Zello Releases New Emergency “Panic Button” Feature

Michal Christine Escobar
Senior Editor (Hotels)
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Zello, a push-to-talk voice messaging service that enables communication and collaboration for workers, teams, and communities, announced the launch of Emergency Alerts, its new “panic button” feature.  ZelloWork users in crisis situations can now simply press a button to send (with high priority) both their location and an audio recording to a designated emergency channel. Doing so immediately shares the nature and details of the emergency to all parties who should know and can then respond accordingly.

Emergency Alerts keeps customers’ employees safe, informed, and connected. This add-on feature is available to ZelloWork users for an additional $2.00 per month, per user, and is especially powerful for businesses with lone workers, remote workers, and/or field workers. Through mass communication and geolocation sharing, employees can quickly respond to and resolve crises and emergencies.

Here’s how it works: Workers in distress press the Emergency Alerts button, which is accessible via the Zello app’s talk screen or on supported devices with a red alert button. Once the button is pressed, Zello automatically:

  • Records and sends a message to the emergency channel
  • Sends the user’s location to the emergency channel
  • Gives emergency messages priority over other messages until the crisis ends

Once the initiator of the emergency is no longer in distress, they can dismiss the emergency alert. Everything that occurs on the app during an emergency is recorded, providing a valuable record of the event that transpired.

Push-to-talk capabilities are critical to workers who don’t sit at desks - those who work out in the field, spend time driving, or work on the manufacturing floor. These workers are sometimes in dangerous conditions and sometimes work alone. The responsibility falls on employers to keep their workers safe and provide them with a means to communicate in emergency situations. For example, California passed a law in 2018 that requires hotels to provide their workers with a panic button (Section 6403.7 of the Labor Code).

The Emergency Alerts feature is especially relevant for businesses if: 

  • Your workers are dispersed, work in dangerous conditions, or work alone. 
  • Your team members require an efficient method of notifying everyone about the nature and location of an emergency.
  • Your emergency communication tool needs to work in critical conditions, like if power lines fail and only low bandwidth (2G) data networks or WiFi are available.
  • You need a special group of people to instantly receive notifications when anyone on your team has an emergency.
  • You want to give your team members peace of mind, no matter where they’re located.

Emergency Alert is useful in any event when team members are at risk, including:

  • When security guards need backup during an escalating incident
  • When housekeeping is working in a remote wing & their personal safety is threatened
  • When drivers or truckers have accidents on the road
  • Equipment malfunction or user error
  • Injuries and other urgent medical situations
  • Release of hazardous substances
  • Threats of violence
  • When a taxi or limo driver has a rider that becomes drunk, aggressive, or takes off without paying
  • Emergency response to natural disasters like fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods

ZelloWork users can enable the Emergency Alert feature by logging in to their management console as an administrator and following these steps:

  1. Go to Settings > Common > Emergency button
  2. Select channel for emergency notifications
  3. Select how long the emergency button must be pressed
  4. Click Save and Apply

Zello, which is available on Android, iOS, and Windows platforms, is wildly popular among consumers (& was the #1 app on iTunes when Hurricane Irma hit the Caribbean).  The app is also gaining popularity among businesses, as it enables communication and cooperation in real time, particularly for lone or desk-less workers, including folks in the retail, manufacturing, construction, hospitality and transportation industries.