Calling for help: a guide to community alarms
The web version of this guide was last updated in October 2012. It now features more up-to-date contact details and other information, and models which we'd tested but are no longer on the market have now been removed. The original report (published 2003) is still available for download as a PDF, but please note that it has not been updated.
About this guide
If you're worried about having a fall and not being able to get up again, a community alarm lets you call for help from anywhere in your home. You carry a small portable trigger which allows you to set off an alarm telephone call at the press of a button. Over one and a half million people in the UK use community alarms. Most have their calls answered by a local alarm centre.
This report explains how alarms work, and gives details of where you can get an alarm and who will be receiving your calls. We've explained the basic choices you'll need to make when deciding on an alarm, along with checklists to help you see whether an alarm or service is up to scratch.
Having a good community alarm can give you the confidence to continue living at home independently, knowing that help is at hand if you need it. In fact, once you have a community alarm, you should not use it only for emergencies. Press the button whenever you feel concerned and need reassurance and someone to talk to.
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