Fixed vs. Handheld Muster Readers

coke or pepsi
Is it time for the “Telaeris Mustering Challenge”?

My sales team approached me with a great question from a potential client today:

Why should I choose your handheld device over a fixed reader in our parking lot for mustering?

My answer was, “That is too easy!  Let me list out the top reasons.” After I had quickly come up with a dozen reasons, I paused. After all, people still argue over Coke and Pepsi and there is not much different between the two.

As in most cases where a customer has options, there are always tradeoffs. There are some legitimate reasons why a customer might want a muster pole reader. If you are interested in reasons a pole solution might be better for you, continue to the end of this article.

While both a handheld reader and a pole reader might be used for accounting/mustering people during an emergency, there are some very clear reasons to not to use a pole reader. Here are my top 12:

Green pole, fixed Muster Point A Dozen Reasons Not to Use a Fixed Muster Pole/Station

  1. It’s expensive to trench to pole reader location.
  2. Requires installation of electricity and network.
  3. Needs to function when electricity and networking go down.
  4. Open target for graffiti, vandalism, abuse, or vehicular damage.
  5. If wind is in wrong direction, smoke or gas can make pole useless.
  6. Impossible to move further away if hazard is large.
  7. No direct way to see full occupancy of buildings from pole.
  8. If pole inside fenced region, employees could be trapped.
  9. No way to register user with lost badge during emergency.
  10. Serves only single function – a muster reader in a parking lot.
  11. Pole reader reports to Access Control System in building which could be burning.
  12. Any system with a post reader requires a person with separate device to know who is and isn’t safe.

Our XPID200 handheld reader with XPressEntry connected to an access control system addresses every concern.

  • No physical installation requirements.
  • Easy to move to maintain employee safety and accountability.
  • Able to see facility occupancy and last employee location at each device.
  • Operates with or without network and electrical services.
  • Multi-use capability (bus entry, temporary gates, trainings, events).

three pole muster readers

This all being said, there is one situation that a fixed pole reader has the advantage. If your facility has few employees, with no ability to have evacuation managers, it can allow people to be accounted for from a remote security station.

Some security integration companies prefer selling pole readers because they are effectively only a very expensive Wiegand door reader, which they can install and forget. This type of installation is generally a poor mustering system as access control is meant to control entry, not account for employees.

handheld mustering deviceWhen a company does invest in a mustering system, there is a temptation to check the boxes of “Regulatory Compliance” and “Reaffirms Company Commitment to Safety Standards”. Our suggestion is to go beyond signaling good intentions and to find the best solution for:

Want to learn more about setting your company up for dealing with Emergency Evacuations – click here for our Emergency Evacation 101 online resource.

Or if you need help to figure out the right mustering solution for your company, please contact us!

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