This section provides guidance on when duress alarms (duress) should be used, such as in the event of serious and dangerous situations when normal telephone operation is not practical and when an urgent and immediate response is required.
Most residential group homes have a duress connected to the main telephone line. Pressing and holding the buttons on a portable duress for three seconds activates this alarm.
Residential care workers must carry the duress on their person at all times while on shift. Failure to do so could lead to Workers’ Compensation being refused if it is deemed that the incident was foreseeable and residential care workers did not take reasonable steps to protect themselves.
Duress alarms should be used in serious and dangerous situations that can no longer be managed when normal telephone operation is not practical, and when an urgent and immediate response is required. If unsure, activate the alarm.
At the beginning of each shift the portable duress alarms must be taken over from staff on the previous shift.
Many country residential group homes do not have an emergency alarm system due to their remoteness and the lack of security companies able to respond. Residential care workers should instead call 000.
After the emergency, residential care workers must reset the wall mounted alarm unit. It will not respond to further duress signals until this is done. This should be done at the earliest possible time.
The name and contact number of the security company and voice code should be displayed clearly next to the main office telephone in each residential facility.
If the mains power fails, the control room will receive a signal to indicate mains failure and the unit will automatically revert to battery power.
Note: If the security company does not receive all duress signals, further testing is necessary to identify which unit is not working. Residential care workers must: