The Staff Attack Alarm – 7 Things to Consider
If you have a requirement for a staff attack alarm, it’s likely that you already have some idea of what you need. We’ve put together a few items for you to consider;
1, Wired or Wireless?
In general for a new build or refurbishment, a wired staff attack alarm is the obvious choice. The cables can be run in and hidden in the wall during the construction.
Designing a wireless staff attack alarm so that it’s fit for a given environment requires some careful planning and attention. A modified wireless nurse call point will not do in the vast majority of cases.
See our post on Wireless Panic Alarms
2, Nurse Call Integration
Often the need for a staff attack alarms go hand in hand with the need for a nurse call system, particularly in a secure hospital environment. With this in mind, it’s unlikely that nurse call in these situations will be straightforward. This can be done with either, stainless steel faceplates and/or isolation of the nurse call point when a service user is troublesome. For ease of installation, use and maintenance it makes sense to have both nurse call and staff attack on the same system.
3, Vandal Resistance
When an assistance event is initiated, the alarm needs to be transmitted to responders. There are installations where pagers are appropriate for this purpose, and others where a fixed alarm display and sounder are better suited.
For the latter, it’s likely that a display will become a “target” for some service users and so should be robust enough to withstand unwanted attention. Therefore, stainless steel variants are often better suited to this duty.
4, Pagers & Paging
Often raising an alarm needs to be discrete, an overt response could exasperate the situation. In that situation where this is likely, it may be more appropriate to quietly alert responders by pager.
Pagers have the advantage that if the responders are in a location remote from the attack event. A pagers range will still cover all but the largest facilities.
5, RTLS – Real Time Location Systems or Security Location System
There are some situations when it’s advantageous for security teams to know where staff are in the building. With these situations, a system that tracks personnel through the building or department may be more appropriate. They do not necessarily require expensive GPS trackers or constant input from the user. These systems are invisible and fobs can be quietly tracked as they move from location to location around the building.
6, Panic Alarm Systems for Smaller Premises
There are many situations where staff have duties that means they may need to quickly and unexpectedly call for assistance. It may be that these areas do not extend throughout the building, limited to a few rooms.
Normally, a full infra-red based system is not required. An alert is an infrequent event, ensuring staff have a charged personal fob with them can be a management challenge.
In these situations, a discrete, fixed button or indeed a much less discrete dado panic alarm strip may well be more appropriate. Generally, this will be picked up and assessed through a risk assessment.
7 Secure Hospitals & Custodial Premises
For obvious reasons in these secure environments, the risk of attack is very real and the means to call for assistance has to be right. Our experience suggests that IR with RF as a backup is an excellent balance between cost and efficiency.
We would normally install in IR receiver in all rooms, corridors and any cupboard large enough to push someone in. Therefore a retained fob is always preferable over those which are thrown.
Worries about loss of “line of sight” contact with the receiver are usually unfounded. During an the fob is constantly moving and the IR light is readily bounced of wall and ceilings. In the very rare event that a light signal cannot get through, radio is there as a backup. Whilst radio does not give the accuracy of IR, it will give a close enough approximation.