Home not always where the heart is

Home; not always where the heart is

In some respects, humans are just like this summer’s weather. You can’t predict people, and you can’t predict the forecast – and when you’re in the middle of it, conditions can be challenging and leave you hot around the collar.

The risks facing housing sector workers

Housing associations fulfil a vital property management service but working in this sector can put lone workers at risk. First, there are the practical logistics: you could be a housing officer travelling to different properties within a community, either by car or on foot. It could be a location that you’re unfamiliar with, or one that is poorly lit (i.e. a housing block). Alternatively a property might have inadequate or no parking, which could involve walking through areas where a lone worker feels vulnerable or uncomfortable. That’s even before entering a property – and you simply don’t know what you are walking into. It could be a physical risk, say a building that has fallen into disrepair. Or perhaps a volatile environment where emotions are running high.

Essential services in challenging circumstances

Ultimately housing associations provide an essential service to vulnerable people facing challenging times in their lives who need a safe place to stay or live. The scenarios can be wide-ranging and change on a daily basis. The terrified woman on the run from an abusive partner. An asylum seeker with a young family who has nowhere to call home. The single parent living on the poverty line who can’t pay the rent. Someone who is battling drug and alcohol addiction. Or an elderly person living alone in sheltered accommodation. It’s all there: worry, fear, stress, loneliness or the threat of outside violence. When people feel desperate or that their security is at stake, anything can happen.

The lone worker dealing with these types of situations has a startling amount of hats to wear, no matter their experience. It’s vital that their own personal safety is 100% covered.

‘Staff have much more confidence using the SOS Fob’

That’s why we’re already helping. Notting Hill Genesis is just one of the major housing associations who have come to Lone Worker Solutions for their safety solutions. As a leading London housing association, they own and manage more than 32,000 properties across the capital. 400 staff across the group have been set up with our SOS Fob safety devices, receiving rave reviews in the process. As Steve Salmon explains: “Staff have much more confidence using the SOS Fob devices than any lone worker device we’ve used in the past.” Discreet, durable and wearable, SOS Fob is a personal tracking device linked to an Alarm Receiving Centre where highly trained staff can offer emergency assistance 24/7.

Always watch the safety demonstration

There is no point having a piece of award-winning safety kit if you don’t know how to use it. We provide essential Personal Safety Training to every employee who will wear one of our devices. We were contacted by the Calico Group, who own and manage 4,600 homes across Lancashire as well as women’s refuges and dedicated facilities for vulnerable people. We provided their community-based staff with training which not only gave them the ease and skills to use our devices, but also the confidence and peace of mind to know that they’re protected, whatever the scenario.

As anyone who’s gone on holiday recently and sat through a recent airline safety demonstration knows, you put your own oxygen mask on before you help others. That’s what we’re all about at LWS. Safety first. We just can’t guarantee the complimentary drink and packet of dry roasted peanuts.

Contact Lone Worker Solutions and the Safe Hub team today

Post by George Stavrinidis, Chief Executive Officer of Lone Worker Solutions (LWS).