Help Buttons, Not Panic Buttons, Is the First Step to Situational Awareness

This blog post summarizes why help buttons should be the first step of your situational awareness strategy. A link to a pre-recorded webinar on the topic appears at the conclusion of this post.

Let’s examine why a “panic” button should give way to a “help” button. First, what is a button? In a situational awareness context, it is anything you want it to be – on a wall, under a desk, in your hand, in your briefcase, on your phone, on your dashboard (desk or car, literally), in a hallway, mall way, all way. Get it? Help should be ubiquitous. An alarm is an alarm is an alarm. Only one type of alarm is, frankly, alarming. Alarms are bad; alerts are good when they are flexible, creative and specific to ensure the fastest and most appropriate response possible.

Wireless emergency alerting is a great first step any organization can take toward situational awareness.

Wireless emergency alerting, also known as mobile duress or panic buttons – or what we like to call mobile help – is a great first step any organization can take toward situational awareness. Once a help button is activated, alerts immediately go to the appropriate responders, whether they are on or off site, according to preprogrammed alerting protocols and escalation paths. With real-time alerts delivered to the right people, they can take immediate action to find who needs help. And not only does this sort of alerting reduce response times, it also helps to minimize panic among those in need as well as those responding to calls for assistance.

Mobile help is available in two forms: 1) local, premise-based mobile duress to protect individuals in a single building or multi-building campus and 2) wide-area mobile duress for coverage both on and off the premises. With local mobile duress, the wireless help buttons and supporting mesh network form a safety and security “bubble” over a property. Alerts include approximate location data thanks to vector mapping, which produces the three closest matches to the alarm source.

Wide-area mobile duress involves the use of cellular-based help buttons to provide GPS tracking, in addition to fall detection and hands-free, two-way talk.If an individual falls or activates the mobile duress button for any reason, alerts automatically go to the predefined emergency contacts and a voice call is established simultaneously. Even if the user is incapacitated, alerts are still generated.

Smart networks and devices makes it easier to implement situational awareness technology.

Thanks to smarter networks and devices, plus the software to tie all of them together, it’s easier and more cost-effective than ever to implement mobile duress as part of an organizational situational awareness strategy and technology framework. Other inputs and outputs can be added to integrate all life safety, security and environmental monitoring systems with communication end points for real-time, detailed alerts containing critical information about what’s happening, where it’s happening, and what to do about it.

Whether a school, university, hospital, senior living facility, manufacturing facility or hotel/resort, mobile help can enhance safety and security programs. To learn more, watch our webinar with Campus Safety, called Mobile Duress: A First Step to Situational Awareness.

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