Emergency Preparedness, Safety, Security

Why Facilities Managers Should Consider Wearable Panic Buttons             

No matter the workplace, facilities managers should consider working with management to have employees wear panic buttons, which can enhance the facility’s emergency management plans with the button’s associated digital indoor mapping applications.

Stacy Meyer, Vice President of Marketing at CENTEGIX, gave a presentation called “Could Panic Buttons Save Lives? Many Organizations Think So” as part of the March 20 Facilities Management Advisor FM Now: Secure Buildings virtual event, sponsored by CENTEGIX.

What Are Wearable Panic Buttons?

A panic button is simply a badge individuals can wear around their neck with a button they can press to get help.

The badge wirelessly contacts 911 emergency services and designated on-site administrators, such as security, medical staff, or the facilities management department. The designated representative can see a digital map of where the person is, down to the floor and office number, and the best way to access that person.

Employees can also press the panic button multiple times to initiate facility lockdown procedures, which can involve displaying an alert message on computer monitors, broadcasting a message on intercoms, and activating visual strobe lights.

Why Use Panic Buttons?

While some might depend on cellphones for emergencies, it’s important to note that people in an emergency may not have a phone or be able to access it, and the area might not have adequate cellular coverage. Additionally, those in an emergency may not be able to access a nearby emergency button.

Wearable panic buttons allow individuals to immediately call for help using a private network that isn’t dependent on Wi-Fi or even the facility’s communication network.

Digital maps show not only where the person is located but also the locations of helpful items like automated external defibrillators (AEDs), video cameras and their associated live feeds, water mains, access control points, and evacuation routes.

“When emergencies happen at schools, hospitals, in courthouses, and in businesses, the speed of the response can be the difference between life and death,” Meyer asserted. “Knowing where help is needed and how to get there accelerates the response and increases the potential for a positive outcome.”

Why Is Crisis Prevention Not Enough?

Most facilities have a variety of security measures, such as:

  • Vulnerability assessments
  • Security personnel
  • Cameras
  • Access control
  • Visitor management systems
  • Weapons detection systems
  • Background checks

“Despite every preventative measure you’ve put in place nothing will change the fact that emergencies will still happen. From the everyday to the extreme, there’s an expectation that someone has a plan for what to do when an emergency happens,” Meyer added.

The virtual event’s slideshow presentation noted there are 7,000 incidents of sudden cardiac arrest yearly—the leading cause of death in schools—and 10,000 incidents of cardiac arrest in the workplace annually. Additionally, 58,000 injuries from workplace violence incidents occurred in 2022.

How Can We Protect Vulnerable Employees?

As Meyer suggested, management should consider issuing panic buttons to specific types of employees who work by themselves, such as office workers. What would they do if they experienced a medical emergency?

Additionally, she advised management to consider employees who walk alone at night to their vehicles at the end of their shifts.

She noted that in both cases, panic buttons can be used discreetly in an emergency to get immediate help.

Learn More

Wearable panic buttons can aid in emergency response and provide employees with a way to notify other personnel of an emergency, whether it’s a medical issue, workplace violence, or an active shooter.

To watch the entire webinar and learn more about the benefits of panic button digital mapping, including how it can be used to do risk assessments, to help comply with regulations, for maintenance and inspection, for increased coordination and communication with multiple departments, and for better emergency response, click here.

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