New safety device allows for peace of mind

Guard llamas are known to keep livestock safe from predators. Perhaps we should have a llama on every street corner in Burlington as a  safety measure.

However, since we are a campus and not a farm, guard llamas now take shape as a pocket-sized device and still provide safety from predators.

The Guard Llama is a new hand-held device intended to keep communities safe.Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 3.42.00 PM

It works by sharing your GPS location and discreetly contacting the police “80 percent faster than if they had made a traditional 911 call,” Cara Narkun, head of marketing at Guard Llama, said.

When I toured UVM, my guide presented the blue light system as a way to stay safe on campus, especially at night. However, I can’t help but wonder what would happen if I were unable to reach one in time.

This device fills the physical gaps between the blue light locations.

“Guard Llama most definitely extends the service… the blue lights are often not in the immediate vicinity of a potential victim, which renders the light useless,” Narkun said.

Deputy Chief Tim Bilodeau of UVM police services advised students not to depend solely on these devices to stay safe.

“Overreliance on any one tool has to be thought through. The theme should be resiliency. In an emergency, get help,” Bilodeau said.

People still need to have the skills to deal with danger with or without a Guard Llama or blue light.

That said, Guard Llama is still a valuable tool for staying safe.  

The device has already saved the lives of four people in different emergency situations, Narkun said. This device is reaching people, from late night runners to real estate agents, creating a safer environment for them to live their daily lives.

Guard Llama acknowledges that things can go wrong and that danger does not solely exist  on college campuses. Who knows, a llama could save your life too.