A website visitor recently wrote with a great question. She was looking at the 5Star Urgent Responder system from GreatCall and wondered how it turns off when you need to take an airplane ride.
As you probably know, the 5Star Urgent Responder is a GPS and cellular medical alert. When you press the help button it calls the special monitoring and response center over the cellular system. The operators are able to pinpoint your location using the GPS signal in the unit.
But this could cause problems in an airplane. After all, you’re supposed to turn off all cellular devices and anything that sends and receives information, like a GPS unit.
So it’s a totally legitimate question: how does this unit handle this situation. It wasn’t discussed on the GreatCall website.
I called the customer service line on behalf of the website visitor and found out that, sure enough, there’s a simple on/off switch on the unit. So you can travel with it without having to worry about violating travel rules.
It’s actually a great system for people who do travel. Imagine that you are in a new city, having just gotten off the plane, and you have a medical emergency. Well, because of the GPS in the system, the operators know right where you are. You can get help anywhere there is a cell signal.
In contrast, most other medical alert systems, even the ones I like most, are tied to you home telephone line. Yes, you can take them with you when you travel to a different location, but it involves transporting the base station (roughly the size of a business phone) and then calling the monitoring center when you arrive to make sure they have your current response address. That’s great for someone who relocates twice a year (for example, a snowbird who winters in a warmer climate) but isn’t great for a short week at your daughter’s house.