press the panic button

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press the panic button

To overreact to a negative situation with an inordinate amount of fear, alarm, or confusion. If you're going to be a successful boss, you can't press the panic button every time your company has a minor setback. New parents tend to press the panic button over every little sniffle their first baby gets.
See also: button, panic, press

press (or push or hit) the panic button

respond to a situation by panicking or taking emergency measures. informal
A panic button is a security device which can be used to raise the alarm in an emergency.
See also: button, panic, press

press/push the ˈpanic button

(British English) react in a sudden or an extreme way to something unexpected that has frightened you: Although the team lost yet another match on Saturday, their manager is refusing to press the panic button.
See also: button, panic, press, push

press the panic button

See also: button, panic, press
References in periodicals archive ?
Colleagues at Shotton Job Centre pressed the panic button and police were called.
The group recorded a pounds 281million loss in the first six months of this year and yesterday bosses pressed the panic button.
Although obviously disappointed by the result, coach Dave Whistle has not pressed the panic button yet.
DC Paul said one of the men asked the licensee for the keys to the safe, but the licensee pressed the panic button, alerting police.
Prosecutor Steve Hosking told how Best was arrested just minutes later outside the shop in Woodford Avenue, empty-handed, after Ardley pressed the panic button during the attempted robbery, which was committed at midday on
Although bed-bound, this pensioner is very independent, and it is fortunate he had his wits about him and pressed the panic button after his smoke alarm went off.
I'd pressed the panic button and thought if I could hold him down, the police could arrive to arrest him.