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Personal Distress Devices for Health Care Personnel (From Violence in the Medical Care Setting, P 225-229, 1984, James T Turner, ed. - See NCJ-95939)

NCJ Number
R W Doms
Date Published
5 pages
This paper focuses on questions which health care administrators must address when selecting a duress system.
Prior to selecting a duress system, administrators must perform an objective evaluation of the facility. They should determine the risk areas, learn who requires a duress alarm, discover who would respond in the event of an emergency and where the request for assistance would be received, and determine when the threat exists. Administrators should learn whether the system could be used to monitor other events, such as unauthorized intrusion, fire, or temperature deviation; determine if the system requires personnel to wear or carry individual transmitters and if those transmitters would be acceptable to the personnel involved; and finally, determine the costs. Three categories of duress alarm systems are described. The least costly is the hardwired system, which consists of strategically placed panic buttons installed throughout the threat areas and hardwired to a monitoring site. The satellite receiver system, which uses a combination of radio frequency and hardwire, is more expensive and offers more versatility. It consists of strategically located receivers mounted throughout the threat area, each of which is hardwired to a central monitoring console. The most versatile is the direct radio frequency system. It has the highest acquisition cost, but is the easiest and least expensive to install. Advantages and disadvantages of each system are noted.