The College of Southern Maryland’s desire for enhanced safety and security at each of its campuses has been answered.
The college recently launched its CSM Safe app which puts critical, real-time information at users’ fingertips and minimizes response times during both emergency and routine security and safety situations.
“CSM students and their families can download the app for free and access everything from campus maps to our CSM headlines news feed. More importantly, users can receive and submit information in the event of an emergency at any of our campuses,” CSM Public Safety and Preparedness Department Executive Director Bill Bessette said in a Sept. 9 press release. “This app helps us all stay better connected to each other.”
The app will be used to inform students and faculty of severe weather, fire, emergency closures, power outages and technical failures, as well as active shooter threats and other acts of violence and crime.
“The tool is also a venue to allow students and staff to report anything unusual — suspicious people, activities or events,” CSM Public Safety Lt. Denise Mohun–Hintze said in an interview with the Maryland Independent, referring to the app’s “report a tip” feature which allows users to report incidents via phone call, text, video or photo, with or without revealing their identity.
Mohun–Hintze has purview over day-to-day security and preparedness operations at the college’s La Plata, Prince Frederick, Leonardtown and Hughesville campuses.
Bessette said CSM’s public safety department could not keep the campuses safe alone and that it is the responsibility of everyone who comes to CSM for work, education or to socialize to be aware of their surroundings and to report any unusual threats, sightings or events.
The “support resources” feature provides quick reference guides offering students everything from academic advising and mental health assistance to sexual assault counseling and veteran and military support services.
An “I’m OK!” button allows users to share their exact location with campus security and other CSM Safe users.
Mohun-Hintze said the impetus for the Safe app was a combination of factors including a desire to provide an additional tool to the student body could use to assist the public safety department with keeping the college safe, allow the department an additional place to house CSM’s emergency procedures and to send alerts to a specific campus instead of disseminating a college-wide mass alert for an isolated incident.
The Safe app will supplement CSM’s existing e2campus mass emergency notification system which employs text alerts, broadcasts on-campus television monitors and posts alert information to the campus web site.
The interactive app also includes campus alerts that “provide persistent in-app notifications and push notifications for location-specific emergencies to keep students and parents informed,” according to the release.
“For students who travel to all of our locations, with their notification setting turned on, they will receive applicable alerts as they travel from campus to campus,” Mohun-Hintze explained.
The college is encouraging students and their families to download the CSM Safe app so that students can use the tool to better prepare themselves, share information and stay informed.
CSM Safe was unveiled Sept. 3 when classes started for the 2019-20 school year. To date, there have been 340 downloads.
Mohun-Hintze encourages residents in the communities surrounding all four campuses to download the app as well and said: “the college can’t sustain everything that we are doing without the support of the community.”