The Wildfire app allows students to update regarding various situations

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The Wildfire app allows students to update regarding various situations

The app allows students to update others about situations on campus.

The app allows students to update others about situations on campus.

Photo by Jordan Johnson

The app allows students to update others about situations on campus.

Photo by Jordan Johnson

Photo by Jordan Johnson

The app allows students to update others about situations on campus.

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Although Marquette University Police Department is dedicated to maintaining a safe environment on campus, a new app has been created with a similar purpose.

Wildfire is an app that allows people on and near campus to send messages to group, which are categorized by college or university. These messages can range from someone spotting a celebrity to class cancellations and to places people should avoid for the time being because of apparent unsafe situations, according to the website.

“The app was created after one of the founders was nearly mugged outside a library on University of California-Berkeley’s campus in 2015,” according to Wildfire’s website.

Along with CEO and founder of Wildfire Hriday Kemburu, a group of UC graduates keep the app running.

According to its website, people have “no effective way to spread or hear real-time information with their local community. Existing social networks are limited to their network of friends and family.”

Wildfire allows people to communicate with people efficiently, according to the website.

Angel Mora, freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences, said she feels Wildfire is better than using other social media apps for updates, although she does not use the app.

“I would rather use Wildfire,” Mora said. “On Snapchat, a lot of people can make stuff up and do stuff to try to get a reaction from the student body.”

Roma Shah, a freshman in the College of Health Sciences, uses the app.

“Twitter, Facebook and other social media have a lot of humor content,” Shah said. “For Wildfire, the main purpose is to know what’s happening around campus.”

The company stated on its website that it is “currently focused on launching Wildfire at colleges but plan on expanding to cities soon.”

Liam Parpan, a freshman in the College of Nursing, said he found out about Wildfire early in the school year.

“I heard about Wildfire through friends during my first week here at Marquette,” Parpan said in an email.  “I was told that we would get instant updates on anything pertaining to campus safety or news. I thought this would be a fun way to get information because they are posted by students rather than an official administrator.”

Jeff Kranz, assistant chief of MUPD, said Marquette and Wildfire are not affiliated.

“It is wholly owned and operated by an independent company, with which the university has no relationship,” Kranz said in an email.

“MUPD and 911 are always good sources, but (Wildfire) is just an easier way to contact the entire student body,” Mora said.

Although the app is made to keep students safe and aware of their surroundings, the company urges users to not use the app as a replacement for calling 911.

“If you are in or witness an emergency situation, we ask you to call 911 first before posting to Wildfire,” according to the website.

Parpan said the app is resourceful but also has its flaws.

“I think that there are definitely some benefits from using the app,” Parpan said in an email. “Many students post actual safety alerts like when there are arrests or robberies, but students often post comical things or jokes just to get a laugh which is not as beneficial, even though it is funny.”

With or without Wildfire, Parpan said he believes students are safe on campus and that being aware of your surroundings is always important.

“I think that the campus is very safe, but the surrounding area is not,” Parpan said. “When walking around campus, just stick to the main routes, and you should be fine.”

Students can download the app for iPhone and Android through the App Store or Google Play store.