The charity’s mission is to support families in the Yorkshire region who are coping with the emotional and financial strain of life-limiting illnesses or disabilities to their child. Their activities involve fundraising to help cover treatments, medical care and home modifications. The charity also provides one-on-one counselling with those affected.
When someone gets in touch with the charity, staff will first arrange an initial meeting. This often takes place in the person’s home as this is a familiar environment and helps puts them at ease. However, in some cases emotions may run high, especially when tackling difficult subject matters.
Charity Manager and Trustee, Simon Widdop explains further: “Our team members visit families in their homes to help process requests for support from the charity. This is a first point of contact with the charity and staff could be open to abuse or threats of violence.”
If staff are working on their own, they need some way of getting help should things take an untoward turn. As Simon says, “We were looking for a small, effective device to protect team members visiting people’s homes.”
He continues, “The Skyguard service covered our needs completely. MySOS is a small device that can be worn on a lanyard, so it doesn’t stand out.”
The MySOS – a compact personal safety alarm can be activated discreetly by a user pressing the SOS button on the device. It’s small enough to fit in a pocket but can also be attached securely to a belt, worn around the neck or slotted onto the back of an identity badge holder.
Devices are linked to an Incident Management Centre (IMC) so when a user raises an alert, this opens up a two-way audio connection allowing them to speak directly with Skyguard’s Controllers. From there assistance can be given by an experienced team who are specially trained in dealing with situations of this nature. If a user can’t speak as doing so would aggravate matters, Controllers listen in for a period of time to assess whether they can hear signs of danger.
Duress codes can also be specified that signify immediate help is required. This is especially useful to staff doing home visits as when faced with someone who is aggravated, calling the Police may make things worse. It’s important to handle these situations very carefully as people who are going through difficult times, may panic and behave unpredictably.
When Controllers have assessed the level of risk, they can summon the emergency services and provide a fast response by bypassing the usual 999 systems. Skyguard’s IMC staff can also see who has activated an alarm and their exact location through an online portal. This information can then be swiftly passed onto Police, saving vital minutes.
When asked about which features of the service were particularly important, Simon Widdop commented, “The real-time tracking allows the office to track remote workers should they fail to report in.”
Having easy access to location reporting helps assure the charity that all staff are accounted for. If more specific information on a user’s whereabouts is required – for example the exact door number if visiting flats – then voice messages can be recorded through MySOS beforehand. These voice memos are available to Controllers on alarm activation.
Having a reliable system to fall back on increases worker confidence, meaning the charity can focus on providing support to those in need, whilst knowing that Skyguard are on hand 24/7 to look after their own safety. As Simon says:
MySOS is available for a free 30-day trial, please get in touch with us if you’d like to learn more.