Panic button maker displays devices that protect hotel workers

Chief Product Officer David Simpson demonstrates how a button activates the MadeSafe alert system, which identifies the location of employees in distress, at the Cosmopolitan, Wednesday, July 18, 2018.

When a housekeeper at many Las Vegas hotels feels their well-being is threatened or comes across a guest having a medical emergency, the solution to a fast response is closer than ever.

A panic button is being introduced at many Strip properties, giving workers a quick way to signal for help. The measure was a key part of the negotiations this summer when union officials coordinated on contract extensions for local service workers.

“Businesses have realized they have to do more to protect their employees,” said David Simpson, chief product officer of Dallas-based panic button technology company, Enseo. “This will soon be all over the country.”

MadeSafe Alert System

A set of Personal Locator Devices that activate the MadeSafe alert system which identifies the location of employees in distress at the Cosmopolitan are seen here, Wednesday, July 18, 2018. Launch slideshow »

Enseo officials showed off its technology Wednesday at Cosmopolitan, one of many properties on the Strip planning to have panic devices for workers.

When a housekeeper or other hotel staffer holds down a small red button for 3.5 seconds on Enseo’s product — already in use in over 100,000 hotel rooms in New York and Washington, D.C. — radio signals and a custom algorithm alert hotel security of the exact room where a button is pushed. The mobile handheld devices, measuring just under three inches in length, feature the small button in a groove so it can’t accidentally be activated when inadvertently sat on.

Such devices, Simpson said, are intended for any profession that separates employees in locations that are not always exact, as opposed to a traditional office atmosphere where staff work together in the same rooms. Besides hotels, Simpson said Enseo’s “MadeSafe” panic button is also used in Texas school districts.

Bethany Khan, the Culinary Union spokeswoman, said many MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment properties as well as the Westgate Las Vegas have already begun using panic buttons as a security device for housekeeping union members. The protection was added for the 50,000 union workers throughout 34 Strip and downtown properties in new five-year contract agreements signed last month.

Casinos that have not yet fully implemented the panic buttons will do so by the end of 2018, Khan said. The union is still in contract negotiations with nine casinos, affecting 4,000 of its members.