Frequently asked questions and concerns about CATSafe (powered by LiveSafe) and blue lights

What if my phone is not charged?

Your phone/portable device is important for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is in an emergency.  Of course, we recommend that you keep your phone charged.  Consider a portable charging block and ensuring that you have regular charging habits - e.g., charge the phone overnight every night or recharge via a charging block in your bag while you are in class.  A charged phone is something you can control.  Unfortunately, the reliability of old, copper phone line technology in our blue lights is not.

What if I am under stress and lack fine motor skills to operate my phone?

The folks at Apple and Android have figured that out for us.  

  • With an IoS device, simply press the power and top volume buttons together and hold them.  After a few seconds the phone will make an emergency call and emit a siren sound.
  • With an Android device, if you're running Android 12 or later, you can turn on Emergency SOS, which lets you trigger calling emergency services, sharing your location with emergency contacts, and recording video by quickly pressing the power button five times or more. See the Android help pages for details.

These features are not connected to the University.  They are useful for you in any emergency situation.

Is the University tracking me using the CATSafe app?

No, unless you have activated the emergency call (virtual blue light) calling feature to call police services.  There is no active tracking or logging of your location by the University.  Additionally, location services enable sharing your location with those you choose as safety partners with the SafeWalk feature.  You have the option whether to enable location services for the app for use during an emergency call, or text message to our safety teams.  We certainly suggest using location services to ensure full functionality of the app features, but that choice is yours.

Are “anonymous” tips really anonymous, or is the user information captured?

Yes, if you toggle the “Send Anonymously” option when submitting a tip or emergency message, your user information will show up as “Anonymous” in all the fields. Even if you use the live chat feature to provide additional information, you will still appear as anonymous.

I don’t live or work on the main UVM campus, is CATSafe still useful?

We encourage you to download and use the app as it contains links to useful University resources and the ability to submit “tips” from one convenient place. If you have an off-campus emergency, you will need to use the “Call Local Emergency Services” emergency option (versus “Call UVM Police”) for emergency assistance.  If you need to message UVM Police about a non-emergency concern, you could still do so through the “message UVM Police” option. The SafeWalk feature is very popular and especially useful off-campus.

Can I have someone watch me SafeWalk if they don’t have the CATSafe app?

Yes. Friends and family members can virtually escort you from one place to another without downloading the app or joining UVM’s part of the app. When you invite friends and family members to watch you walk, they can connect either through the app or through a browser on their phone.

Why does CATSafe want my personal information?

Filling out the user profile will help UVM staff contact you if additional information is needed after you submit a tip. It is also helpful in emergency situations if you lose connection or if your identity is needed because you are in distress. If you use the Emergency button, law enforcement will have immediate access to your name and contact information.

Be sure to register with your full UVM email address ( Doing so will give you access to UVM specific key safety resources.

The app asks for access to your contacts to support SafeWalk, a peer-to-peer virtual escort tool. By allowing CATSafe access to your contacts, you can invite friends and family members to virtually escort you from place to place. They will not need to download the app to do this.

I don’t have a smart phone; can I still use the CATSafe app on my laptop or desktop computer?

The CATSafe app is primarily designed as a mobile two-way safety app. A computer user can submit “tips,” including assault, abuse, harassment, threats, discrimination, and bias, as well as report safety issues and ADA barriers to the appropriate offices and non-emergency issues to Police Services. The computer version does not include a way to call for emergency help or the links to useful UVM resources. To submit a tip, go to and create an account by selecting “University of Vermont” and register using full UVM email (

How do you track my location?

As a CATSafe app user, you will always have control of your location data. The CATSafe app can access your location information if your device has location services enabled and the CATSafe mobile application has permission to use the information. If you do not want to share your location, simply turn off your device's location services. 


When location services are enabled and the CATSafe app does have permission to use the location data, the app will only use your location when you submit a tip or contact emergency services through the app. A snapshot of your location - where you are right at that moment - is sent to your organizations CATSafe Dashboard when you submit a tip. If you contact emergency services through the app, your location is shared with your organizations CATSafe Dashboard to help emergency personnel locate you.

In SafeWalk there is a “watch a friend walk” button. Does this mean anyone can watch me walk anytime?

No. Others can only watch you walk if you give them permission by accepting an invitation from them. If they click the “watch a friend walk” and that friend is you, you will get sent an invitation. They would only be able to send you an invitation if you are a contact in their phone. If you are and they send you one, you would need to accept the invitation for them to be able to watch you walk. If you don’t accept the invitation they will not be able to watch you walk.

What is the difference between the initial LiveSafe profile set-up and signing into the CATSafe app?

When you first install the app it will ask you to create a profile. Use your full UVM email ( to create your profile. Since this profile encompasses LiveSafe use anywhere (not just at UVM), use a password that is different than your UVM password. You will only need to do this once. After your profile is created you’ll be prompted to log in via single sign-on. You will use your UVM credentials for single sign-on.

How often are blue lights used?

Blue light call buttons are most often false alarms and hoax calls.  A seven year look back at calls from blue lights shows that a total of 5 “real calls” were received.  Four were traffic accidents, also generally reported via cell phone, and one was a suspicious vehicle.

Aren’t the blue lights a deterrent to criminal activity?

Actually, the deterrent effect of your cell phone - both with the ability to call for help and to record suspects in criminal activity - is a larger deterrent.  Crime patterns have evolved significantly over the last two decades because of handheld technology and the advent of inexpensive home surveillance cameras such as video doorbells.

Is the sunsetting of blue lights just a cost-saving measure?

No. Actually the opposite. Our safety, security, and health investments are increasing. We are working to take the cost savings from blue lights and invest that and additional resources in tools, technology, and training that is more contemporary and effective. Specifically, we are investing in app-based systems like LiveSafe; deploying CAT ECare emergency stations with automatic external defibrillators, bleeding control kits, and Narcan/Naloxone; and increasing the number of digital access controls (CatCard) and security cameras in public spaces campus-wide.

Additional LiveSafe FAQ’s can be found on Vector LiveSafe’s website. The Vector LiveSafe App FAQ (PDF)