Medical Alert Devices

Medical Alert Devices

One personal safety device that is often advertised on television and marketed online and in stores is the medical alert device. Medical alert systems, also known as personal emergency response systems, offer a fast and easy way for the elderly, people with health issues, and those who live alone, to get help during an emergency, whether it be a medical issue, a fall, a fire, or any event that requires an immediate response. They are normally worn as a pendent or a wristband and are meant to get help in a medical emergency with the push of a button.

The most basic medical alert systems use a landline telephone connection and consist of a base unit and a portable help button. They are incredibly easy to install; simply plug the unit into your phone jack using the included phone cord and plug your phone into the secondary jack on the unit. These systems are ideal for people who rarely leave their house since the pendent must be within range of the base station. Landline systems range in price from $25-35 per month.

If you don't have a landline you can order a base unit with built-in cellular circuitry, but subscriptions for these systems typically cost more than landline systems. You don't have to subscribe to a cellular service provider, as that cost that is built into your subscription and handled by the medical alert service provider. These cellular systems will range from $35-$45 per month.

Mobile systems go with you when you leave the house and use GPS technology to pinpoint your exact location and cellular technology to connect you to a response center. Mobile models are usually a bit larger and heavier than a standard portable help button but are still small enough to be worn comfortably as a pendant. They contain a help button that initiates a call to the response center and a speaker and microphone for two-way communication. Mobile pendants can be ordered with a fall-detection sensor for an additional monthly fee. These systems will run $45 - $50 per month and the fall detection runs an additional $5 - $10 per month.

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  • If you are considering one for yourself or a loved one here are a few tips:
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  • * It must be easy to wear; if it isn’t on your person it won’t be helpful in an emergency.
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  • * If you frequently leave the house, consider a mobile service that can pinpoint your location.
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  • * Make sure that the monitoring company calls the 911 dispatch center, not an office number for the sheriff, fire department, or ambulance service as they may not be monitored 24/7. Divide County first responders are dispatched by State Radio at 701-328-9921. State Radio cannot accept automated calls.
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  • * If you are capable of dialing, use your landline or cell phone and call 911. It eliminates the middleman by going direct to dispatch. Landline phones are linked to a specific address so the dispatcher knows the location. All the later model cell phones have GPS and the dispatcher can pinpoint the location anywhere with reception.
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