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Personal and medical alarms
It’s a good idea to make a plan about what to do if you fall, or any other emergency. A good plan involves how to call for help and how the help will get to you.
Raising the alarmThere are many types of devices to raise the alarm. Your choice of device will depend on many things, such as who can come to help, the distance over which the device works, how easy it is for you to carry and use the device, and how much it costs.
Some of the most common devices are:
- cordless and mobile phones – carried on a belt clip or in a pocket, with pre-programmed numbers
- autodiallers – you wear a pendant around the neck, which is linked to the telephone. When activated, it automatically dials certain pre-programmed numbers until it gets an answer
- intercom systems – baby monitors or two-way intercoms between houses/flats
- neighbour-to-neighbour alarms – sirens and flashing lights outside the house or in a neighbour’s home, activated by a pendant or wristband transmitter
- Telstra Delayed Hotline – automatic connection to a relative’s or friend’s number when the telephone receiver is removed
- Telecross – a daily phone call from a Red Cross volunteer
- person-to-person alarms – one person carries the transmitter and the other carries the receiver
- portable alarms – anything that makes a noise, for example a whistle, bell or battery-operated alarm, and
- monitored emergency call system – the most common system is a 24-hour monitored response service or personal alarm.
Triple Zero (000) is Australia’s primary emergency call service number. It should be used to contact Police, Fire or Ambulance services in life threatening or time critical emergency situations. For more information on when and how to call 000, go to the Triple Zero website: www.triplezero.gov.au. If a situation is not time critical but requires the attention of an emergency services organisation, you should obtain the number for that organisation from the phone book or by calling directory assistance.
How an alarm works
- The person who has fallen presses a button on a pendant or wristband.
- The device sends a message to the monitored base station.
- Staff at the base station contact whoever is named to respond to the emergency.
- The contact person responds to the emergency. They must have a key to enter the house.
Letting helpers inPeople who come if you need help have to be able to get in. It’s a good idea to leave a spare key with a friend, neighbour or relative who lives nearby. Some people leave a spare key in a box outside with a combination lock, which they give to certain trusted people.
If you would like to find out more about alarm systems the Independent Living Centres have information on products for each state and territory.