Students, faculty and staff at George Mason University have access to an array of safety features through the RAVE Guardian smartphone app, including emergency alerts, emergency and nonemergency contact information for police, sending anonymous tips and more.
The app, which first became available in fall 2017, has been reissued following several technical updates, and Dave Farris, executive director of safety and emergency management within Mason’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety, is encouraging everyone on campus to get connected.
“Many people don’t think they will face a crisis,” Farris said. “However, we want people to have the resources to create a safe community and to use this app not only to look out for themselves, but for those around them in the event of an emergency or dangerous situation.”
The app also offers a personal tracking option and access to emergency procedures and key documents in a custom content portal.
The RAVE Guardian app, produced by Rave Mobile Safety specifically for use on college campuses, can be downloaded for free through the Apple App Store or Google Play. You must have Mason login credentials to use the app.
Through the app, tips can be sent anonymously to Mason Police. Users can also open a chat with Mason Police communications officers.
For Meredith Muckerman, communications and technology manager for Mason’s Office of Safety, Emergency and Enterprise Risk Management, the app’s most important features are the safety timer and “guardians,” a virtual escort service available to all RAVE Guardian users.
The safety timer allows users to set a time limit for their trips on a smartphone. If the user does not acknowledge the alarm in the allotted time or when they reach their destination, the user’s guardian—who can be the Mason Police or user-selected family or friends—will be notified that the user might be in danger. If the user acknowledges the timer, the guardians are informed that the user safely arrived at their destination.
Additionally, Muckerman said, “the app tracks your location while the safety timer is on so you can be located in case of an emergency.”
Farris said that the location services feature is especially helpful.
“Some universities use traditional blue light phones, which are excellent in some environments unless you can’t reach one in an emergency,” he said of the call boxes that connect a user to a campus police dispatcher. “The RAVE Guardian [app] essentially has embraced the blue light phone capabilities that are available to you whenever you might need it. Furthermore, the app can track your location, if your location services are enabled, and a Mason Police communications officer will know exactly where your emergency occurs when a panic call is activated by the user.”
That is important in the heat of the moment, said Mason Police captain Emily Ross.
“It can be very intimidating to call for emergency help the first time you have to do it and are not sure how to answer questions,” she said.
“This application can serve as the critical link between a person experiencing an emergency and help from first responders,” Farris said. “It is also one more way for students, faculty and staff to play an active role in helping us create a safe environment.”
For more information on George Mason University’s emergency management and public safety programs, please visit ready.gmu.edu. This site also provides instructions on how to download the RAVE Guardian app.