Penn Guardian quickens response time in an emergency

Penn Guardian

It’s late at night. You’re walking by yourself. It may seem as if you’re all alone. But you’re not. Penn Guardian, the newest service offered by the Division of Public Safety (DPS), is watching to ensure that students, faculty and staff reach their intended destination safely.
Launched this fall, Penn Guardian is designed to help first responders locate people in need of assistance using a global positioning system (GPS). The new system allows DPS’s communications center, known as PennComm, to identify the GPS coordinates of registered cells phones and provide help if needed.

For instance, if a registered staff member with a known medical condition is walking across campus and falls ill, and if he or she calls campus emergency number 511 but is unable to speak, Penn Guardian will alert emergency responders to the caller’s specific location, provided the cell phone is GPS-enabled.

This service is limited only to those who register their cell phone numbers and create online profiles with DPS. Once a phone has been registered, a person can call the DPS emergency number – 215-573-3333 – and activate the Penn Guardian system. PennComm dispatchers will then be able to view a person’s profile information and location.

“In less than 24 hours after we launched the program, approximately 1,800 students, faculty and staff had registered their cell phones and profiles,” says Maureen S. Rush, vice president for the Division of Public Safety.
To register with Penn Guardian or for more information, log on to Users must log in with their PennKey and create a profile by providing information such a physical description, a photo, an address and medical information.

Information provided for the Penn Guardian system is kept confidential and DPS never sees a user’s information or tracks a user’s location unless they are contacted for assistance. DPS has worked with the Office of Audit, Compliance & Privacy to ensure the adherence to the University’s standards for data protection.


Originally published on September 30, 2010