How to Choose the Best Personal Alarms
There 5.7 million violent victimizations among Americans aged 12 older in 2016. Of those, the majority were the result of an attack by strangers.
Assault and violent encounters can leave victims traumatized. Taking self-defense classes is one option for taking your safety into your own hands. Short of that, you can purchase a personal alarm to make you feel more at ease in potentially dangerous or emergency situations.
Personal alarms are also an option for caregivers. Parents of children or caregivers to the elderly or disabled can also benefit from a personal alarm. They provide the ability to monitor and communicate with people who are more vulnerable to attack or injury.
If you're a caregiver that wants to ensure the safety of individuals in your care, or you're thinking about purchasing a personal alarm for peace of mind, you should know what your options are before making the investment.
This guide will go through the various types of personal alarms, how they work, how they can make you or your loved ones safer.
What Are Personal Alarms?
A personal alarm has two main functions:
- To protect you in case you're attacked in the street or you run into an emergency situation.
- Allowing you to monitor vulnerable people that may be in your care or allowing a vulnerable person access to a system that can alert others when they are in danger.
There are three main types of personal alarms:
- A keychain-type device.
- A pendant that's worn around the neck.
- A smartwatch that is worn on the wrist.
In the case you are attacked or run into an emergency, it's not always safe to try and protect yourself. That's especially true if you have no previous self-defense training.
In dangerous and unfamiliar circumstances, many people find themselves too traumatized to call for help or to fight back. Some personal alarms come on a keychain or attach to a handbag or backpack, so you can sound an alarm in these situations.
These types of personal alarms can be heard up to 1,000 feet around you. They can cause an attacker to panic and become disoriented and alert people around you to the situation.
Other personal alarms are monitored and connected to either another individual or to a 24/7 monitoring headquarters. This allows you to communicate any trouble to those individuals. They also allow caregivers to monitor the individual wearing them.
Personal alarms are easy to purchase and they are legal in all 50 states. The current laws allow citizens to use personal alarms.
Who Needs Personal Alarms?
Personal alarms are a safety measure for the following individuals:
- Parents and guardians of children. A personal alarm can protect children who walk to or from school alone. A personal alarm that sounds an alarm may disorient an attacker and give children a chance to run or find help. A personal alarm can also give you the ability to monitor and track your children so you know that they're safe at all times. There are many discreet personal alarms made for children.
- Drivers. A keychain alarm that goes on your keys gives you quick access to you an alarm system should you be attacked in a parking lot or while walking to your car.
- Young women or women who often travel alone. A minimalistic or discreet alarm that fits in your handbag could help you alert bystanders in a potentially dangerous situation.
- Joggers or walkers. If you walk or job, particularly at night, a keychain alarm is a good idea to carry in case you are approached by an attacker.
- The elderly. Elderly people who are at risk of falling or wandering due to a loss of cognitive ability can benefit from an alarm connected to a caregiver or monitors their location. If they live with their caregiver, a sounding alarm could alert others in the house if something goes wrong.
- College students. Some college students stay on campus late at night to study. When leaving campus, it's a good idea to carry a personal alarm.
- People who live in dangerous cities. Living in one of the more dangerous cities in the US increases your chance of being attacked.
- People with limited mobility. Whether you're recovering from a surgery or illness or you or your loved one has limited mobility, you are vulnerable to falls and other injuries that pose a risk to your safety.
How Do Personal Alarms Work?
Some alarms come in the form of a keychain, others are pendants and watches, and some are discreet alarms that look like other objects. All are relatively easy to use and readily available for purchase.
In terms of keychains, many of these are activated by pressing a button. Others are activated by pulling out a pin. Once activated, these send out an audible alarm to help attract bystanders and distract an attacker.
Pendants and watches, as well as some keychain devices, will send an alert to the mobile number (or numbers) that they are connected to beforehand. Some will connect to a monitoring service that can send the appropriate help, including an ambulance or police services.
Pendants and watches have many of the following options, depending on your budget and needs:
- An alert button to call for immediate help. This works a lot like keychain personal alarms.
- GPS locating so the person wearing the device can be found when needed.
- Hands-free communication between the wearer and another user. Sometimes multiple users can be set up.
- Fall detection alarms that alert a caregiver if the user has fallen suddenly.
- Speed tracking determines the speed at which a user is traveling. This can be sued to determine if someone enters a car unexpectedly.
- Geofencing will notify a caregiver when the person wearing the device is outside of a predefined geographic location.
- The ability to make calls, send a notification in an emergency, and store more than one contact.
What Features Are Important in Personal Alarms?
Depending on who the personal alarm is for, you may want to consider these options.
If you need to be able to access your personal alarm quickly, look for simplicity. Inexpensive personal alarms that hang on keychains or handbags will allow you to access your alarm quickly in the event of an emergency.
These personal alarms are basic in their function. They usually don't have any of the additional features we'll discuss below. Instead, they simply create an audible alarm to disorient or panic an attacker and give you time to run away, get help, or notify nearby people of the emergency.
These types of carry alarms are ideal for joggers, young women, people who walk at night, college students who stay late on campus, children, and people who leave work late and walk into parking lots alone.
Worldwide, falls are the second leading cause of accidental or unintentional injury deaths.
The elderly are especially vulnerable to falls that cause injuries. Falling is the most common cause of injury among older adults. 30%-50% of falls result in minor injuries and 10% result in serious injury.
A fall detection alarm will alert caregivers when the device falls rapidly. This can signal when the person you're caring for takes a fall and allows you to get to them quickly or call medical professionals when necessary.
5.5 million people over the age of 65 and 200,000 under that age have some degree of Alzheimer's. Geo-fencing is a good option for caregivers that are caring for someone with Alzheimer's.
When individuals with Alzheimer's lose cognitive ability it can impact memory. This may cause them to wander away from home and become lost. A geofencing function will send an alert to a caregiver when the wearer is outside of a predefined area.
Personal alarms that have GPS location systems will track the user wearing the device.
This function can be used to track your child coming home from school to ensure they get home safely. It can be used to monitor an elderly person in your care in the same way as geo-fencing or if you have a loved one is traveling on foot to and from work to ensure they are safe.
When the wearer of a personal alarm that has non-movement detection, an alert will be sent to the caregiver for a specified amount of time.
If you care for an elderly person, a person recovering from an injury or illness, or an individual with mobility issues, this can alert you in time of emergency.
A speed alarm function is particularly useful for children. When the device starts moving faster than a typical walking speed, an alert will sounds. If, for example, your child enters a bus, car, or train unexpectedly, you receive an alarm.
Are You Ready to Protect Yourself?
If you or someone you love falls under any of the aforementioned categories, you should consider purchasing a personal alarm. Easy to use, equipped with a number of different functions and discreet, personal alarms are an effective option for ensuring you and your loved ones are safe.
Check out our full inventory of personal alarms and other personal safety devices.
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