New Jersey has become the very first state to require panic buttons for hotel worker safety, a major win for the state’s hospitality industry.

For many hotel employees, the threat of violence or harassment is a serious risk, especially when working alone. “Sometimes it’s a long floor of rooms, and you may be the only one working there,” according to a Tropicana housekeeper.

Support for the law soared after a 2018 sexual assault of a staff housekeeper by a Bally’s Casino guest, according to NBC News. The guest, a 51-year-old male, pushed the female employee into a room and assaulted her.

Hotel employees have reported numerous instances of assault, attempted assault, and harassment. The threat is not always from guests. A housekeeper at Caesars reported that she once attempted to service a guest room, only to open the door to two charging dogs.

Governor Phil Murphy explained in a statement reported in USA Today, “We must protect the safety of workers in the hospitality industry. This new law will ensure that hotel employees performing their duties will have the means to summon immediate assistance if they are in danger.”

The new law requires that any employee who works alone in a hotel with more than 25 guest rooms must be provided with a panic button to carry or wear at work.

How do hotel duress systems work?

Employees are provided with a push button pendant to wear on their wrist or a lanyard, or carry in a pocket. When the button is pressed, it transmits the signal wirelessly to a central station, typically in the hotel’s security headquarters. The most effective systems include the location of the call, and information about who requested help.

RCare, Inc. is the maker of the wireless Hospitality Suite. This reliable and durable hotel crisis system uses military-grade RF, a signal protocol proven to be far more reliable than WiFi or Bluetooth, to ensure every alert is received. It has a wide listening range, even in the oldest buildings with challenging infrastructure. It uses Advanced Locating Protocol (ALP) to send location information with every call, so valuable time isn’t wasted determining where help is needed.

While New Jersey is the first state to mandate hotel duress systems, several cities, including Sacramento, Long Beach, and Chicago, have passed similar laws, and a few major hotel firms have taken the lead in proactively providing these devices for their employees’ safety.

In case of an emergency, you want to ensure that everyone in your building feels protected and safe. RCare’s wireless ALP Hospitality Suite can help. Want to know more about hotel duress systems? Contact RCare to find out how they can enhance the safety and security for your hospitality staff.