The “spring” semester actually takes place during winter—the time of the year when  it may be dark whether you’re heading to class in the morning or leaving campus at night. There’s also a higher possibility of snow or other extreme weather forcing the university to close. These are some of the reasons VIU has created a safety app for students and staff.

The VIU Safety App posts current and expected weather conditions daily, and will alert you when campus is closed unexpectedly. In the event of a campus emergency, such as an earthquake, power outage, or fire, the app walks you through proper procedures. There’s also a list of emergency contacts available at the touch of a button, including campus security, first aid, and 9-1-1.

A safety toolbox features a flashlight and a loud alarm, as well as the option to send your location to a friend or security. If you feel unsafe, you may request a security guard to safely accompany you to your campus destination.

The app also includes a list of safety resources, including information on counselling, drink spiking, health and safety services, emergency kits, emergency preparation, and more.

If you see something suspicious on campus, you’re encouraged to send a message or photo to security. If you see something that needs fixing, you can also send a message or photo to campus maintenance.

The VIU Safety App has already shown its usefulness this year; on January 20, there was a gas leak on campus, and the Safety App reported updates every 15 minutes.

The app is available free to download on iOS and Android.