These checklists are intended to give you an idea of what you should get from good equipment and a good alarm service. When looking for an alarm, you can print out this page and tick off the points for each of your choices.
- Is the portable trigger comfortable to wear?
- Can it be worn in different ways - around your neck, wrist or on clothes?
- Is it easy for you to press the button?
- Will it set off the alarm from anywhere in your home and garden?
- Does it look substantial enough to stand up to knocks and drops?
- Does it automatically send a low-battery warning to the alarm centre?
- Does the manufacturer or alarm scheme regularly replace triggers or their batteries?
The alarm unit
- Does the alarm unit provide full two-way speech?
- Will the button be easy to see and use in an emergency?
- Does it have battery back-up power that lasts at least eight hours?
- Does it warn you if mains power fails or back-up batteries run low?
- Does it warn the centre if power fails or batteries run low?
- Are there clear signals to show that an alarm call is getting through?
- Does it warn you if the telephone line is faulty or disconnected?
- Can it be used with other types of triggers that you need?
The call centre
- Is the alarm centre a member of the Telecare Services Association (TSA)?
- Does the centre provide cover 24 hours a day, 365 days a year?
- Are all calls answered quickly? The TSA requires 80% in half a minute and 98.5% in one minute.
- Are there at least two operators at all times to answer calls?
- Do all operators take account of the user's wishes when deciding what to do?
- Are there procedures to ensure operators provide appropriate assistance in a wide range of circumstances?
- Is all information on service users kept and handled confidentially by all staff?
- Does the centre work well with emergency services in your area?
- If the centre holds keys to users' homes, are they kept securely and identified only by code?
- Does the centre check from time to time that users are satisfied with the service?
- Does the centre have a complaints procedure that all users are told about?
- Can the centre continue to work if essential services such as telephone or electricity fail?
Last updated: October 2012