App Helps Connect Students To 911 -- Before Attack Occurs - NBC4: Columbus, Ohio News, Weather, and Sports (WCMH-TV)

App Helps Connect Students To 911 -- Before Attack Occurs

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The idea of walking alone at night on a college campus can be scary for some students, and worrisome for their parents.

The undergraduate student government at The Ohio State University has been looking into new ways to improve safety.

Student government says that for the most part, the university does a good job of keeping campus safe.

But they received concerns from students who said that more could be done.

"There hasn't really been an increase in problems as far as attacking or muggings and different robberies and what have you. Just trying to provide an alternative solution to better what we have as far as safety goes here," said Matt Deptola, OSU director of student life.

Now, the university is looking at a college version of Lifeline Response. It provides personal protection in the palm of your hand.

One option they are considering is a new app called Lifeline Response, and it works by keeping your thumb on your cell phone.

To activate the app, users just keep a thumb pressed to the cell phone. If the user is attacked and removes their thumb, a countdown begins. If the user doesn't enter the disarm code, an alarm goes off on the phone.

The idea is to scare away the attacker. If the disarm code is not entered in 20 seconds, a call center notifies 911, and police are sent to the location, using the GPS from the phone.

Founder and CEO of Lifeline Response Peter Cahill said the idea of the application is prevention.

"You might get a scraped knee, a scraped elbow, but we're trying to prevent that attack or that rape or that assault from ever taking place," said Cahill.

Another unique feature is that if the alarm sounds, the phone sends a message to family members, letting them know that something has happened.

"We are going to instantly connect mom to the 911 closest to where [a user] was attacked. It's never been done before," Cahill said.

The student government is hoping to roll out a pilot program mid-March, and give the app to 500 students to try.

The cost is $21.99 a year, but the company is giving a discounted rate to universities.

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