Out of sight but on your mind: How to set up your staff for success in an emergency


by Danielle Myers, Status Solutions

In an emergency situation, lives are on the line, time is of the essence, and employees are the front line. Management relies on its employees to make the right decisions and alert the right people. But to do this, employees must have proper technology and information. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are an estimated 3,900 hotel and motel fires that cause 15 deaths, 100 injuries, and $100 million in property losses each year – all situations in which employees are called into action and their decision making becomes essential. The right technology arms employees with the proper information to make the best decision possible when protecting hotel property, guests, staff, and even lives.


When people choose a hotel to stay or work in, they are choosing a temporary home and shelter for themselves and their family, one they expect to be safe and secure. In the event of an emergency on hotel property, employees are often first responders. Tasking your staff with this can seem daunting, but enlisting help from technology gives staff the ability to analyze situations in real time to make educated decisions or even proactively prevent an emergency. When this is done properly, it can result not only in streamlining communication and improved efficiencies among staff but also improve the safety of your workplace overall.


Having an efficient communication system is the first step. Communication technology should be streamlined, efficient, redundant, and instantaneous. This can include an immediate alert system, which not only instantly notifies first responders but also is easy to use. Additionally, using multiple communication endpoints is essential to ensuring redundancy, which is critical for life safety. During an emergency, employees may not have the time or the physical ability to do anything more than push a button, making calling for help impossible. While simple to activate, alert systems need to immediately disseminate proper information such as type of hazard, status of the event and even location. With this information, the first responders onsite or off have detailed information about the situation and can take the appropriate next steps to resolve the issue.


With a number of services in the industry calling staff to all parts of the property, at times miles apart, they need to know they are protected no matter where they are or what service they are providing. In addition, the hotel industry often requires 24-hour maintenance, with a constant need for information sharing across the property. Knowing the exact location of an emergency allows improved information flow for faster, more efficient emergency alerting and response management. Having eyes on a situation to see exactly what is occurring where empowers your staff to have more information when making key, potentially lifesaving decisions for themselves and others. Reassuring your employees that no matter where they go in the property, they are never alone gives them peace of mind knowing their safety is your top priority.


When it comes to the well-being of your property, don’t wait for guests and staff to tell you about an issue, let your building tell you. With environmental monitoring, you can prevent the loss of convenience and comfort, as well as valuable equipment, inventories, and infrastructure for normal business operations. A variety of wireless sensors exist for environmental monitoring, including those for checking the operational status and proper function of HVAC systems, power generators and boilers, logging temperatures within medical-grade refrigerators as required for regulatory compliance, and detecting water/humidity. If a sudden change occurs or an acceptable threshold is exceeded, an alert goes to appropriate staff for investigation and remediation. Day-to-day operations at a hotel can be overwhelming, so let technology help you automate this process and take this one off your list. Protecting your property is essential to keeping those on your property safe.


Technology can empower employees to take control of their own safety – it is an integral part of their own safety plan. Knowing the environment and what could be dangerous in and around it puts your employees in the driver seat. By giving them the reassurance of safety, through the proper technology, they can focus on their tasks at hand and create the most optimal guest experience.

Overall, technology can protect employees and guests, streamline communication, improve information flow for more efficient emergency response, and empower employees to take control of their own environment. All of these factors are essential to improving the work environment, thus increasing employee retention. As technology continues to advance and move forward, the hospitality industry must take advantage of innovations in order to continue to employ top talent and provide the best guest experience.

Danielle Myers is the general manager of Status Solutions, a risk management and situational awareness technology company.


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