Why should I download the Penn Guardian app?

Dear Benny,
As a staffer at Penn, I am proud of the University’s public safety initiatives. I especially like the Penn Guardian service, which allows me to quickly provide information to the Division of Public Safety during an emergency. I heard that a new Penn Guardian app launched over the summer. What are its added safety and security benefits? —Playing it Safe

Dear Playing it Safe,
I’m so glad you asked. The new app officially launched in August and is free and available to all members of the Penn community.

Interested users can search “Rave Guardian” in the App Store or Google Play. You will be prompted to enter your name, phone number, and Penn email address.

In an emergency, the new app will allow the Penn Police to determine your cell phone’s GPS location, which can decrease response time. This information will only be available to the Penn Police if you call the PennComm Operations Center directly, either through the app or at 215-573-3333.

The app will also allow users to create a Smart911 profile, in which medical conditions, medications, allergies, and disabilities can be included. This information will pop up on a dispatcher’s screen when an emergency call is made, and will be relayed to medical professionals on the scene.

Also, if a call is made to the PennComm Operations Center, and you are unable to speak—perhaps because of an allergic reaction—a dispatcher will text message your phone, and you can then communicate directly via text.

The app has other added benefits, such as a safety timer, which allows you to alert someone you trust when you are alone or in an unfamiliar place. It also provides a confidential way to submit a tip to Penn Police—with a photo, if necessary—through a text message.

For more information, visit www.publicsafety.upenn.edu/pennguardian. You can also email the Division of Public Safety at pennguardian@publicsafety.upenn.edu.

Got a question for Benny? Send it via email to current@pobox.upenn.edu or via regular mail to the Current, 3901 Walnut St., Suite 200, Philadelphia, PA 19104.