WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Nowadays, there seems to be an app for just about everything. Now, you can add your personal safety to the list.
Several tech companies have designed applications for your smart phone or tablet that they claim will help keep you safe during an emergency situation.
KSN decided to put those apps to the test, with some help from Jennifer Miller and her daughter Gabby.
Mom and daughter have lots of apps on their phones, but, with Gabby traveling to Paris, and because of the recent terror attacks there, Jennifer was looking for something to put her mind at ease and keep her daughter safe.
“I feel safe about the group she is going with, but, to have the peace of mind to be able to if something does go wrong while she’s there, whether she’s in the vicinity or not. To be able to see where she is, she’s safe, she can let me know what she’s okay, seems to be better than calling or texting her,” said Miller.
There are many personal safety applications available for both IOS and Android platforms. They’ve become popular on college campuses, even with those traveling overseas for business. KSN decided to explore a few of the more popular ones that are available.
SafeTrek – Hold Until Safe
The SafeTrek safety app is easy to use. Just click on it on your phone. A screen pops up and says hold until your safe. You’re supposed to hold the big blue button with your finger on it, until you get to the place you want to arrive at. Once you are safe, you’re supposed to let go of the button. Then, it asks for your pin. Once you enter your correct pin, it shuts it off. If you didn’t then it would alert authorities.
SafeTrek literally tracks you 24/7. The company has more than 70 trained responders that jump into action once an alert is triggered.
The app says it can determine your location in 5 seconds, compared to an average 911 call which can take several minutes.
SafeTrek says it will automatically send police to an emergency location.
Gabby Miller is a big fan of this app for her phone.
“I think having the phone thing where you do hold down your finger is like really helpful. Because, some people do live in an area or even when you go to college there are some times at night where you don’t feel safe at all, like there’s a bunch of strangers,” said Miller.
bSafe – Personal Safety App
The bSafe application is another popular one for Android and iPhone. When you click on it, it will bring up a map. You can actually see a small icon of yourself, so friends can track your every move to make sure you get to your location safely. If you run into a dangerous situation, it also has a feature where you can hit a button and an alarm will go off in 3 seconds.
The bSafe app has an SOS alarm, which you pick who you want to get an alert. Push the button and these people will be alerted.
The app shares your location, to let friends and loved ones know, where you are, and to let them know you are safe on a map.
The app allows your bSafe friends to actually walk with you wherever you are, so, you are never alone.
Jennifer Miller thinks this type of tracking app is perfect to keep watch over her daughter.
“I don’t have a worry that she’s never where she says she’s going to be, that’s not my concern. My concern is getting from point A to point B and what happens in between there, anything can happen,” said Miller.
Another safety app that’s only available for iPhone right now is Bugle. It’s really like a virtual sticky note, that you leave for somebody when you’re going to be gone, that says where you are and when you were expected to be there. You create an activity, for instance say you’re going hiking, on a bike ride or going on a date. Then, you check in when you get back. It’s critical because, if you don’t check in when you get back, an alert will be sent out to let people know something is wrong and they will know exactly where to look for you.
The Bugle app is a free notification service. The app will notify people when you don’t check in at your destination, at the time you said. But, the app does not use GPS or maps.
The Tap Shield application is a lot like the bSafe one. It also uses maps. It can calculate how long it will take for you to get from point A to point B. If you don’t arrive in the amount of time you set for your trip, an alarm will go off. You will be asked to enter a code, if you fail to do so, 911 will be called. By checking in and saying you are safe will deactivate the alarm mechanism.
TapShield – Personal Safety, GPS Tracking & Crime Reports
Tap Shield sends your GPS location, profile details, and calls authorities in one tap, in an emergency. Your entourage can walk with you to make sure you get to your destination safe. You can get alerts about crime in your area and submit crime tips to police.
A law enforcement perspective
While these apps claim to be able to protect you from danger, I wanted to know what law enforcement think about them. I asked Lieutenant Lin Dehning with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, if these apps are good to have, or should you just call 911 in an emergency.
“If you have something on your phone that you think can help you that’s great. But, also don’t forget about 911. Don’t forget about all of your personal safety things you’ve been taught over the years,” said Dehning.
The Millers have some time to get all their safety apps configured before Gabby heads overseas for that school trip. She feels confident with these high-tech tools, they will keep her out of danger.
“Especially, with everything going down around Paris and France, it’s kind of nice to know my parents have an idea of where I am so I don’t feel scared,” said Miller.
The SafeTrek app is $2.99 a month after a free 30 day trial period.
Bugle, bSafe, and Tap Shield are free for users.
KSN also interviewed the creators of Bugle and SafeTrek to find out even more details about their apps.