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3 Ways A Visitor Management System Helps In Emergency Evacuations

Did you know that a visitor management system can facilitate more than just welcoming visitors? From delivery management to a staff in-out board and evacuations management, the system is an important tool for streamlining a multitude of your front-desk functions. In this blog post, we’ll be taking a close look at how your visitor management system can ensure you’re prepared for a safe and speedy evacuation and roll-call procedure. Because the moment your employees and visitors set foot in your office or work site, you become equally accountable for their safety...


In this video, senior mobile developer Jason, guides you through SwipedOn's evacuation mode.

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The ultimate test to your preparedness to carry out this responsibility is during an emergency. It’s happening more than you think. In the United States alone, workplace fire incidents rose by 13% according to the National Fire Protection Agency.

Fire is just one among a slew of other workplace emergencies that could put your workers and your visitors’ safety at risk. Natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes would also necessitate a quick emergency response from your end.

Preparedness is not optional. It spells the difference between life and death.

During emergencies, ensuring everyone is evacuated and accounted for is a top priority. According to the Department of Homeland Security: “When there is a hazard within a building such as a fire or chemical spill, occupants within the building should be evacuated or relocated to safety. Other incidents such as a bomb threat or receipt of a suspicious package may also require evacuation.”

That said, office evacuation could also be the biggest challenge in the implementation of an organisation’s emergency management plan.

Visitor Management System: From a Warm Welcome to a Safe Way Out

Luckily, emergency evacuation preparedness is something you can control.

One of the things that you might be overlooking to improve your emergency evacuation preparedness is the use of a digital guest management system. The same technology that gives people access to your office premises could play an important role in making sure they make their way out safely in case of an emergency.

Here are 3 ways a visitor management system can help you during an emergency evacuation.

1. Data Portability

If an emergency strikes, do you have the ability to take a database with you that completely and accurately documents how many people are in your office, who they are and their last known whereabouts?

If you’re currently using a paper logbook, this is almost impossible to achieve. It’s likewise difficult to do even if you have an electronic visitor management system that stores information in a local hard drive.

With a cloud-based visitor management system, you can literally take your office log data with you. Visitor management systems are often installed on portable devices such as an iPad or a tablet PC. Plus, with a cloud-based VMS, you can install it on multiple devices and get access to the same database in every device.

Advanced visitor management systems also feature an offline mode so you can access the data you need even without an internet connection.

A VMS allows you to access data stored in your cloud, even when you’re offline. Gather information including: 

  • Who has (or has not) signed into your premises 
  • What each employee and visitor looks like 
  • If someone has gone off-site for a meeting or lunch, where they are, and when they will return 

2. Expedited Roll Call

A halo effect of having data portability is being able to execute a roll call within a short time frame.

Imagine if, amidst the confusion and chaos of an emergency evacuation, you still need to ask someone to read a visitor’s log for you because you can’t understand the handwriting. Worse, imagine needing to ask your employees if they had a visitor during the time of the emergency. You do this because you’re uncertain whether everyone signed in or signed out of your logbook.

A visitor management system acts as access control to your office premises. Hence, you’re guaranteed that everyone in your office is always accounted for at any given time.

With this, there is no lag in your roll call procedure, allowing you to immediately identify who is present and who is not in your assembly area.

Using a visitor management system to help during an emergency you can:

  • See who is - or is not - present in a single interface 
  • Mark employees and visitors as safe with minimal effort
  • Sync your employee in out board across multiple devices 

This results in performing accurate and streamlined roll calls without wasting time.


Having multiple emergency exits is vital for keeping order during a disaster situation. Even so, employees and visitors can panic when fear sets in, further increasing the risk of other dangerous situations (e.g., trampling, overcrowding, blocking exits).

Since a VMS shows you exactly who is on-site, you can evenly allocate people to different exits and routes. Beyond evacuating your premises faster, you will also ensure that everyone safely adheres to protocols. 

3. Better Coordination with Emergency Responders

During an emergency, the more information you can provide to authorities, the better they’re able to respond.

A visitor management system gives you a mobile dashboard containing pertinent information. This enables you to coordinate with emergency responders more effectively. This information includes but is not limited to:

  • The number of employees or visitors that are still unaccounted for
  • The specific areas where these visitors or employees were most likely located when the emergency started
  • Other data that could help the authorities in their investigation

With this information, emergency responders can take swift and appropriate actions to help those who might still be trapped in your office. For example, giving them the last known whereabouts of your employees or visitors can help authorities narrow down their search and rescue.

This Is Not a Drill: It's Time to Add a Visitor Management System to Your Evacuation Plan

The question is not whether an emergency will happen or not. It’s how well prepared you are to make sure you avoid or minimise loss of lives. The only thing worse than a crisis is being insufficiently equipped with the information you need to ensure everyone is accounted for during an emergency evacuation. Businesses must be prepared if the worst happens in the event of an emergency. A fast and calm response is critical to ensure everyone’s safety.  

A visitor management system could help spell the difference between life and death during an evacuation. If your organisation is serious about safety, it’s an investment worth making. A VMS makes the sign in process efficient while helping with compliance and ensuring a safer evacuation from the premises. 

It’s important to note that your VMS should complement your existing safety procedures, rather than replace them outright. By integrating this technology with your broader strategy can ensure your employees and visitors stay safe in an evacuation.

SwipedOn is a trusted workplace sign in technology provider experienced in optimising the office experience. Our fast-growing international client base is a testament to the value we provide backed by strong customer service. 

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Lou Burton

Lou is our Brand & Content Manager at SwipedOn.


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