Move over pepper spray. A new type of technology is making its way in the world of safety on college campuses.
Several tech companies are promoting new “safety devices,” intended to help campus students feel safe.
The products themselves are relatively inexpensive and have a variety of different uses and levels of effectiveness. While the gadgets may be on the market, the popularity of their use is still on the rise.
The BASU company has an entire product line focused around these devices. One of their main gadgets is called the eAlarm, which emits a loud noise when activated in an effort to ward off potential attackers.
The eAlarm is the size of a flash drive and is activated by pulling off the top. After removing the cap, the device emits 120-decibel audio blast, similar to that of an ambulance siren.
The product has received several testimonials on BASU’s website, in which the users were in potentially dangerous situations — like one user who was nearly robbed at gunpoint or another who faced a bear attack. The testimonials told stories of using the eAlarm to successfully fend off danger.
eAlarm was also featured on “The Today Show” when gadget expert Steve Greenberg did an excerpt on technology that can be used for safety during road trips.
“When you pull the end, it makes a pretty loud noise,” Greenberg said in the demonstration. “It’s a super simple, really smart idea. And it’s TSA approved, so you can take it through TSA without a problem.”
Another device that started at Northeastern University uses a stealthier approach to promoting safety.
The device called Knightly is the same size as the eAlarm, but instead of creating a loud alarm by pulling, it sends a message to someone in the user’s phone contacts. The user pushes a button on the device, and his or her family and friends are alerted to the user’s potentially dangerous situation.
Knightly works with a mobile app that is connected to the user’s phone contacts. After the button is pushed once on the Knightly device, it sends both a warning text and the location of the user to a small group of people chosen by the user, letting these people know that he or she is in a potentially dangerous situation.
If the button is pushed and held, the device sends a distress call to the user’s college campus security, along with a GPS signal of where the user is.
While these new devices may offer a modern take on safety, some may still feel the inclination to carry around pepper spray, often referred to as mace.
However, like many other universities in the nation, WSU has a policy against students carrying around pepper spray on campus.
While it does act as a method to stop a potential attack, it can be harmful to the public if used incorrectly.
Since several universities are trying to do away with pepper spray, it makes an investment these safety devices appear more desirable.
Students who don’t invest in these tools are not left helpless. Weber State Campus Police Chief Dane LeBlanc wants students to know that they can be prepared for dangerous situations by simply paying attention to what’s happening around them.
“Be aware of your surroundings,” LeBlanc said. “If you see something, make sure that you say something.”