Public Safety Launches Crisis App

Photo courtesy of "In Case of Crisis"

A new safety feature has been introduced on campus in the form of a smartphone app. Ramapo has created a profile on “In Case of Crisis,” an app that allows colleges, businesses and other organizations to create personalized safety apps, complete with plans and contacts for different emergency situations.

“During an emergency, internet access may not be available,” said Donna Mainardi Singer, the director of business continuity and emergency planning, in an email.  “We thought it was best to have protocol and information available and easily accessible on a mobile phone. There are contact numbers and additional information links for more information.”

“In Case of Crisis” has three different subsections for its app: education, corporate and government; each offers features compatible to the specified setting. The app is a hub for personalized emergency plans, maps, medical routs and other features that relate to safety. “In Case of Crisis” is already being used in many places of higher education, explained Singer.

“Many colleges and universities were already using it, and it looked like a good option for us in getting emergency protocols out to our students, faculty and staff,” she said.

According to the app’s website, “In Case of Crisis” is a “mobile solution [that] helps organizations create a safer workplace for employees, students and visitors … We’ve developed a mobile app with a unique combination of features to promote safety procedures that benefit the institution and most importantly your people.”

The manager of the app profile, in this case Ramapo College, can pick and choose safety features to add to their “Emergency Resource Guide” appropriate to their community. Ramapo’s guide lists plans for the following situations: medical, weapon on campus, criminal/hostile activity, evacuation and campus map, individuals with disabilities, suspicious package, chem/bio/haz materials, fire/explosion, weather, utility outage, faculty guidance, study abroad tips, psychological emergency, alcohol and drug abuse and sexual violence. There is also a feature that allows students to sign up for “Alert Me Now” notifications.

With each section, along with the emergency plan, there is a list of contact numbers, ranked in order of who to call. The app also has a flashlight button that will activate the flash on a phone’s camera.

According to Singer, the content for the app was discussed and reviewed before being finalized.

“Our Emergency Preparedness Committee discussed the process. I met with various people who had content they wanted to include in the app content. We reviewed the information and then put together the app," Singer said. 

Freshman Javon Creque expressed the concern that accessing the app would be more time consuming than just calling public safety directly, in an emergency situation.

“I wouldn’t get the app because it seems like too much work,” Creque said. “I would just call the number, which is easier. I wouldn’t think of using an app," Creque said. 

However, other students, like freshman Sarah Brutosky, feel the app is a good precautionary tool to have. That being said, Brutosky feels the app is more geared towards those who live on campus.

“I’m a commuter so it’s not like I’m here all the time, so I wouldn’t really need to know everything about public safety, but I definitely would get the app,” she said. “It definitely seems like something you should have.”