A Guide to Duress Alarms: What Are They and How Do They Work?

Today’s threats are growing by the moment. A wireless society means that more workers are doing their jobs remotely, while incidents of violence and terrorism grow continually. It’s challenging to keep up with who is where, what they’re up to, and when a worker might be in danger. In response to these trends, duress alarm systems have been developed to help organizations keep track of workers, check on their well-being, and allow workers to summon help when needed. This is what duress alarms are and how they can protect your most valuable asset — your people.

What is a Duress Alarm?

A duress alarm is a system of wireless mobile devices that keep workers in touch with other personnel. In order to be effective, duress alarms need to be simple, because people in stressful situations usually don’t have time to stop and think their way through a complicated series of steps. While there are different types of duress alarms available, the best will feature a basic emergency call button with which to summon help, a man down alarm, as well as a feature for pinging lone workers to check their status and safety.

What Types of Duress Alarms Can You Choose?

The most basic duress alarm system will feature an emergency call feature, usually a button that is easy to locate and operate. Some also feature a two-way paging button, so that workers can report back to headquarters and headquarters can check on lone workers. Other features to consider are Man Down and No Response alerts. A Man Down alert will notify headquarters if a worker is knocked out, rendered unconscious, or otherwise incapacitated and unable to place a call for help. A No Response alert pings the lone worker, signaling home base if the worker does not respond within a given period of time. Both of these features allow headquarters to verify the safety of workers, even when the worker is unable to respond.

Where are Duress Alarms Used?

Duress alarms are most commonly found in hospitals, nursing homes, and other large medical facilities where workers are often alone or alone with patients. These systems are also popular in detention centers and prisons, where workers are isolated and surrounded by potentially dangerous people. Schools, universities, and other campuses also make good use of duress alarms, especially in an age in which schools are often the targets of violent attacks. Municipal buildings, courthouses, and other government facilities also have needs for duress alarms.  Manufacturing and industrial settings where maintenance workers may work in isolated locations are ideal for duress systems with man down and no response alarms.

How Can You Get a Good Duress Alarm System?

Doctors, nurses, maintenance, night shift, security and other workers are often alone in nooks and crannies of a workplacel, away from anyone who could summon help if an emergency took place.

First, assess your needs to determine what features you need. Is a basic emergency call button sufficient, or will you need additional features like Man Down and No Response? These features are incredibly helpful in places where it isn’t necessarily obvious where the worker is at any given time — such as in hospitals and schools where workers roam freely during their work shifts.

By Craig Badrick

March 24, 2016

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