Wildfire alert app spreads across campus

Wildfire, a free alert system mobile app that launched in 2016, is picking up steam around campuses and cities across the country, as more students are starting to tune into the social app. 

The app was created as an alert system to warn users when there are possibly dangers nearby. 

Hriday Kemburu, CEO and cofounder of Wildfire, got the idea for the app when he was almost a victim of a mugging at UC Berkeley. Kemburu then posted to Facebook his encounter in hopes to warn other students. 

Determined to help spread news and alerts, he launched the app for students to utilize and help spread the word about potential dangers to avoid.

As an example of the type of alerts that are sent out, last week Cal Poly Pomona Wildfire users were alerted of campus congestion due to emergency vehicles reporting near the Student Services Building.

“We realize currently there is no effective way to spread or hear real-time information with your local community,” Kemburu said. “Existing social networks are limited to your network of friends and family.”

Wildfire is a free app for both Android and Apple phones to alert users of nearby emergencies.
(Courtesy of Hriday Kemburu)

 Students who utilize the app can use it as an online social platform, but the main feature is to send alerts to users when trending and happening in real time. 

“We built Wildfire as a much more effective way to communicate with the people right around you in real time,” Kemburu said.

Currently, hundreds of Wildfire users can be found across the country in over 100 campuses, according to Kemburu.

The app has different alerts that are sent as notifications to users’ phones.

Notifications such as a shooting will get sent as a safety alert. There are celebrity sightings alerts and protest alerts if mass protests on campus take place. Users can also be notified of the location of class canceling as an alert as well. 

Students can add to the updates by posting on the app as well, and it will be sent as an alert.

Christina Corpus, a first-year transfer sociology student, finds the app’s notification alerts as a tool to stay alert and aware on campus.

“I like to know what’s happening around our campus,” Corpus said. “I stay late at night (on campus) and the alerts are helpful for alerting potential dangers when I walk to my car.”

Wildfire is not a popular app on campus, compared to other forms of media, but students give mostly positive reviews when it comes to the newer app.

Mark Cervantes, a first-year transfer kinesiology student, describes the app as an anonymous form of Twitter.

“It’s pretty judgment-free for the most part because we are all college peers and we understand what life is like to be in school,” Cervantes said.

Cervantes consistently checks the app due to its updating features. 

“I frequent the app in a very useful way to learn things from fellow students, whether it’s about school or how to manage stress and time,” Cervantes said. 

Due to the Wildfire’s small number of users, it’s also an interesting way of meeting new people through user posts. 

“I’ve met four people in person through the app within a week and a half,” Cervantes said.

Cervantes is not the only user taking advantage of Wildfire’s platform.

Because the app is so new to the Cal Poly Pomona community, Wildfire can be considered a tight-knit community for CPP students that utilize it.

“The app is almost like a community Twitter,” Corpus said. “I like the app as I get to meet new people.” 

To submit ideas or suggestions for the app, email the team at team@getwildfire.com.

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