Blog

18 Mar 20

How can a duress alarm help council worker safety?

Alayna Hansen | Lone Worker Safety

Council workers should be able to feel safe and secure wherever they are, whether it is visiting a member of the community, working alone or in an unfamiliar location.

MePACS has over 30 years’ experience in emergency response and thousands of council employees in Victoria are now using the MePACS Duress Alarm.

MePACS can give council workers peace of mind as a lone worker, knowing help from a 24/7 emergency response service is only one press of a button away with the MePACS duress alarm.

 

Lone Worker Safety for council workers

In a local council, lone workers can include people who work in manual labour, community care, social work, law enforcement and animal management.

Lone worker safety is paramount. Before undertaking any independent role, it is advised that council workers should follow internal protocols regarding potential risks in the environment they are working in.

In the community, council workers will often visit the following locations and record certain information to MePACS, such as a unit number or any perceived risks:

  • A potential ‘High Risk’ client
  • High rise apartment building
  • Caravan park
  • Cluster development, such as a large retirement complex

mobile-alarm A MePACS duress alarm can provide reassurance to lone workers who have concern for their safety or are in an unsafe situation and need to call for help at any hour of the day or night.

Whatever the workplace, there are many unexpected situations where wearing a duress alarm can help, including a medical emergency, fire, theft or act of violence.

Workers in local councils can be confronted with aggression from clients, residents, co-workers, members of the public and even animals.

Insulting gestures and expressions, verbal abuse, and intimidating physical behaviour are all forms of occupational aggression. These incidents can affect productivity levels and have a direct impact on the company itself due to ongoing stress.

Employers must ensure that their staff feel safe and supported in their role.

A duress alarm can give council workers the confidence to get on with their job, which can ultimately reduce employee stress, sick leave and retain staff numbers.

If workplace aggression were to occur, a council worker should calmly take steps to remove themselves from an unsafe situation. If they cannot do this, they can reduce the threat of the situation by raising a duress alarm to MePACS for help.

 

Duress system for council workers

Often working independently, council workers can be isolated from immediate help. Wearing a duress alarm either around your neck or clipped to your pants can provide support and emergency help when you need it most.

The Duress Alarm System offered by MePACS is a small alarm, roughly the size of a credit card, which can quickly and easily be activated in the event of an issue by the press of a button.  It is connected to a 24/7 response service monitored by trained professionals, who will answer within two minutes. The alarm has two way communication, so the user and operator can correspond about the situation.

MePACS duress wearable alarms can also be shared by council workers in a team. If you are using a shared device, you are required to check in each day to the response centre by pressing the button and waiting for a response.

The operator may ask for your name and mobile phone number, which can help with identifying where the worker is in an emergency situation.

It is also recommended to press the device before entering a clients’ residence in order to test mobile reception and confirm location if you have not attended this client or location previously.

Colac Otway Shire use MePACS duress alarms “predominantly for staff who work within community settings, and also for staff frequently working alone and/or remotely within our shire”.

“We chose MePACS to provide us with a solution for duress alarms as they are cost effective and easy to use, providing 24/7 monitoring”.

Over 90% of MePACS Duress clients say they feel more supported by their organisation by offering them a duress alarm.

 

How does a MePACS Duress Alarm work?

Time is of the essence in a duress situation – using a MePACS duress alarm can be much quicker than finding a mobile phone or logging into apps.

In the instance of a threatening situation, the user can press the help button and the signal will go through to the MePACS response centre. The operators will talk to the user via the duress alarm and then call for the most appropriate help, which could be a manager, security personnel or an emergency service.

The duress alarm works anywhere with mobile reception, which is indicated on the alarm by two lights that flash green for good coverage, and orange for no coverage.  It also has a GPS locator and a battery life of up to 15 hours, depending on how it is used.

81% of users with a MePACS Duress Alarm feel safer when out and about.

 

How can a MePACS Duress Alarm help with a client’s welfare?

Ideally, the client should also have a personal alarm. If they don’t have one or cannot press it themselves, then the council worker may press their own duress alarm and speak to an operator, who can call 000 and get the necessary help as soon as possible for their client.

Download MePACS Duress Alarm Brochure join now

Getting help quickly during a duress situation can make all the difference. We believe your team is safer with MePACS.