New app by local company aims to help keep you safe

Local company creates emergency app

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It seems we hear about active shooters, terrorist attacks, horrible public events a lot lately. A Charlotte company is trying to help; they created an app they hope will make everyone safer-- even during a simple visit to the gym.

When you've got lots of people, the general public, all under one roof working out, stuff happens.

The risk manager for Charlotte’s YMCA Kim Conroy says, “We have cardiac, diabetic, heat exhaustion and dehydration quite a bit.”

There are medical emergencies, sure, they’ve also had a bomb threat, a missing child-- even unruly guests at YMCAs across Charlotte, and now they have help in dealing with it all.

“It’s a smart panic button, so it knows where you are,” says Greg Artzt, the designer of Punch Alert.

“They get a text a push notification, a call, and an email.”

The new app by a Charlotte-based company turns everyone into a first responder.

“We believed we could create a smarter response time by enabling responders to have that real time intelligence about what’s happening around them."

Certain staffers at every YMCA branch are designated responders.

When something happens, they push an emergency button on their phone and that sends a message to all the designated first responders.

They had an incident back in January where a woman inside the sauna passed out; staff immediately sent a message to everyone saying there was a major medical emergency.

Someone called 911, someone else went outside to wait on an ambulance, others helped clear the locker room-- all coordinated through the app.

Punch Alert is also being used in some area schools.

“If you need to do lockdown, evacuation, now able to do it in a coordinated way and can crowdsource info from people if they have something they need to share,” the designer says.

The goal: eventually give everyone access-- have it used everywhere.

“Safety is not just the responsibility of the police, we all need to play a part in solving that problem.”

For more information, check out http://www.punchalert.com.

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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