Hotel Panic Buttons: How Do They Work?

Hotel Panic Buttons: How Do They Work and Why are They Essential for Hotels?

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According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 90 percent of housekeepers are women.  While in the process of performing their essential duties, these women are subjected to a high level of violence and sexual harassment.  According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), each year 2 million people report being victims of some type of workplace violence.  Workers who work alone or work late at night are more at risk of becoming victims of workplace violence.  And due to the nature of their jobs, hotel employees are required to come in contact with guests and are also required to work late hours and to work over night.

Why Are Hotel Panic Buttons Essential?

Hotel employees working in guestrooms perform physically demanding work that is crucial to the hotel operation.  Guestroom attendants are required to vacuum, clean bathroom floors and clean all areas of the bathroom.  Remove sheets, remake beds and dispose of used linens and garbage, just to name a few.  Most are assigned several rooms to work in during their shift and they have the right to feel safe and protected during the course of their jobs.  Surveys across the globe reveal that housekeepers are sexually assaulted at twice the rate as those in other industries.  A 2016 study found that 58% of hotel workers disclosed that they had been sexually harassed or assaulted during the course of their work.  A hospitality survey conducted in the UK found that 86% of responders had experienced one or more incidences of sexual harassment while at work.  The safety of those in the hospitality industry is of concern, as a 2016 report found that 9 out of 10 hospitality workers suffered some type of abuse during their dealings with guests.  In many cities and states, hotel panic button laws require hotels to provide their employees with panic buttons to ensure their safety while at work.

What are Hotel Panic Buttons/ Staff Alert?

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Staff Alert are employee safety devices that are more commonly known as hotel panic buttons, that can be carried by employees and dispatches emergency alerts that provide exact locations, allowing responders to reach employees within minutes.  Panic buttons can be worn around the neck, they can be attached to belts or anywhere on the employee’s clothing that is easily accessible in the event of an emergency.

How Do Hotel Panic Buttons Work?

Panic buttons are a legal requirement in many cities and states, most panic buttons utilize Bluetooth technology that provides precise locations in the event of an emergency.  Hotel panic buttons can utilize Bluetooth technology that is paired with mobile devices to deliver precise locations.  Most panic buttons operating on Bluetooth technology are App based and require a mobile log in to activate the App in order to activate an emergency alert.  There are panic buttons that operate by cellular LTE and do not require a mobile device, these panic buttons are connected directly to the available cellular network.  In order for panic buttons to be operable, location beacons must first be installed in each guestroom and will be assigned a unique location name.  Once the device is activated it identifies the closest location beacon and transmits precise locations that are updated if the distressed employee changes location.  Panic buttons can transmit locations down to the precise floor and room number where the distressed signal originated.

Once a panic button has been pressed indicating someone is in distress, a widespread emergency alert is sent out to the dispatch center in the hotel.  Panic buttons can also be configured to send emergency alerts to predetermined emergency contacts or to local authorities.  All information and updates are relayed in real time and if the employee in distress changes location, that will be updated as well.  Panic Buttons will continuously send a distress signal until the issue has been resolved.  A log will also be recorded by the dispatch center to be kept as record of all incidences.

Employees will retrieve their panic buttons at the start of their workdays.  Panic buttons can be worn around the neck, attached to belts or anywhere on the employee’s clothing that is easily accessible in the event of an emergency.  And at the end of their workdays, the employee will then return their panic button devices before they leave the premises.  Panic buttons can be powered by rechargeable batteries, non-rechargeable batteries or swappable devices that allows for the transfer of employee credentials.  Most employee safety devices are sophisticated enough to send a low battery signal to the managers in order to be swapped or to have batteries replaced.  The technology allows employees to be located on and off of the hotel premises, once an employee is off of the hotel premises, the device relies on GPS coordinates to get location.

Vendor Spotlight: RelayPro 

Hotel panic buttons are a new requirement for hotels, but they don’t have to be a new expense. RelayPro was recently approved by Marriott, IHG and Choice hotels and has been installed in nearly 2,000 properties.  RelayPro is BOTH a 4G/Wi-Fi walkie talkie and a cutting-edge panic button with VOICE communication.