SafeZone is a free app based system for students and staff that enhances their personal safety. SafeZone extends the reach of campus safety and security, to cater for the real time needs of the people who use campus every day. It provides a quick and easy way for users to alert security services, when help or assistance is needed.
What is it for?
SafeZone is a free app that allows you to send a location-based alert from your smartphone or tablet to Security Services whenever you need an immediate emergency response, first-aid or any other general Security assistance.
The SafeZone app makes it easy for students and staff to get help with the single tap of a button. Within seconds the Security Services, will receive the alert and initiate a response.
How it works
SafeZone has 3 main buttons that can be used to request assistance from Security Services.
If you or someone near you requires medical assistance. Tap the First Aid button to send your alert to Security Services. If pressed in error, the alert can be cancelled by tapping the button again, whilst the timer is winding down. Once the alert is sent your location will be displayed on a map for the Security responders.
You will then get the option to call Security. If you do not do this, then a Security responder will call you, so that they can determine how best to respond to your location and situation. The responder will talk to you about what is happening. You should try to explain what help you need, and if practical confirm your location. A responder will then come to your location to provide first-aid. You may still need to identify yourself to responders when they arrive. If required they will call an ambulance, you should not do this yourself.
When you have a general security related enquiry or need non-emergency assistance. Tapping this button will connect you to Security Services via a phone call where you will be able to speak directly with a Security officer. If pressed in error, the call can be cancelled by tapping the button again, whilst the timer is winding down.
If you or someone near you requires an immediate emergency response because you feel your personal safety is threatened. Tap the Emergency button to send your alert to Security Services. If pressed in error, the alert can be cancel by tapping the button again, whilst the timer is winding down. Once the alert is sent your location will be displayed on a map for the Security responders.
You will then get the option to call Security Services. If you do not do this, then a Security responder will call you so that they can determine how best to respond to your location and situation. The responder will talk to you about what is happening. You should try to explain what help you need, and if practical confirm your location. A responder will then come to your location and assess the situation. You may still need to identify yourself to responders when they arrive.
Download the SafeZone app
Notifications from Security
Lone workers - Check in
Manual check in
If you are working alone or outside normal hours, or are entering a high-risk work environment, SafeZone allows you to check-in to share your location with members of the Security team. The Icon will change to a 'checked' icon, and you will receive a confirmation message that you have been 'Checked-In'.
If you do this, your location and ID will be displayed on a map to Security Services for the duration of your Check-In session.
SafeZone will automatically finish your session as you leave the Region boundary, or you can Check-Out again at any time by tapping the button again.
Check in timer
You can also set a check-in timer, which checks you in (the same as Manual Check-In) and starts a countdown timer to cover the duration of your work session. The Timer will count down to zero, starting from your nominated time. At any time, you can tap the Timer to cancel or re-set the time, and you can also Check Out.
You will receive a Warning push message at '5 minutes to go', when you can re-set the time, cancel the Timer or Check Out.
If the Timer expires, SafeZone will raise an Alert, showing your location and ID on a map to Security Services, who will then attend your location to ensure that you are ok.
Automatic check in
With your permission, your phone can be set to 'Check you in' whenever you move into a specially designated region on campus. Subject to you granting Auto-Check In permission, your phone will check you in or out, based on your current location. Location is updated at a low frequency to minimise battery impact. Auto Check-In does not require SafeZone to be running, your Check-In status is managed by the phone’s operating system. You can disable this feature at any time, which will stop the phone doing location checks.
- If you have activated the Automatic Check-ins option, you will receive a Push Notification each time your phone Checks you in as you enter compatible Regions.
- The check in function sends location updates about every 5 minutes, so as not to have any significant impact on your battery usage.
- A single Check In session can last for up to 12 hours.
- You must have been Signed In to SafeZone and not Signed Out (the app can be in background, or completely 'killed')
- Auto check in will keep working until you return to the settings screen and disable 'Allow Automatic Check In', which you can do at any time.
