University of Rhode Island students taking control of their safety, giving parents peace of mind

Photo by Kayla Michaud |CIGAR| 

Umergency is a free, easy-to-use application with features to help you in an emergency, tailored to your specific college. It includes emergency contact numbers, a medical consent form, your uploaded medical cad and a GPS service that releases your location to trusted contacts in a dire situation.

One in four college students will end up in the emergency room while away from home. With close to 700,000 college students becoming seriously injured due to alcohol-related accidents, as well as fatal hazing scandals becoming more common, parental concerns for their college student’s safety is greater than ever, according to statistics gathered by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Nearly 95 percent of the University of Rhode Island’s undergraduate population is living on campus. This means that most students are away from home, leaving parents unavailable in the event of an emergency.

Mom and co-founder of Umergency, Gail Schenbaum Lawton, decided to do something about this lack of security. Without a medical consent form, parents and others are left in the dark.

“A lot of people don’t know that once you turn 18, your parents don’t have any consent as to what’s going on with you [in the emergency room],” Stephanie Therrien, a student representative of the app said.

“There is no worse feeling than finding out your child is going through a medical emergency, and not being able to reach anyone as a point of contact,” said Lawton to the Huffington Post. “No parent should have to go through something like that.”

With the Umergency app, students can simply press “Urgent Alert,” and their GPS location is sent to their trusted contacts and their medical consent form is released.

“That’s a really good aspect of it, especially for me, being so far away from home,” said Therrien. “My parents would be in the biggest ordeal that I’m in the hospital, so it gives them a chance to know what’s going on.”

“I’m connected immediately to my daughter, her trusted friends, and other family members, and we all have the same necessary emergency information. We all feel safer and prepared, just in case,” a parent user in a Umergency testimonial said.

Not only does the app provide these services in an emergency situation, but it also provides students with emergency numbers, including police, emergency services, fire and transportation, both on and off campus.

The free, on-campus transportation offered at URI, known as the Safe Ride program, can be accessed through the Umergency App. This is a great option if you don’t feel comfortable walking home alone or at night.

Being proactive about your own safety is essential, as many college students don’t think to prepare for an emergency situation in advance.

“Hopefully you don’t need it, but it’s a good option,” said Therrian, “I definitely encourage students to download it because it takes up the smallest amount of space on your phone, it’s the easiest thing, and you have it in case you need it.”

“This app has made both me and my family feel more connected,” said an undergraduate user in a Umergency testimony. “If I were to ever be injured and needed medical attention, my emergency card and consent forms are just a click away.”

The convenience and simplicity of the app along with the benefits that come with it make downloading a no-brainer. On-campus safety as well as parental peace of mind are crucial, and the Umergency App allows for college students’ easy preparation for an emergency while away at school.