University of York heightens staff and student safety thanks to CriticalArc’s SafeZone solution

The University of York launched CriticalArc’s SafeZone solution on Thursday 8 January to provide round-the-clock safety reassurance for students and staff alike. York is the first university in the Russell Group to roll out this simple-to-use and free application which is designed to help those on campus summon security or safety assistance via their mobile phone.

The SafeZone system allows security or First Aid personnel to pinpoint the exact location of where help is needed. It also provides students and staff with a way of swiftly summoning general assistance from the Security Services Help Desk just by tapping an on-screen button.

Alcuin Bridge at The University of York (copyright: Tim Ball)

Alcuin Bridge at The University of York (copyright: Tim Ball)

By way of the SafeZone app, nearly 20,000 students and staff will be able to access three main features: Emergency, First Aid and General Help. Emergency and First Aid options will bring security or First Aid-trained officers to the location of the call, while the General Help button connects directly to the Campus Services Help Desk.

The SafeZone system will also help the University of York’s management team send targeted notification messages to students and staff alike in the event of an incident occurring in particular areas or buildings on campus.

CriticalArc's Safe Zone app on an iPhone

CriticalArc’s Safe Zone app on an iPhone

Security staff across campus put SafeZone through exhaustive, month-long trials and, this week, The University of York will stage a series of Roadshows to explain how students and staff can sign up for the new app.

In practice, SafeZone works within designated zones covering Heslington West, Heslington East, the King’s Manor and the University Boathouse.

Swift and efficient personnel deployment

Denis Fowler, the University of York’s director of Health and Safety, explained: “Our campus is already very safe but SafeZone affords students and staff extra reassurance that assistance is no more than the touch of a button away. The system allows us to monitor the positions of security personnel and First Aiders so that we can deploy them swiftly and efficiently to provide assistance and support to individuals where necessary. Previously, in the event of an emergency on site many students automatically called 999 but SafeZone provides a more targeted method of summoning assistance across the campus.”

Heslington Hall (copyright: The University of York)

Heslington Hall (copyright: The University of York)

The University of York has worked closely with CriticalArc to introduce the system. Darren Chalmers-Stevens, EMEA director at CriticalArc, said: “SafeZone’s adoption at the University of York is testament to how this solution can revolutionise the way in which educational institutions manage their day-to-day security and safety operations while ensuring a safer learning environment.”

Chalmers-Stevens added: “SafeZone provides security teams and first responders with the right information very quickly such that they can improve their ability to react to situations both efficiently and appropriately. By providing an unobtrusive security application versus traditional physical security equipment, we’re empowering the University of York to mitigate risk and improve brand reputation through enhanced Duty of Care while gaining significant efficiencies for the management team through the improved deployment of manned response personnel.”

The Law and Management Building (copyright: BDP)

The Law and Management Building (copyright: BDP)

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