If you do not own a smartphone or tablet, SafeZone can be accessed through a desktop version (see below).
The desktop version of SafeZone is designed to be used by lone workers. The desktop version is available for download on all Heriot-Watt PC’s. The desktop application is ideal for:
- Laboratories or places of work where smart phones might be prohibited.
- Where interacting with the App on a desktop is preferable to using a mobile phone.
- Users not wishing to use their own smart phone.
- Users who do not have a smart phone.
To log in to the desktop application, you need to first enter your Heriot-Watt email address and either create a password or use the password you may have already created for use in the mobile app.
Once you have successfully logged in, you will be asked to select your default working location, by selecting the SafeZone region and then placing a marker on the map in your current location. The system will store your location for ease of use. You may need to update your location every time you login to the application, this is likely to be the case if you are using a laptop or work in various locations. Once you have selected your location, you are able to add extra important information such as current floor and office/room number of where you are working. This information can be seen by Security Services in their control room.
The screen will then change to show your selected location, plus a time selection panel. You will need to select an alarm time (how long your intended session will be) and then select the green check-in button.
Five minutes before the nominated alarm time, a visible and audible notification will appear on your desktop giving you the option to extend your check-in period. A final warning about your impending timer expiry will be given at 1 minute remaining. If you do not extend the time, or check out before the timer expires, an alert will be triggered. Security Services will then attend your location to ensure you are ok.
You can check out manually at any time by selecting the green check out button. If you are working on a shared computer, you should sign out when leaving your station, as remaining signed in personally identifies you on that computer. Your PC will not automatically update your check in location.
You can change your location at any time during your timer check in session by tapping on the map and selecting your new location.
V.ALRT Bluetooth distress button
V.ALRT is a wireless duress button that can raise a SafeZone Alert via your phone (when it’s within range of your phone – up to 25m – and SafeZone is running on the phone). The button works with both iOS and Android versions of SafeZone.
V.ALRT Duress buttons can be purchased from Criticalarc.
Download the V.ALRT User Guide on configuring and using the button with your SafeZone app from the SafeZone website.
You can Pair or Unpair your button at any time, see the User guide link above for details. In order to raise an Alert, your button must be paired with your phone, and the SafeZone App must be running on your phone (it can be running in background mode). Use the 'Alert Devices' Menu option in the SafeZone App to pair or unpair your button.
The button should ideally be located no more than 10-15m from your phone. If you are working at the distance limit, you may find that the device is pairing and unpairing repeatedly, which has a negative impact on the button’s battery life. In that case, move your phone closer to your button’s location.
Apple Watch pairs with your iPhone using Bluetooth and compatible wifi. The Watch brings several advantages over the V.ALRT button:
- SafeZone runs as an app on the Watch, which is auto-installed when you install SafeZone on your paired phone;
- You can select the type of Alert you want to raise, and carry out phone calls with Responders via the Watch;
- Your Watch can still raise an Alert up to 100m from your iPhone (with compatible wifi);
- SafeZone app does not need to be running on the iPhone for Watch to raise an Alert (you do need to be Signed In).
Download the Apple Watch User Guide on configuring and using the Apple Watch with your SafeZone app from the SafeZone website.
When you’re out late you can turn the SafeZone Torch On/Off by tapping the Torch icon. This is useful for walking to your car on campus at night, and means that the SafeZone buttons are at your fingertips if you need them.
Show my location
The SafeZone app can show you where you are on a map. Your location will be displayed as a Blue dot with a white border. You can change the way the map works, for example, the map has Controls to display different maps:
- Street Map;
- Satellite map, and
- Satellite map with street names.
- You can change the way the map moves:
- Static mode oriented North (no following);
- Follow Me mode oriented North, and
- Compass mode (map oriented to your direction of movement).
All feedback, including suggestions for enhancements, questions and support requests should be directed to Heriot-Watt Security Services.
Security Services can be contacted on +44 (0) 131 451 3500 or Security.Services@hw.ac.uk