FIRST-EVER PERSONAL EMERGENCY SERVICE FOR BRITISH TRAVELLERS LAUNCHED

15 Aug 2011

Skyguard International creates instant back-up across 36 countries Emergency response specialist Skyguard has today launched the first-ever personal emergency service for British travellers...

Skyguard International creates instant back-up across 36 countries

Emergency response specialist Skyguard has today launched the first-ever personal emergency service for British travellers and lone workers abroad.

Skyguard International (www.skyguardgroup.com) gives travellers the power to summon help at the press of a button if they find themselves in trouble overseas. Initially the service is live across 34 European countries, the Russian Federation and South Africa.

The launch comes hot on the heels of the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s British Behaviour Abroad report, which revealed 19,228 Brits have needed assistance overseas during the past 12 months, with Spain producing the most incidents.

Travellers can activate the emergency Skyguard International service using a key-fob sized device called MySOS. The MySOS is the smallest GPS alarm of its kind in Europe, and can be discreetly attached to keys, a belt or worn on a lanyard. Skyguard’s service also runs as an app on a BlackBerry, with the handset’s convenience side key acting as the alarm button.

Alarms containing the user’s location and identity go directly to Skyguard’s Incident Management Centre in the UK, where trained controllers can listen in, talk if it’s safe to do so and co-ordinate a timely response by summoning the national emergency services of the country in question, and contacting the victim’s relatives or employers. Skyguard customers can provide detailed personal information through an online portal, such as medical conditions, medications taken and even a photo, which can be passed to the emergency services, often proving live-saving.

Skyguard, which launched in 2000, already offers a similar service nationally in the UK, used by thousands of individuals and companies, and more than half of the UK’s police forces to protect the most vulnerable in society.

Said James Murray, chief executive of Skyguard: “We believe we’ve created the ultimate peace of mind solution for travellers.

“I travel frequently, often with my family, to countries where I’m not familiar with the language or destination. I wondered what I would do if we ended up in a difficult situation that required immediate emergency assistance. That’s why we developed Skyguard International – to give travellers peace of mind, knowing their location is exactly pinpointed and they can communicate immediately in English.

“After years of successfully managing hundreds of life-threatening situations affecting individuals at risk in the UK, we’re excited to be the first company in the world to offer an overseas service with this level of coverage. Initially we’ve got nearly all of Europe covered, together with Russia and South Africa, and we look forward to adding further countries in the months ahead.

“When we receive an alarm we can immediately locate the person using advanced GPS technology and can then quickly assess their needs. Our trained staff can communicate with the individual via their device or Blackberry, or not make direct contact if the situation so dictates.

“We can alert local police, paramedics or fire units to be with our customers as soon as possible.”

Skyguard International is available to existing Skyguard customers as an additional service.

“The service also works across borders so travellers will have back-up and cover every step of their journey,” added Murray.

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Skyguard's Incident Management Centre
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Skyguard's Incident Management Centre

All of Skyguard’s state-of-the-art personal safety devices link to our own purpose built UK based, 24/7 Incident Management Centre certified to the highest lone working industry standards (BS 8484, BS 5979 Category II). At the core of Skyguard’s personal safety service is our state-of-the-art, UK based, 24/7 Incident Management Centre (IMC). Here our highly-trained and experienced controllers respond to lone worker alarms and manage life-threatening emergencies on a daily basis. They summon the emergency services and our own National Response Service every day on behalf of our customers. Yet only a fraction of these have proved to be false alarms due to their rigorous training and the procedures they follow.

On behalf of our police customers alone, our IMC has protected an estimated 6,000 victims of domestic abuse, kidnapping and those on witness protection programmes. Many of these have led to arrests and successful prosecutions in court, facilitated by our audio recordings of incidents and the speed of police response that our service provided.

Our IMC became the first in the UK to be certified to the new Lone Worker Monitoring Service standard: BS 8484, which included the highest standard for Alarm Receiving Centres: BS 5979 (Category II).

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