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Voice Memo Timer - What Is It & How Does It Work?

10 January 2020
 January 10, 2020

The Voice Memo Timer (VMT) system transforms a standard mobile phone into a personal safety device without downloading any additional software. Nevertheless, as the majority of people own smartphones, VMT is also included as a feature on personal safety apps.

The service provides workers with an effective back-up service without them needing to remember or carry another device.

How Does The Voice Memo Timer Work?

To activate the voice memo timer using a standard phone, first, the user needs to save the Voice Memo number as a speed dial option. By calling this number, the user will be prompted to leave a message. To be most effective, the message should include specific details about where they’re going and who they’re meeting.

After recording their message, the user will need to type in the number of minutes that they want to set the timer for. This automatically sets an Amber Alert on the user’s account.

If a timer expires before being cancelled, an alarm will automatically be created. The Controllers in the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) can listen to the pre-recorded voice message to understand where the user is and what type of work they were carrying out.

Before raising a red alert and contacting the emergency services, the Controller will follow the user’s escalation procedure. Depending on the user, the next step could be to:

– try and contact them on their phone number

– send them an SMS with a personalised security question

– notify their line manager

On their profile, users can have specific duress codes to signal that they’re in danger and need assistance. If a Controller hears the duress word or phrase when they try to contact the user, they can understand the situation without alerting the aggressor.

If a response to the escalation procedure isn’t received or they hear a duress code, the Controller might need to summon the emergency services.

Who Would Benefit From Using The Voice Memo Timer?

The VMT service is a universal tool that all lone workers could use to good effect. To give you an idea of the situations where using the Voice Memo Timer is most effective, we’ve created three scenarios:


A community nurse is visiting a dementia patient with previous violent tendencies. Before entering the property, the nurse leaves a voice memo to say which patient she is visiting and the address of the property. At the end of the message, she sets a timer for 20 minutes which is as long as she expects the appointment to be before moving on to her next patient. As part of her escalation procedure, she’s included the duress code ‘red folder’ which indicates that she is in danger of being attacked. If the timer expires before it’s cancelled, the Controller will be listening out for any mention of the duress code when they attempt to make contact.

Kingston NHS Nurse no back


A sales executive is on the road visiting a client for an introduction meeting. They’ve never met each other before, only having conversations over the phone or via email. In line with his organisation’s Lone Worker Policy, he’s required to provide an update on his location. Using the VMT service, he can record a message stating which customer he is seeing and where their office is located. The meeting is expected to last two hours before he’s back on the road, so he sets a timer for this amount of time. If the alarm is activated, the Controller then knows where his meeting was and can call the company if he doesn’t respond to being contacted.

Response Man no back




A social worker is attending one of her cases in a deprived area where the crime rate is much higher than the surrounding areas. She’s carrying out a home visit at a high rise building. Before going into the building, she records a voice memo with the flat number she’s visiting and what floor it’s on. If the timer she sets runs out, the Controller will have her exact last known location rather than GPS coordinates that would only place her at the building. This would help to significantly reduce time if the emergency services were required.


Personal Safety When on Home Visits



The Voice Memo Timer service is a simple system that can help to keep staff that work in isolation better protected while they carry out their job. These are just three potential application scenarios. For more information about the VMT, you can contact us or check out our dedicated Voice Memo Timer page.