February 12, 2018 8:31 pm
Updated: February 12, 2018 9:44 pm

NAIT launches emergency alert app with virtual safe walk feature

WATCH ABOVE: An Edmonton post-secondary campus is boosting its safety and security services with the launch of the NAIT Alert app. Emily Mertz explains.

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An Edmonton post-secondary campus is boosting its safety and security services with the launch of the NAIT Alert app.

The mobile application will be used for emergency notifications across multiple platforms. NAIT Alert will send push notifications, voicemail, as well as messages via email, Twitter and Facebook.

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“We’ve experienced disruptions due to fire in the past,” NAIT’s director of protective services, John Haney, said. “Certainly, an active aggressor on campus would be another use, but any significant or catastrophic event that might interfere with operations at NAIT, it would be a prime opportunity to reach the NAIT community at a very deep level very quickly.”

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In order for an emergency alert to be sent out, the situation must warrant it. A protocol will be used so that it’s only used when certain criteria are met.

“If we believe that there’s an immediate concern to individuals’ safety, then we will use NAIT Alert.

“We want to be careful that we don’t use it too often because that can cause issues and people may tend to avoid the device when it really is needed.”

The alert will explain what the emergency situation is and the steps people should — and should not — take in response.

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NAIT Alert also includes a number of other safety features.

“The work alone feature allows us to keep track of staff when they come in on off-hours,” Haney said.

“We also have mobile blue light feature. That feature kind of replaces the blue light phones that you see around campuses… It allows for instant communication with our dispatch.”

The virtual safe walk feature allows users to share their location and route with either security staff or a friend or family member.

“It allows users to input their destination, where they start their travels from and where they wish to end and allows our dispatch to monitor their travels,” Haney said. “They can check in once they’re finished their trip and we know they’re safely arrived. Alternatively, if for some reason they’re interrupted along their journey, they can have instant contact with our dispatch services so we can dispatch our personnel and provide them with assistance.”

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NAIT Alert launched on Jan. 8 and, as of Feb. 8, had been downloaded more than 2,200 times.

It’s available for free via Google Play or the Apple App Store.

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