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Complying with Hotel Panic Button Ordinances or Union Contracts

Adam Havey

Recently, local safety ordinances including Section 4-6-180 of the Chicago Municipal Code, Seattle Initiative 124, and New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council, AFL-CIO contract section 70 mandated panic buttons for hotel workers.

Panic buttons are rapidly spreading as a way to protect hotel employees who work alone and enter guest rooms. Seattle was the first city to enact a panic button ordinance. The city council of Long Beach, Calif., narrowly voted one down earlier this year, but the city council of Chicago passed one last month. Hotels in New York City are already required to provide panic buttons under a collective bargaining agreement with labor unions.

Here are several important considerations as you chose a solution:

  • Lost buttons: what happens when a staff member loses their panic button? Make sure your vendor can quickly replace lost buttons at a reasonable cost. Think about keeping extra buttons on hand – the greater of three or 5% of your total cushions you against loss. For example, if you have a team of 100 people, order 105 buttons so you have some spares.
  • Installation Time: how long does the vendor need, in each room, to install the product? Will you need to take rooms off the market for installation (i.e. it will take more than an hour or two to install?)
  • Loss of Revenue During Construction: does the proposed solution require construction? If so, add in construction costs and lost revenue. Ask them to estimate the number of days a room will be off line for construction and take that into account when projecting your cash flow.
  • Installation Noise: if the proposed solution requires construction, will you need to keep the adjacent rooms empty due to noise? Ask your vendor how they plan to minimize disruption to other rooms on the floor.
  • Who gets the call? Find out if your vendor offers options when your staff use their buttons. Does the vendor provide their own dispatch service as either the primary or backup for the call? Do they allow your security team to receive the call for internal investigation before police are summoned? If you use their dispatcher, do you have a choice between having the dispatcher call your security team and the local police?
  • Response time: if your staff member hits their panic button, how long before your security team gets a call? Are police showing up without warning?
  • Remodeling and Deep Cleaning: what happens if you need to remodel or deep clean your rooms? Will you incur a new installation fee?
  • Accidental alerts – what happens if someone accidentally pushes the button? Can you avoid having the police show up and disrupt guests?

Guard Llama offers a no-construction solution that installs in under 15 minutes per room. Our Wall Hub plugs into any outlet and can be hidden behind furniture or under the bed. Hotel Staff carry a button that will alert security or dispatch in a 150 foot radius from a hub. With a hub in every room, we can locate your staff within inches. Hubs and Fobs are inexpensive and quickly replaced because they’re assembled in the USA.

When it comes to “getting the call” we offer you a choice;

  1. Chose to have our system alert your security team so they can respond, or
  2. Chose to alert our dispatch center who will then call your security team. If you chose this option and your security team doesn’t answer, our team will dispatch local police to  the floor and room number alerted.

We also offer a secure disarm process – you’ll get a code to give dispatch in case of an accidental alert, allowing you to avoid a disruptive police presence.

Contact [email protected] to learn more.

Adam Havey Co-Founder
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