However, it is no question that this was not the clinic’s planned response for security threats. For institutions such as our social services, health care and government agencies, assaults against workers are an all too common reality. Unfortunately, there will be a likely increase of these incidents with the ever-going demand for services coming from a more desperate population. With the scarcity of job opportunities, the increase stress on workers and the pervasive issue of domestic violence, the threat of workplace violence is a looming risk for every employee and employer. Therefore, it is vital that every workplace have systems in place to protect employees.
Duress Signal Alarms EvolveThe early, basic, hard-wired alarm was a single button that sets off a signal or alarm in another room, typically to a supervisor’s or security office. While certainly “better than nothing,” the manner in which it is installed denotes its limitations. Not only can the installation be disruptive with mounting buttons onto desks and walls, drilling holes and laying the wire under carpets or through the ceiling, the button is locked to that position.
The next generation uses more advanced systems utilizing radio signals or phone lines to relay the message to designated recipients, allowing for more installation and receiver options. A useful aspect of this application is that some user devices are portable in the form of a handheld unit or worn on a lanyard. Activation would not only alert security but may also locate the distressed individual.
The Next Generation of Panic AlarmsThe advent of this new generation of panic buttons addresses or overcomes many of the deficiencies of the previous two generation of alert systems. The PC based duress alarm or electronic panic button is a new kind of alarm system with the ability for workers to summon support quickly and discreetly through their personal computer. An attractive aspect is that they usually only take minutes to install and configure by the IT personnel.
Integrating into the FutureImagine a front desk receptionist that is hassled by a visitor. With a click, not only is security notified but a live video stream pops up on their monitor of the incident in real time. Similar to the trigger alarms from the integration of access control and IP video surveillance, duress notification can not only give security a direct view of the most pressing concern but the auto-capture of the video can provide clear evidence in any disputes in investigation or following legal cases. With the addition of connection with a Central Monitoring Station, a video feed can provide the monitor additional information as to validity of the notification and can reduce the number of false alarms.
But the integration into access control systems allow for even more options for security protocols. A breach in access or perimeter can send emergency messages and instructions to all staff through pop up alerts. Conversely, front desk personal and other trained personnel have the option to initiate lockdown procedures.