Why the Panic Button is so 1990

When an elderly person falls in their home or when a worker in the field suffers an accident, chances are good that they rely on technology to save their lives. Communication is the cornerstone to emergency alerting and response, with speed of communication and quality being a critical factor.

Twenty years ago, cell phones were massive devices that were paired with a large briefcase-sized battery, the internet was not yet the world-wide technological phenomenon that it is today, and people were using panic buttons to signal emergencies. Today, cell phones are smaller than a wallet, the internet can be found in homes around the world including third-world countries, and people are still using panic buttons. Strangely enough, while every other piece of human technology has advanced and evolved to become more effective and better meet our needs, the system which is meant to help save lives and improve our survival as a species has simply stagnated, refusing to adapt and overcome its own inherent challenges. Well… that’s not entirely true. In fact technology HAS advanced and we do have methods of emergency alerting that are better than the panic button, they just haven’t been generally adopted yet.


In this day-in-age, automation has become a standard in so many processes worldwide allowing us to perform tasks faster and faster. Safety alerting has likewise been touched by the automation revolution. Intelligent fall-detection devices, no-motion (man-down) alerting, geo-fencing and other forms of automated alerting allow us to receive safety status information faster than ever before… and yet the panic button is still prolific, finding a place in the majority of safety devices using manual alerting.

The Alternative

Manual alerting will always be a necessary part of safety monitoring. It is inevitable that an event will occur at some point in which a worker will need to signal an alert that the device cannot detect on its own, and yet the panic button, in spite of being the obvious answer, is far from the best one. Its successor is the emergency latch.

Much like a panic button, an emergency latch allows users to quickly signal an alert when necessary. Unlike the mischievous panic button however, an emergency latch does not suffer from the nasty habit of setting off false alarms whenever the user bumps into an object. Being just as easy to use and employ as a panic button, the emergency latch is a superior method of emergency alerting as it can also be used in conjunction with additional alert types. Blackline’s Loner devices for instance, incorporate silent emergency alerting by employing a button underneath the emergency latch, allowing the emergency system to operate exactly as desired without compromising quality for convenience.

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