Technical Tips: Duress Alarms

A duress alarm is an electronic device designed to send an alert message when a threat to persons or property occurs and immediate security assistance is required. The alarm consists of a push button to signal an emergency, which when activated, alerts one or more people on the premises.


Panic buttons can be stationary and placed at strategic locations in the building, such as the reception area. Alternatively they can be mobile and worn as a belt clip, with a neck lanyard or with a wrist band.


Duress alarm systems can provide notifications in a variety of ways. Larger systems will have a computer, usually a PC that intercepts and processes alarms. Duress alarms can then be displayed on a monitor and a variety of other actions can be taken. The central computer can make an announcement over the facility hand held radios, pagers or telephones so that the proper security personnel are notified.