Red Deer College’s new safety app can push out an emergency notification in one to 2.5 seconds.
A few weeks ago, the college launched Safe RDC, a free app to help students, staff and visitors stay informed, easily contact security, as well as access support services information.
“It’s the most reliable way of sending out a mass notification to a large population. All of our subscribers will get that emergency notification with step-by-step procedures on what to do for that particular emergency,” said Dan Sarrasin, the college’s manager of security and emergency response.
“Text messaging has been successful, but there’s a higher likelihood we’ll reach out to more people over an app than text messaging.”
He said so far, about 400 people have downloaded the app that complements the current emergency broadcast system. That means triple the number of people now have the app, compared to RDC’s text messaging system.
Right now, the texting system and app are both in place.
On Friday, a notification was pushed on the app about slippery and icy conditions.
“We are the athletes village for the Canada Games. We wanted to make sure the athletes would be safe while they’re here,” said Sarrasin.
He said when there is an emergency, announcements are made inside and outside campus buildings through the speaker system, as well as the office phone system. Now the app pushes out a message at the same time.
The app also makes security more accessible to the college community.
“You can report hazards. You can report injuries. You can report your lost and founds. You can report a crime tip on it. You can request a campus safe walk.”
Between Feb. 15, 2018, and Feb. 15, 2019, crimes reported to campus security included: 25 thefts, three calls for mischief, five break and enters, two assaults, one call about possession of a controlled substance prior to new cannabis legislation, and two reports of violence either verbally or towards the environment. No reports of sexual assault were made.
“I can tell you right now, Red Deer College, as part of the Red Deer community, we might make up .1 per cent of aggressive acts that happen in the city of Red Deer.”
Sarrasin said there has also been a drop in property crime in the last few years.
The app can be downloaded on an Apple device by typing SAFE RDC in the Apple App Store. For all other devices, type in SAFERDC. The app can also be downloaded by scanning the QR codes available on campus.