Campus Safety updates emergency text app

Campus Safety app called Omnilert. (Screenshot of app)
Campus Safety app called Omnilert. (Screenshot of app)

Campus Safety has a new updated feature on its app Omnilert. The feature will allow a user to enable his or her location with the press of a button. 

Omnilert, formerly called EQCampus, has been used for emergency text service for Southern Adventist University since 2015, according to Shawn Haas, associate director of Campus Safety.  

Campus Safety has been testing the app on the Biology Trails to make sure that it works correctly. According to Haas, the Biology Trails are the best place to test because of how often people get lost or hurt themselves in that area. 

The app gives users three emergency options: call Campus Safety, call 911 or submit a silent alert. The silent alert takes the user’s GPS location and sends it to Campus Safety. 

Haas said the app allows a Campus Safety officer to respond to the number that sent the call or alert.

Even with this new feature, Haas said it is best to call 911 if in danger. He said the app timestamps the person’s location when he or she presses the button. After pressing the button, if you’re in danger, it is good to leave the dangerous situation as Campus Safety responds. 

According to Haas, one of the obstacles Campus Safety is facing with the app is getting people to download it. He said some people are hesitant to use location services due to privacy reasons.

Another feature that will be added is the ability to send videos or pictures. 

“There is a certain hesitancy to adding that feature because you see on the news that people record crimes in progress for giving it to the police later, but they don’t actually call the police,” Haas said. “You wouldn’t want to submit a video of someone being assaulted; you want to call 911. … 911 is your best option, always.” 

Haas said there will be a convocation to go into more detail about Omnilert’s new updates. The date is still to be determined.

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