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Gallions Housing Association Use Skyguard to Protect their Lone Workers

27 February 2013
 February 27, 2013

Gallions Housing Association has turned to Skyguard to protect their front-line lone workers and help reduce potential risks that they may face on a daily basis.

Skyguard provide the London-based Housing Association’s lone workers with the MySOS – Europe’s smallest personal alarm. The MySOS allows users to discreetly raise an alarm at the press of a button, which is linked to Skyguard’s 24/7 manned UK-based Incident Management Centre. From here, any conflict or incident will be managed quickly and efficiently – giving peace of mind to those who carry Skyguard’s personalised protection.

Created in 2000, Gallions now manages over 6,000 properties within Greater London. More than just a landlord, Gallions ensures they look after the communities and the unique needs of their residents. Gallions employ over 200 dedicated staff concentrated in six London boroughs (Bexley, Greenwich, Havering, Lewisham, Newham and Tower Hamlets).

Barbara Tomlin, Facilities Manager for Gallions was tasked with sourcing a BS 8484 approved, fully managed lone worker protection solution for their Neighbourhood Service and Revenue teams and Ground Maintenance staff. After extensive research looking for the right solution, Barbara chose Skyguard.

Barbara was impressed with Skyguard’s close working relationship with the Police. Not only does over half the UK’s police forces trust and use Skyguard to protect the most vulnerable in their protection, but Skyguard have Unique Reference Numbers (URNs) for all of the UK’s Police forces, giving us direct access to their control rooms. This allows our Incident Management Centre Controllers to bypass the 999 service and guarantee a faster response in an emergency. Barbara explains “We signed up with Skyguard because of their direct links to the Police. From personal experience, knowing that having a GPS location and not having to make a 999 call is a lot faster and more effective.”

Soon after signing up with Skyguard, Gallion’s lone workers were each issued with their own MySOS personal safety device. And they were immediately impressed. Weighing only 40 grams, it’s the lightest alarm in the marketplace today. Barbara continues “What really set the MySOS apart from other devices is the small, compact design, and being similar to a key fob, it’s discreet. The guys like the fact that it can be worn behind their ID badges too” (by using the optional ID holster accessory).

But it’s not just the MySOS personal safety alarm that continues to please Barbara and all at Gallions. Skyguard’s custom-built secure online portal – the Customer Service Centre (CSC) – allows every client of Skyguard the flexibility to create new users, update vital information and assign devices to different users at the click of a button, with changes made live, in real-time. In fact, more than one user can be instantly assigned to a personal safety device at no extra cost… something unique offered by Skyguard. Barbara explains how this is useful to her.

“We have a couple of pooled (shared) devices for late workers. Someone can come along to me and ask “Have you got a spare device because I’m working late tonight?” It’s a good option to have. All I have to do is drag and drop the shared device onto the user in the CSC and they’re instantly covered – it’s that easy.”

“Although, for me, the most impressive part of the CSC is the ability for some of our staff, especially those with medical conditions, to log onto the CSC, input all of their details and it’s there, first-hand, should they have a medical emergency. For us, it’s not solely about protecting our lone workers. It’s also about the welfare of all of our staff, particularly those with medical conditions. We like to give them that little bit of extra security.”

How it Works
Now, all of Gallions’ lone workers are protected 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by Skyguard. If at any time, the worker feels threatened or at risk, help is just one button away. Upon receiving an alarm, our Controllers know who the user is and where they are (via GPS positioning). They have access to the user’s personal details, such as medical conditions, which can be updated via the Customer Service Centre portal.

Our Controllers will listen to what’s happening, and if it’s safe to do so, talk to the user to advise and reassure. If it’s not safe to talk, the user doesn’t need to say a word… we’ll send assistance right away, if necessary. Controllers can provide the location to ensure they are found quickly. After reviewing all the information and the user’s personalised escalation instructions a course of action is decided. Police or Paramedic response may be requested, our 1,000+ vehicle National Response Service could be summoned, or someone designated by the employer. Our controllers understand that a rapid response to an emergency is absolutely critical – any delay could mean the difference between life and death. For this reason, every alarm call we receive is treated as life-threatening, and managed until the response service is there, or we are satisfied the threat has been neutralised.
“I’d definitely recommend Skyguard to other organisations with lone workers. In fact, Gallions is part of a group of nine housing associations in the area and we’ve discussed Skyguard’s service within the forum. We’ve put forward Skyguard’s name to those who don’t currently have lone worker protection in place.”

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