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Uni app

The University of Zurich has taken up the app SafeZone whereby students and staff can now seek assistance with the press of a button, wherever they are across the Swiss university’s estate, so they can summon support 24/7 via a help point in their pocket.

Available as an app on all common smartphones, students and staff pre-register with some basic details and sign up to groups based on their faculty and use of facilities. The creation of groups means that users are provided with the right information relevant to their location and situation such as being directly connected to first aid and security services, being directed during evacuation procedures and being connected to the Swiss emergency services if appropriate.

In the event of an incident, SafeZone provides the uni’s Safety and Environment Department with a mass notification capability, allowing university coordinators to send alerts to staff and students. Tailored instructions can be sent to response teams or messages targeted to specific groups such as building wardens and first aiders or those at a particular location.

SafeZone provides a distributed command and control platform in the event of a major security or environmental threat. The cloud-based SafeZone system shares situational awareness across the whole response team in the field, giving responders access to live operational intelligence and complete incident visibility as an event unfolds, enabling more agile decision-making and ensuring the best possible outcome.

Annette Hofmann, Head of Safety and Environment, University of Zurich, said: “SafeZone provides us with an innovative capability to defend against threats by ensuring our organisation is equipped to deal with a wide range of incidents. Effective mass or group and location-targeted communication enables us to alert staff and students to events and incidents no matter where they are in the city. SafeZone is enabling us to accurately and quickly disseminate information to enhance safety as well as avoid confusion, unnecessary evacuations or students missing classes, which results in optimal business continuity.”

Glenn Farrant, CEO of the app developers CriticalArc, added: “The University of Zurich’s decision to implement SafeZone is helping ensure a safer learning environment for students and staff. Fast and simple to implement, SafeZone alleviates the need for adding additional physical security measures such as help points and manned guarding. At the same time as driving significant efficiencies and cost savings, we are helping universities safeguard reputations, offer competitive advantage, and ensure preparedness against environmental and physical threats.” Go to


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