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When Should You Press Your SOS Button?

7 June 2019
 June 7, 2019

Personal safety devices can make all the difference in a potentially life-threatening situation, but under what circumstances should you raise the alarm?

It’s essential to use your own personal judgement in deciding when it’s appropriate to raise an alert as all situations are different. As a general guide, if there is a clear emergency, you’ve had an accident or your safety is at risk, then you should reach for your device immediately.

Scenarios where you should activate your personal safety device or app include:

  • If there is an emergency and you need urgent assistance
  • If there’s a danger to life or someone’s safety is at risk
  • If you’ve had a serious accident and require help
  • If you feel threatened
  • If you suffer a severe health problem

Of course, these are just guidelines. Remember that in all cases you should trust your instincts and press the SOS button if you feel it is necessary. If you raise an alert and it turns out to be a false alarm – don’t worry. Simply explain the situation to our Controller and they’ll close down the alarm. It is always far better to be safe than sorry.

To outline a couple of examples where you should use your SOS, imagine you are a housing officer carrying out a home visit and a tenant becomes aggressive. Raising an alarm enables us to get help to you quickly. Alternatively, if a shop worker notices a suspicious figure lurking around at night when they are locking up, pressing the SOS enables us to talk to them and monitor the situation, so if things take an untoward turn we can assist.

What happens when you press your SOS button?

When you activate the SOS button on your personal safety device or app, the alarm is sent via mobile and satellite technology to professional Controllers in our Alarm Receiving Centre. Straightaway they’ll know who you are, your whereabouts and will be able to listen in via your device or phone’s microphone. At first, the Controller will remain silent and monitor to establish what’s happening and if there are any signs of distress or if they overhear a specific duress code phrase.

If it’s safe, we’ll speak to you and ask if you’re ok and need assistance. If it’s not safe, you don’t need to say a word, we’ll assess the situation quickly and take action based on your pre-specified escalation plan. This will involve contacting your designated escalation contact or the emergency services. If required, we’ll summon and guide the emergency services to you, staying on the line until they arrive. All audio is recorded and can be used for evidential purposes should an incident go to litigation.

Through our direct links to police control rooms we are able to bypass the 999 system, providing a faster response and getting help to you quicker.

Can I raise an alarm in advance?

In some cases if you know that you’ll be entering a high-risk environment, you may want to raise a delayed alarm that will automatically trigger after a set period of time unless manually cancelled. This can be particularly useful if you’re attending meetings or appointments off-site. You can also leave a voice message with additional information (such as who you are visiting and the exact flat number in an apartment block) that will be available to Controllers on activation of the alarm.