Local colleges go high-tech in the name of safety

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Robert Martin, a student at{ }Gallaudet University in D.C., recently found himself in a situation he never saw coming.

A friend slipped and fell on campus, and getting the help took time.

He said it took about 20 minutes for a response.

"I had to walk, to hit the blue light, and I had to walk back and forth between where my friend was, and the light," Martin said.

Martin turned to the blue-light emergency system, just one of the options for many students and faculty at Gallaudet, who are deaf or hard of hearing.

"They need a variety of ways to contact the police because they can't use a regular telephone," said school faculty member Aldo Cornejo.

Now there's a smartphone app, adding an extra layer of security.

"The goal is to have their mobile device become their personal blue-light system," said campus police chief Ted Baran.

Once downloaded onto a smartphone, the technology, known as EmergenSee, can be activated with a touch.

This allows the Department of Public Safety to locate where you are, while also seeing live video and audio.

"We're a visual community, and often you find that deaf people have a preference of using video to communicate rather than text," said school faculty member Stephen Depetro.

The app has been available for the Gallaudet community for a few months, and the goal is to get more people signed up by this fall.

EmergenSee is also being used on the Georgetown University campus.