On Monday, Oct. 27, 2014, Fordham’s Department of Public Safety introduced a new safety app, called “The Fordham Safety Application,” via email to students and faculty. According to the email, the app was a collaborative effort between the Department of Public Safety, Fordham Information Technology (IT) and an outside vendor. John Carroll, associate vice president of public safety, said that the project “was planned for about three or four months.”
Perhaps the most critical piece of information was Fordham’s disclaimer that “the app is only to be used in emergency situations in which you cannot safely dial Fordham Public Safety or 911.” Carroll clarified that the app was designed to be used “only as a backup system” and should not be a student or staff’s primary method of communicating an emergency. The app should only be used if the student or staff cannot safely call 911 or Public Safety.
The app is currently available for download on iPhone and Android devices. After downloading the app, the user must enter in their Fordham Access IT username and password, their gender, and his/her cell phone number in order for the app to work. Next, the user will be directed to the app’s main screen where they will have the options to send a “free-form text message,” a “pre-defined message” or the option to select an “urgent assistance icon.” All three options are placed in a linear fashion side by side on the app for ease of access. Below, there is also an option to directly call Public Safety.
If a student or staff chooses one of these options, the message will be sent to Fordham’s Public Safety Office in Rose Hill. After the message is received, Public Safety will dispatch help based on the student’s location. If the sender is near campus, the nearby campus will send a supervisor for assistance. If the sender is not near campus, Public Safety will attempt to contact the student and proceed to dial 911.
Should there be updates made to the app in the future, Carroll says that “all students and staff will receive these upgrades.” The app available to download now is the most current version to date and is free of charge.
The Department of Public Safety does not have a number on how many students have downloaded the app so far. But Carroll hopes that all students and faculty will take advantage of this extra resource. Carroll asked, “why not take every resource you can?”
Carroll said that the app was made as a means to “best serve students and staff…in an emergency, every second counts.” Perhaps in an emergency situation, every app counts as well.