After the tragic murder of 18-year-old cousin Rashidi Samuda, who was stabbed and robbed of his cell phone while on his way to an ice cream shop, Marvin Richards was propelled to develop a security application to allows individuals to send alerts to their emergency contacts in cases of emergency.
“The vision of Rush Alert came out of that tragedy because, I did not want something like that to happen to any other family, ” he said.
The Rush Alert application was developed in 2018 by Richards, the chief executive officer (CEO) and Odaine Williams chief operating officer (COO) of Rush Alert Limited, a security company specialising in business security software and products.
“Last year, we signed a licensing agreement with the university [University of the West Indies, Mona] to offer our security application to our students and staff because we do know that the university wants to enhance the safety of students and staff on and off campus, so they have licensed it to offer to their student and staff,” Richards noted.
He also noted that other individuals are not limited to university students because other individuals can have access to its core features such as sending out an alert to their emergency contacts.
Features of Rush Alert
“One that is a part of the application is the status checker/check-in where students can send customisable alerts which will go to their emergency contact if they are on campus it also goes to the campus police,” he said.
He also noted that the app has a trip feature, which allows individuals to set time intervals when moving between locations. It also allows the app to check up on individuals. If the app does not get feedback it will send a notification twice, if no feedback is given then the app sends an alert to emergency contact and UWI Campus Police.
“It also sends your phone battery life so that your emergency contact can deduce if your phone battery had died or if something is definitely wrong,” he stated.
The application also allows students to access campus escort services inside the app, which allows students, who may not want to traverse the campus alone late at night, to request an escort to take them to different locations on campus.
Among the many safety features, is the feature which allows users to input the license plate number of vehicles in which they are travelling into the app to share with their emergency contact.
“What they can do, they can go inside the app and input the license plate number and they can share it with their emergency contact so at all times their emergency contact can know who they are travelling with. We are definitely trying to prevent a next Jasmine Deen situation from happening on campus again or throughout Jamaica,” the Rush Alert app conceptualiser said.
Jasmine Deen is a visually impaired UWI, Mona student who went missing on February 27, 2020, after waiting for a bus at the back gate of the Mona campus.