UI introduces new safety app - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UI introduces new safety app

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University of Iowa students now have more safety, at their fingertips.

A new app launched today allows students to directly message with university dispatch in an emergency situation without a phone call.

To download the app search "Rave Guardian" in the app store, type in your university email and it takes you to Hawk Watch..

Hawk Watch allows Iowa students to anonymously send tips to university dispatch.

Currently there are Blue Cap emergency phones around campus, but officials say they want to have other ways to ensure student safety.

"We need to bridge that gap of communication we need to find a way to reach out to our students in a way that they know how to communicate and so that's what this app does for us," says Floyd Johnson, UI Emergency Management Coordinator.

Students are able to assign their guardian as university dispatch or anyone else they wish from their phone contact list.

After assigning a guardian, students can form a status for example: I'm walking from the library to my dorm.

A timer is assigned along with the status based on how long the student thinks it will take them to get from point A to point B.

If the timer runs out, the guardian is notified and the student's profile pops up which can include a map tracked through GPS showing their location.

Students can include pictures in their messages with their guardian or in a tip to university dispatch.

"I could take a photo of whatever it is, I could attach that photo and say hey this is what I'm looking at here," Johnson says as he demonstrated for us.

Students have a code to type in to shut off their timer when they make it safely.

There is also a button that directly calls University of Iowa Police or 911 in an emergency.

"You know it's really a way for us to use technology in a way that can benefit the entire community," Johnson told us.

If something happens before a timer would run out, students can let their guardian know by typing in their distress code.

Tips made to university dispatch are anonymous and profile information is private unless there is a problem in which case a timer runs out or a distress  code is entered.

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