Keeping Staff Safe with Wearable Hotel Panic Buttons

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The nature of hospitality work means that much of it is done alone: from housekeeping staff moving from room to room, to night-shift front desk attendants checking in late arrivals. Protecting these staff when they’re most vulnerable is a priority for many hotels, whether it’s from sexual harassment or COVID-19 exposure.

Many hotels are investing in new ways to keep their staff safe, including wearable panic buttons for emergencies. Some states are even requiring that these devices are made available to staff by law. To get the most out of these devices, hospitality chains are investing in panic buttons that are connected directly to public safety, to ensure first responders can get to the right room at the right time should staff need emergency assistance.

What are wearable hotel panic buttons?

Hotel panic buttons are safety devices specifically designed for hospitality professionals. Whenever they feel unsafe, or are in uncomfortable situations, they can trigger the button to call for help. Hotel security is notified, and they can contact authorities when necessary. 

These panic buttons can provide staff immediate access to help when they’re in dangerous or vulnerable situations. For example, if a member of the cleaning staff is confronted or cornered by a guest, they can trigger their panic button to get help right away.

Hotel panic buttons are usually worn by a clip that can be pressed to get help in emergencies.They’re GPS-enabled devices that send alerts by either bluetooth, cellular, or wi-fi connection. These alerts go to a central monitoring station, typically the hotel’s security office, who receive certain data about the alert, including the GPS location down to the floor and room, and sometimes even information about the worker pressing the button. From there, security can dispatch resources to assist, whether it’s their internal security team or calling first responders for help.

Panic buttons give hotel workers the ability to call for help when they might not otherwise be able to. Rather than having to reach for a phone to contact security, they can simply press a button, and without delay receive assistance as quickly as possible.

Regulations surrounding hotel panic buttons

In June 2019, New Jersey became the first state to legally mandate hotels to provide wearable panic buttons to hotel staff. Several other cities and states followed suit, prompting 17 leading hotel companies to sign the American Hotel and Lodging Association’s 5-Star Promise

Simultaneously, many of these ordinances are making their way into collective bargaining agreements for employees. This resource keeps track of major ordinances in the US. Some municipalities specify what size hotel requires panic buttons, while others itemize fines for failure to comply.

Emergency connectivity and monitoring

Panic buttons rely on some form of monitoring to be effective, and the quality of monitoring directly impacts the efficiency of the response. Since much of the conversation around hotel panic buttons surrounds sexual harassment and #metoo, time is of the essence. Panic buttons can also be useful in medical or police emergencies, when a hotel worker needs help from emergency services but can’t reach a phone. 

In these situations, time is of the essence. In emergencies, panic buttons can potentially save time on response, but it’s dependent on the quality of monitoring. When a hotel worker presses the button, does their monitoring center receive any additional information besides GPS location? Can that monitoring center, whether it’s inside the hotel or outsourced, share that information with first responders? 

All of these factors can change the way a situation plays out. Panic buttons that are connected to the RapidSOS emergency response data platform can share data with monitoring centers and first responders the moment the alert is triggered. This allows first responders to access potentially life-saving data, like medical information, precise location, and more, while speeding up response times to the call.

According to a survey by DKC analytics, 93 percent of Americans agree that if first responders had access to more data about emergencies, they could save more lives. Panic buttons and monitoring centers can take in and share many types of relevant emergency data, making their connection to the RapidSOS platform even more powerful than others.

Becoming RapidSOS Ready

There are a variety of panic buttons that can share data with first responders. invisaWear, for example, links their charms to emergency contacts and first responders, so families can access information about their loved ones when they need help, and call on their behalf if necessary. These panic buttons connect directly to the Rapidsos platform, so that dispatchers can see the GPS location of the panic button on a satellite map, alongside information about the user.

In a hotel setting, that means first responders can see the location of an emergency, as well as floor plans, user information, and more.

To learn more about how RapidSOS can improve your hotel safety solutions, talk to an expert today.