gadgets/telemergency.jpgEmergencies do not discriminate – neither children, senior citizens, or just regular folks are spared. But emergencies seem especially hard on those who are more vulnerable - the single person, the elderly, and the invalid. Telemergency was designed to give both comfort and assistance, especially to this group. Whether an accident, a medical problem, or an intrusion like a burglary, Telemergency lets those in need call for help even when they cannot dial the phone.

Concept

Telemergency’s basis concept is that once connected to your touch-tone service telephone, in an emergency all you do is push a button on the unit or a pendant. Telemergency will automatically dial 911 as well as up to five additional telephone numbers of your choice for each of three emergencies. A pre-recorded emergency message is then delivered. 

Components   

Telemergency comes with a 4 x 7 inch dialing console or main unit, a 1½ x 2 inch wireless pendant, an AC adaptor, and one modular line cord. The base unit has four buttons - three different emergency call buttons that can contact specific telephone numbers for different types of emergencies (such as medical, fire, and police), and a stop button. In the event of crisis, one of the three emergency buttons or a call button on the small white plastic pendant can be pressed. Then using your home telephone, Telemergency automatically dials 911 (optional) and up to five additional phone numbers of your choice. Right out of the box, Telemergency comes with three pre-recorded messages for health and/or accident, fire, and burglary, and calls 911 for these emergencies. You can pre-record additional messages to be delivered to up to five contacts to be called for each type of emergency. Dialing is silent for additional safety. To stop the dialing, you can press either a button on the pendant or the stop button on the base unit.

The pendant can be carried in a pocket or worn around the neck. If the call button is pushed, a wireless signal is sent from a pendant to the dialing console and activates the Emergency 1 button.

Response

Telemergency will emit a sound to let you know help is on the way. Even better than that, once your called party answers and receives the emergency information message and instructions, they have the option to activate the controlled speakerphone feature. This allows them to verbally communicate with you and let you know help is on the way. The speakerphone can also be used to listen to the area where the base unit is located or to repeat the emergency message. This two-way verbal contact is valuable for sharing critical information and assuring that help is on the way.

Batteries

The base unit comes with a battery backup feature, but it is necessary to install a 9-volt alkaline battery, which then keeps Telemergency functioning in the event of a power outage. Two buttons on the base unit indicate low battery and power on/off. 

The pendant comes with its own battery. A 12-volt alkaline battery is installed that should last up to two years.

Installation

Out of the box, the system is ready to plug in and use. You simply connect the unit to your telephone, connect the AC adapter, move the power switch to ON, and the unit is ready, using the pre-recorded emergency messages. The installation process is much like hooking up an answer machine in that you need a power source and a telephone jack.

It will take approximately fifteen to twenty additional minutes to program the Telemergency dialer to contact the five phone numbers for each of the three emergency buttons.

It is very important to test the dialer after programming to assure the numbers will be called properly. Further, each party serving as an emergency contact needs to be notified that they may receive a call from the Telemergency Dialer. The same procedure should be repeated if the contact numbers need to be updated. One very convenient aid is the supply of instructional post cards that can be mailed to your contacts because their telephone number has been added to your emergency system. The cards explain Telemergency and list options available to the called party.

The automatic 911 has an on/off switch. When the 911 switch is ON and any of the three emergency buttons are pressed, Telemergency will automatically call 911 before any of the entered phone numbers.

Pick a central point in your home to locate the base unit. Instructions are given for checking the range of the pendant, but they are quite complicated. If you are not careful, an unintended call may be made to 911. Telemergency should try to design an easier and smarter way to test the range of the pendant. Knowing the range of the pendant is key to the effectiveness of this wireless feature of the system. Our testing showed the pendant was effective within the confines of a normal house.

The programming requirements of the Telemergency could easily be too complicated for many. An elderly user of this device may not be capable of setting up the dialer on their own as it takes some effort to program the numbers, make the recording, and run through the double-checking process. I even question the necessity of three separate buttons for three separate emergencies. In a crisis,   all you should have to remember is to PUSH THE BUTTON, not to decide which of the three buttons to push. I would encourage Telemergency to follow my Compu-KISS® philosophy of Keeping It Short and Simple. Having only one emergency call button and a stop button on the Telemergency product might be a worthwhile change.

However, the design of the pendant call button is much smarter than other products with a ring that needs to be pulled from the pendant. Pushing a button like the one on Telemergency’s pendant is sure to be easier than pulling out an emergency key during a severe problem like a stroke or heart attack.

Features

Telemergency comes with a limited 90-day warranty good for defects in materials and workmanship.

Probably the most attractive feature about Telemergency is the absence of costly monthly fees for rental or service monitoring. Everyone will appreciate avoiding monthly charges that can accumulate to a sizable amount over a year’s time.

Ultimate Value

A device like this can take some of the worry and risk out of being home alone. The peace of mind this system offers can be incredibly valuable; should Telemergency be needed for any emergency reason, lives could be saved.

Telemergency is ready to spring into action, twenty-four hours per day, automatically calling for help when there is trouble at home and a phone is not in reach. Although I found Telemergency unnecessarily complex in some respects, it still could be a useful product, especially for a parent, spouse, child, or babysitter. It is hoped that you will never have to use Telemergency, but if you do, this product could play a part in saving your life or the life of a loved one.