMERGPREP is our informational one.”
Encouraging students to follow UMass Lowell’s various Twitter handles to keep updated on situations occurring in and around campus, Wood mentioned the school’s commitment to communication and the importance of staying updated on safety matters.
“We are pretty connected to the city, our emergency management team,” he said. “We have that kind of relationship with Lowell… it is important to communicate.”
The guardian app is meant to provide a tool for students to communicate with health and safety at UMass Lowell, but the dangers are not always in person.
With the reality of internet scams, staying conscious of dangers in the real world and how they are just as prevalent online is something students should be cognizant of. Wood advocates for always checking the email addresses of people/companies emailing students, and how students should be conscious of fishing tactics used by scammers.
“Everything that shows up in your email box shouldn’t be clicked on,” Wood said.
Regarding the messages from the university, all links sent from the university will end with with a [dot] edu address. Checking the email addresses emails are sent from is another tool that can help students stay safe online as well.
With geolocating technology and emergency messaging systems making use of the push notification features, the benefits of using safety apps as a precaution to unwanted situations for students are huge.
The office of life safety and emergency preparedness is always looking for students doing projects on safety and possible work study/internship recipients whose work with the office would primarily focus on safety at UMass Lowell but also in general. Student feedback, suggestions and participation are welcomed.