Duress Alerting

Duress alerting falls into two categories: fixed and mobile. Fixed panic buttons are installed as permanent fixtures and used to indicate a specific or coded alert. For example, each button on a four-button fixed duress device can be programmed for a different alert: student fight, medial emergency such as a hurt or injured student or teacher, threat against a teacher, armed intruder, etc.

Fixed duress devices can be placed in a variety of locations, including classrooms (e.g., under the teacher’s desk or on a wall), administrative offices, cafeterias, libraries, playgrounds and ball fields, and cash-handling areas particularly at colleges and universities.  

Mobile duress devices, also referred to as personal panic buttons or pendants, are carried by individuals on their person, usually worn on a chain around the neck under clothing or within a pocket. These devices aren’t used to issue specific or coded alerts but rather just to indicate that immediate help is required. Responders won’t know what the emergency is – just that there is one.

With smarter mesh networks, devices and software also comes enhanced location support for mobile duress. Responders will know not only who activated a mobile panic button but also approximately where he or she is located. This expanded location reporting throughout a facility and the surrounding grounds helps those who need help to be found more quickly.

Duress alerting has many applications, such as in schools as well as in senior living facilities, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, assembly plants, courthouses and jails – anywhere help needs to be  summoned urgently and/or with discretion to avoid escalating a potentially dangerous situation.To learn more about duress alerting for schools, you might want to read my guest column in Campus Safety.  

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