SafeZone: Overseas travel safety app
What is SafeZone?
SafeZone is a free-to-use safety app that the University of Bristol is making available to staff and students to use when they travel overseas. The app allows you to alert the University's Security Services via your mobile phone if you ever need urgent assistance, or if you want to let Security Officers know where you are.
When you should use SafeZone
SafeZone is currently supported for University of Bristol staff and students who are travelling overseas on University business. If you are travelling overseas on University business or as part of your studies, use of SafeZone is mandatory.
Support for other University uses will be coming shortly. When SafeZone is rolled-out more widely, we will encourage staff and students to use the app, but there will be no obligation to download or register it unless you are travelling overseas.
You can still call or email your School, Division or Placement Coordinator or call Security Services and the Insurance Emergency Helpline without the app. SafeZone is an additional service intended as a more efficient and responsive way of communicating with the University if you need assistance in an emergency. Use of the service is endorsed by the staff and student Trade Unions.
If you have a University device, you may need to enable roaming before travelling abroad. More information can be found on the IT Services Intranet page.
How to use SafeZone
Once the app is downloaded, you register yourself as a user by entering your University email address.
SafeZone has four buttons that can be used to obtain information or request assistance from Security Officers when you travel overseas:
- First Aid
The First Aid button calls the University's Insurance Emergency Helpline to give you immediate medical and security support. When you press this button, Security Officers will also be notified so that they can follow-up with you to check that you are ok.
Press this button if:
- you are ill or injured and need medical assistance
- you need security assistance, for example, if there is a security incident like political unrest where you are based
- you’ve lost travel documents
The Help button calls Security Officers to provide you with further assistance.
Press this button if:
- you are unsure who to contact
- you have been asked to call Security Officers, for example, if they have been trying to reach you after raising an alert
The Emergency button calls the in-country emergency services (the system knows the correct number in your location) and alerts Security Officers so that they can follow-up with you to check that you are ok and getting any immediate support you require.
Press this button if:
- there is an immediate threat to life
- you need assistance from the police
- you need an ambulance
- you need the fire service
You can also use this button if you need help with non-emergency changes to your travel plans.
Pressing a button by mistake
If a button is pressed by mistake, the alert can be cancelled by tapping the button again while the timer is winding down.
Using SafeZone in the UK
If you use the SafeZone app in the UK (including on University of Bristol campus), the First Aid, Emergency, and Help buttons will all dial 999.
For technical support, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
How SafeZone works
Does SafeZone track my whereabouts?
We are committed to your privacy. SafeZone does not track your location unless you activate one of the emergency features or voluntarily check-in. The University will not use your location information for any purpose other than to support your safety overseas.
As you only become visible on the system once you have raised an alert or checked in, the app will not drain your mobile phone battery. The app's check-in function allows you to let Security Officers know where you are. This can be useful if you are working alone, working outside of normal working hours, or are in some other potentially vulnerable situation.
Can the University contact me using SafeZone?
SafeZone uses push messaging to allow Security Officers to send you important notifications in the case of an emergency or critical incident where you are.
If the University becomes aware of an incident abroad, we may send a notification to our users in the area asking you to check-in on the app so that we can quickly communicate with you and provide you with support.
Why is the University introducing SafeZone?
The University is committed to keeping staff and students safe. The SafeZone app will allow users to report security issues and get a response immediately when travelling abroad.
How do I download the SafeZone app?
Download the app here. When prompted, enter your University email address, and complete your registration.
Who is the SafeZone app for?
The app is currently for staff and students who are travelling abroad for study, research or business purposes.
Does SafeZone track my location all the time?
No, you only become visible on the system if you check-in or once you press one of the buttons for help.
How long will it take to get help?
When you press the Emergency button (red) or First Aid button (green), an alert will be sent to Security Officers. The app will call the local emergency services (red button) or the Insurance Helpline (green button).
Security Officers will send you a message in SafeZone to confirm that they have received your alert and ask you to contact them after you are finished with the call. If they don’t hear from you after 15 minutes, they will call you to make sure you have received the support you need.
If you press the Help button (blue), this will raise an alert with Security Officers and then dial the Security Control Room, putting you in immediate contact with the team.
What if I do not have a mobile phone?
Staff and students may use their own personal devices when travelling. If you don’t have a smartphone but you have a tablet or iPad, use that device to sign up and put your mobile phone’s number in as your contact number.
If you don't have a mobile phone, your local area should provide you with one to use as part of the travel business case and risk assessment process to prepare you for your trip. This ensures that you are contactable and have access to key emergency contact details.
Will I incur charges for using SafeZone?
SafeZone uses Wi-Fi, if available, or your network data to raise alerts and make phone calls through the app. You will need to enable data roaming to ensure SafeZone can work if you do not have Wi-Fi access. SafeZone will not use any data unless you use the app – for example, you check-in, raise an alert, or make a call through the app.
If you need to use SafeZone while abroad and you incur charges, SafeZone app data charges can be reimbursed through the Travel and Expenses Policy. Turning on data roaming abroad will incur charges and by default will allow all apps to use mobile data while roaming.
To minimise cost, it’s recommended that you prevent apps, other than SafeZone, from using mobile data. This can be done through the settings on your phone and you can check with your device manufacturer for instructions on how to do this. For University devices, support with data roaming is available on the Mobile Phones Information Webpage.