Does My Reception Area Need a Panic Button?

Does My Reception Area Need A Panic Button?

Through my experience, I have had many people ask me about their workplace
safety and reception area.  I have noticed that each place has unique threats and they’re looking at a way to increase safety and security.  I always want to make sure they have a response plan in place in the event an intruder has made entry into their facility.  Incident response is the most important part of workplace safety and security.  The idea of a panic button is a tool that can be used in conjunction with procedures that are designed to greatly reduce injury.

So…yes, your reception area does need a panic button!  There are too many threats in all industries to not have a direct link to first responders.  The bigger question is what would be the best bang for the buck.  Most threats start at the entrance of a facility and that is where the immediate response can start as well.  I believe most people are unsure of how a panic button actually works since they vary.  I always recommend using technology to create a safer environment.

Does installing a panic button require hard wiring?

In some cases panic buttons require hard wiring into the phone system.  This usually requires a representative from the phone company coming out and actually running the wires.  In other cases, you can have a “plug and play” push panic button.  This means you can plug the panic button into a spare USB port of any computer and will work with a certain alert or panic system.  The option of “plug and play” is a much better option for time, money, and efficiency.

Can the panic button make a phone call?

This depends on what service you get.  Places like museums, shopping malls, schools, and courthouses may have their own in house security to respond to situations.  The most important part of having a phone call placed is to ensure it goes directly to your local responders.  Make sure you can designate what responders would benefit ending the crises as soon as possible.

Should I have a policy on the use of a panic button? 

Yes!  I wouldn’t be specific as to what would or would not constitute an emergency, and I wouldn’t get too situational.  I recommend making sure the policy clearly distinguishes ideas of what could be considered an emergency and what wouldn’t be.  The policy could be something as simple as any situation that is (or potentially) life threatening.  This will make it clear that whenever the panic is broadcasted that an emergency is underway and response tactics need to be deployed.

Where should I put panic button in my facility?

This is hard to narrow down since each facility and industry faces different situations or threats.  At face value, I recommend putting them near all entry points and in areas that are more prone to outburst.  The most important thing is to get first responders notified as soon as possible while ensuring staff is alerted and responding accordingly.

I hope these few topics gave you enough information to make a viable decision on what is best for your facility.  Remember, everyone knows there’s a problem, so focusing on solutions deserves more attention.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a fool proof plan to ensure there won’t be injury; however, there are ways to have you and your staff respond to active crises that can greatly reduce the opportunity for injury.  Please email me at if you have any questions.

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