Everything You Need to Know About The New Jersey Hotel Panic Alarm Bill (S.2986)

NJ S.2986 becomes effective on January 1st, 2020, which means hotels need to start installing duress alarms today. Here’s what you need to know:

This June, the Senate and General Assembly of New Jersey approved Bill Number 2986. Governor Murphy signed the bill into law shortly thereafter. The upshot? Effective January 1st, 2020, most hotels in New Jersey will be required to install panic alarm systems and provide all hotel workers with panic alarm buttons. These silent alarms are designed to give employees working in potentially unsafe conditions a means of calling for help.

Because hotel workers often work alone or in rooms occupied by strangers, they’re frequently exposed to unsafe conditions. In fact, studies show that hotel workers have a higher risk of experiencing both physical and sexual assault or harassment than workers in other industries.

New Jersey is just the first state to legally require that hotel owners invest in protective technologies like panic alarm systems. “We must protect the safety of workers in the hospitality industry,” said Governor Murphy. “This new law will ensure that hotel employees performing their duties will have the means to summon immediate assistance if they are in danger.”

New Jersey Senate Bill Number 2986 was created to address rising concerns about hotel employers’ lack of action around the safety of their employees. If you’re a hotel owner struggling to break down what this law requires of you and your business, here’s what you should know.

What Does Senate Bill 2986 Mean? 

S.2986 requires that hotel employers implement security practices to protect employees in unsafe working conditions from violent acts that may include sexual assault, harassment, or other types of criminal misconduct.

Specifically, the law requires hotels with more than 100 rooms to provide panic alarms to their employees. Additionally, hotels in New Jersey will also be required to comply with specific documentation, training, investigation, and guest notification protocols.

The law also asserts that hotels must:

  • Keep record of all accusations against a guest for acts of violence or sexual assault towards a hotel employee.
  • Conduct internal investigations of accused guests to gather information that could prove helpful in a criminal trial.
  • Report any incidents involving alleged criminal conduct to an appropriate law enforcement agency and cooperate with investigations.
  • Implement ongoing educational programs to teach employees how to use the panic button.
  • Be transparent with guests about the use of panic buttons.

A full list of the law’s requirements can be accessed here.

What You Should Know About The New Jersey Hotel Panic Alarm Bill

Hotel owners and general managers have a lot to learn in the wake of this new regulation, which presents more than a few potential pitfalls. The first: Violations. These can be costly — a first-time violation of any provision of the law may result in a $5,000 fine, with subsequent violations costing as much as $10,000 per incident. As such, it will be important for owners and managers to work with their technical teams to implement a reliable panic alarm system.

For those unfamiliar with panic alarms, they are special buttons that enable someone under duress to quickly and silently alert teams for help. Panic alarms are most often used when it’s unsafe to call for help (for instance, in the event that an aggressive guest becomes hostile towards a hotel housekeeper). Since that worker might be in an isolated room with this angry guest, dialing 911 on a cellphone might escalate the situation. Instead, panic alarms offer a fast and easy way for workers to call for help without drawing attention.

The TTI Guardian Solution

As a hotel owner, it’s up to you to ensure that your establishment is equipped with a reliable panic alarm system. Otherwise, you run the risk of incurring significant fines, or worse — ending up with an employee on the wrong side of a violent incident. Luckily, Turn-key Technologies, Inc. (TTI) is here to help with our Guardian wireless duress system.

Download the overview of what you need to know about the TTI Guardian Panic Alarm system.

Guardian is a wireless panic alarm system designed to protect hospitality workers and keep hotel operations compliant with NJ S.2986. Built with tried-and-tested technology, Guardian allows hotel staff to quickly and effectively communicate during emergency situations. Simple to install and inexpensive to maintain, the system functions independently of wireless networks, and comes with no monthly recurring charges.

What’s more, Guardian can also be used as an effective communications tool for staff members. Auto dialers, LED signs, and text messaging can all be integrated to work with TTI Guardian to create a customized solution that meets the unique needs of your environment.

Hotel operators in New Jersey can test and evaluate the Guardian System for themselves — contact us today to schedule a free on-site demonstration.

 

By Tony Ridzyowski

October 8, 2019

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