WT launches new safety app

By Chip Chandler

A free new app will offer West Texas A&M University students, faculty and staff an additional layer of security while on any WT campus.

Safe Zone — an app made available through partnership with Critical Arc and implemented by James Webb, vice president for information technology and chief information officer, and the WT IT office, will enhance community safety and assist University Police officers in responding to any call for service.

“Safe Zone allows anyone to have a panic button in their pocket anywhere on campus,” said UPD Assistant Chief Robert Byrd.

After downloading the free app at safezoneapp.com, WT community members will sign up as part of the WT campus, either in Canyon or at the Harrington Academic Hall WTAMU Amarillo Center.

If the user makes a call or sends an alarm through Safe Zone, it will be received by the University’s security and safety team, which will know the caller’s location and act on their request.

Safe Zone offers non-emergency assistance, first-aid calls for medical assistance and emergency calls if the user feels threatened or needs urgent help. Users may opt to check in at their location if they are working alone on campus and want an added level of personal safety.

The app is designed to be able to get a signal to dispatchers even when calling or texting isn’t available on a phone.

Privacy options in Safe Zone ensure that users’ identities are not revealed unless they call for help.

WT also will use Safe Zone as an additional vehicle for mass notifications, in addition to the existing Buff Alert system.

“Using Safe Zone will cut down on our officers’ response time because of the app’s location services,” Byrd said. “Critical Arc says that their clients see an average of a 50 percent reduction in response time.”

WT was named the safest campus in Texas and in the Top 10 safest campuses in the nation in a 2020 report.