KPU Launches Free Safety App
Featured / September 22, 2017
Joseph Keller, Staff Writer
Kwantlen Polytechnic University has released a free app designed to keep students safe on campus. The app, titled KPU Safe, is available on the Android market and iOS App Store.
“We want to give the students and staff of KPU as many tools as we can to keep them safe, and this is just one of those tools,” says KPU Chief Safety Officer Phil Goulet.
The app offers a range of features, such as a shortcut button for quickly dialing 911 on the first screen and notifications for closures and ongoing safety concerns on campus. Additionally, users can share their location with friends and contact KPU security to be escorted across campus. Emergency and evacuation instructions, campus maps, and contact info for security and first aid services are also available on KPU Safe.
Goulet highly recommends that users enable push notification and says that response time for security escorts will vary depending on the amount of requests made at a given time.
The development of the app was contracted out to AppArmor, a Canadian developer that specializes in customized safety apps for universities. AppArmor has developed similar apps for universities around the world, including BCIT, UCLA, and the University of Melbourne. KPU Security worked with AppArmor to create a unique user experience with features that they believe will be useful on KPU campuses.
KPU Security would like as many members of the KPU community as possible to install the app. To get the word out, ads promoting it are running on screens around campus and representatives have been explaining it to new students at orientation. Information about KPU Safe is also available on the KPU website.
“Our expectation is that we want to have every staff member have [the app] and the vast majority of the students,” says Goulet. “I’ve seen that other universities get a lower number [of downloads] than I would have expected, but we’re optimistic at KPU. We’ve got a pretty engaged university.”
Goulet says that the app has been well received by those students and staff who have provided feedback, and that having evacuation procedures and other safety information easily accessible without an internet connection has been found particularly handy.
He recounts, “So far, the main feedback that I’ve received is, ‘It’s about time.’”
Some users who have tried KPU Safe have experienced stability issues, with the app occasionally crashing. Goulet asks that any users who encounter this issue or others report it using the app’s feedback feature.