You have two choices when deciding on where your alarm calls will go - they can either be picked up by staff at a community alarm scheme, or go directly to your friends or relatives.
Community alarm schemes
Subscribing to a community alarm scheme is the safest option, as there will always be staff on hand to answer your call. You'll probably have to pay a weekly fee for the service, but this is likely to cover the installation and maintenance of the alarm system.
There are different types of scheme to choose from. When you sound the alarm, staff will either contact your friends and relatives (usually the cheaper option) or send their own mobile wardens to your home. Some schemes also have the option of phoning or calling round occasionally to check up on you.
See Where to get a community alarm for more advice on finding a good alarm service.
Friends and family
The alternative to a community alarm scheme is to buy an alarm unit that can be programmed to dial your friends or family directly. When you press your trigger, the unit phones these people with a recorded message saying that you need help. It can be set to try at least three different numbers, several times if necessary.
You avoid on-going service charges with this option, but bear in mind that all your helpers could be unavailable when you make the alarm call. However, you could list an alarm centre as the last number for the unit to try.
Last updated: October 2012