Your first choice is whether you want to have a monitored system that calls a central alarm monitoring station or a “no-fee” unit that dials just 911 or a few of your family and friends.
Both systems work.
It comes down to personal preference and cost.
A no-fee alert is programmed to dial the numbers of your friends and family in case of an emergency. If the system can’t reach the first person, it goes on to the second, then the third, and so on until someone answers.
Pro: Once you buy the equipment, there are no more charges. You’re not sharing any of your personal details or medical history with strangers. And if your friends or family are able to help you, there’s no need for an ambulance to come.
Con: There’s no guarantee any of your friends and family will be available, or that they’ll be able to help you in a fast moving emergency. Also, you have to pay upfront for the full cost of the equipment. For a decent unit, this can run $250 or more.
Expect to pay between $160 and $300 for a good no-fee alert system, depending on the features it has.
When you activate a monitored alert, it calls a monitoring station with trained responders.
The responder talks to you to find out what you need and dispatches appropriate help.
That might be your neighbor, in case you’ve simply fallen and can’t get up, or it could be the fire department or ambulance if that’s what you need.
In most cases the responder can stay on the phone with you while they activate your emergency plan, and some can even do a three-way call with your child or with the emergency crew.
Pro: Monitored alerts provide quick and competent response in emergencies. The responders know your medical needs and can make sure anyone who comes to help you knows about them. You’re usually leasing the equipment, so you don’t have a big lump payment. Usually you can get started for less than $100.
Con: Monitored systems require monthly monitoring fees, so your long term cost is much higher.
Expect to pay between $25 and $40 a month for your equipment lease and monitoring service, or between $240 and $480 per year.
Ready to choose?
Can’t decide? Go with the monitored alert because it’s better to have trained professionals helping you out if you have a real life-threatening emergency.
Not helpful? Go back to the homepage