Lehigh is now offering the free-to-download app “EmergenSee” as an additional tool to enhance campus safety.
EmergenSee, which is available for both iPhone and Android, allows students, faculty and staff to easily connect to dispatchers at the Lehigh University Police Department in the event of a dangerous situation, with just the tap of a button.
“By downloading this app, you will essentially have a ‘blue light’ in your pocket at any given time,” said Lehigh University Assistant Chief of Police Stuart Bedics. “It’s a great way to activate emergency services without having to dial a phone.”
One of the main features of the app is that it serves as a “virtual escort.” For example, if a student is walking home alone at night, he can set a timer for how long he thinks it will take to arrive home. If the timer expires before he reaches his destination, the app will automatically alert the LUPD. “This allows us to ensure students make it safely from point A to point B,” said LUPD Chief of Police Ed Shupp.
“I am very excited to hear about EmergenSee coming to Lehigh,” said Samantha Russell, ’16. “I definitely plan to use the app if I am ever in a dangerous situation. It can really get scary walking alone at night; I already carry pepper spray!”
Additionally, if a student suspects something suspicious, he can use EmergenSee to discretely stream high-quality video and audio directly to responders at the LUPD, as well as share his exact location.
According to the EmergenSee brochure, the app enables campus police to have “complete situational awareness, and respond quickly and effectively to situations.”
Currently, Lehigh uses LU-ALERT to notify students of dangerous situations. LU-ALERT is an emergency message notification system that enables Lehigh administrators to send a short mobile text alert to all students, faculty and staff who have subscribed to the services, according to Lehigh’s website.
“EmergenSee is not taking the place of LU-ALERT,” said Shupp, “it simply provides an extra layer of security.”
EmergenSee can be activated anywhere within Lehigh’s “GeoFence.” This includes all the areas the LUPD currently patrols: the Asa Packer Campus, Mountaintop Campus, Goodman Campus and a 3-block radius off campus, where many upperclassmen live.
During Orientation, Shupp spoke to first-year students about the app and encouraged them to sign up for the service.
“So far, less than 1,000 students have downloaded it. In order for this to work, we need students to sign up,” Shupp said. “Our primary goal is to ensure campus safety. EmergenSee is an affordable tool to help us reach that goal.”
EmergenSee can only be activated if a student physically opens the app. “There are no privacy infringements here; it’s only going to be used if students hit the start button,” Bedics said.
EmergenSee should greatly improve campus safety at Lehigh. “We can’t always guarantee a safe environment, but this is a tool to help us make it better,” Shupp said.
For more information and to download the app, visit www.lehigh.edu/emergensee.