Pendant alarms can be a lifeline anytime, but during disruptive weather conditions they can be even more important. That’s why it can be beneficial to know some functions of your monitored alarm – ideally before the bad weather hits.
Cold weather hazards can include slippy surfaces, freezing temperatures & potential electricity cuts – the potential repercussions of which can be made less severe, if you’re the owner of a pendant alarm.
Although you probably already know that you should always wear your pendant alarm button around your home, it’s even more important when stormy weather is imminent. With that in mind, here’s some advice we’ve put together for monitored personal alarm users and family members, to keep you reassured during the forecasted strong winds, snow & ice …brrr!
#1 Test your pendant alarm button (ideally before the storm)
This first one is pretty basic advice …if you have a telecare system or monitored alarm at home, you should be carrying out regular test calls anyway (once a month is a good rule of thumb). But if you know bad weather is on the way, you might be wise to put in another quick test call to your 24-hr monitoring centre, particularly if you are in any doubt that your alarm button is functioning correctly. You can tell the call-handler that your just checking all is in order with your alarm given the recent weather warnings.
#2 Know your monitored alarm’s back-up battery duration (for peace of mind during a power cut)
If there’s a power cut, you’ll want to know that your pendant alarm button will still work. Thankfully, in most cases you should be able to place an emergency call by pressing it – even after an electricity failure. That’s because there’s a built in backup battery in the base-unit of most telecare alarms (e.g. telecare manufacturers including TeleAlarm, Bosch, Chubb, Tunstall, Tynetec all include back-up batteries in telecare base-units as standard).
Therefore, as long as the phone-line, broadband or GSM connection in your home (that’s used with your telecare base unit) is working, you should be able to use your alarm button to call for help. You can ask your monitoring station to verify the back-up battery duration of your pendant alarm during a test call, or by phoning them. That way, if there is a power cut, you’ll know if your alarm button should still work & if so, approximately for how long.
The duration of your pendant alarm backup battery will be based mainly on the make/model/age of your equipment. For instance, the Bosch Carephone 62 (one of the telecare alarms supplied by our Sponsor, TASK Community Care) has an expected back-up battery duration of 5 days (120 hours). That’s accounting for one 30 minute call taking place. That is the battery duration at date of purchase and following the battery having been fully charged. It applies if you are using a standard phone-line in your home, i.e. non-IP/broadband & non-GSM.
Therefore, if your alarm unit is older, the back-up battery is likely to have reduced somewhat. Likewise, if your emergency call to the monitoring centre lasts longer, that too will use more of the back-up battery during a power cut. In any case always ask your telecare monitoring provider to confirm this for you, based on your phone connection type (landline/broadband/GSM) and specific make/model/age of your telecare system.
#3 If the lights go out & you’re in potential danger, don’t hesitate to press your alarm button
One of the most dangerous aspects of a storm can be the resulting electricity black-outs. Particularly if you are left in darkness suddenly, in or around your home. If your power has gone out and you are worried or in a potentially dangerous situation, just press your emergency button and explain to the telecare operator what has happened. They can stay on the line to reassure you, until they know you are safe. The trained telecare call-handlers can also alert your nominated keyholders.
#4 Always wear your pendant alarm button outside your home
Hopefully you’ll be well prepared & won’t need to go outdoors for any reason during the wintry weather, particularly if it’s icy. However, if you do go outside, even if its just a few steps from the door, we can’t emphasise enough the importance of wearing your alarm button to call for help if you need it. Even the most basic alarm button alarm (or those that are older) will work for a minimum of 50 meters from the base-unit (that’s line of sight distance, i.e. with nothing in-between). However newer, quality pendant alarms can have line of sight range of up to 300 meters. For instance, the Bosch Tx transmitter supplied by our Sponsor, TASK Community Care has a maximum range in free field of 300 meters.
#5 At night, make sure your alarm button is always worn or within reach & take it with you
If you don’t wear your pendant alarm button at night, make sure it’s kept beside you & within reach at all times. If you get out of bed for any reason, such as to go to the bathroom or kitchen always take the pendant button with you. Many falls happen at night, often on staircases and in the kitchen or bathroom (…remember these areas are more likely to have slippery floors).
If you have any other tips you think could be useful for other readers of Telecare Ireland™ for during a spell of bad weather (particularly those relating to telecare or pendant alarm buttons) we’d love for you to leave them in the comments section below…