OSU receives grants for public safety app

Oregon State University has received two grants totaling almost $275,000 over five years from Campus Consortium, the largest global education association of schools, colleges and universities, to create a public safety app for students and staff.

The grants – one for $22,495 and the other for $252,465 – will allow the creation of an app that will be a one-stop shop for safety information and include a one-touch button on smart phones to connect students and staff with OSU Department of Public Safety.

The app, which will be called OSU DamSafe, will also include a “virtual companion” that will allow friends and family members of students and staff to GPS track them once they have touched the button to see if there are any delays, and to check in when they arrive at their destination. The goal is to debut the app in fall of 2018.

“While we did have some emergency management applications that our community could utilize, we had yet to institute a safety application for our students and staff,” said Suzy Tannenbaum, director of public safety at OSU. “This opportunity to apply and compete for this grant was incredibly timely and we are glad we were chosen over hundreds of applications. Having a safety app that would give a one-button push to public safety, as well as tracking abilities to assist our community in feeling safer is what this grant and app would help us provide.”

Tannenbaum added that OSU is looking at adding information currently housed in its crisis management app and consolidating information and needed safety apps into the new OSU DamSafe app.

The DamSafe app will use Wi-Fi or cellular data to provide location data when an emergency call is made with the app. This gives accurate information about where someone is, and therefore provides first responders a better idea of where they need to go.

“We are happy to award Oregon State University with the Campus Safety Grant. The app is bound to make campus life much safer, which is essential for any institution to ensure student and faculty well-being,” said Anjli Jain, chairman of the Campus Consortium. “We congratulate them on receiving the Campus Consortium Grant.”

~ Sean Nealon

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