Friday, March 25, 2011

The Medical Alert Mess

Medical Alert Systems
Can be a real headache to First Responders
When not properly installed

One of my clients owns several large multi building apartment complexes and has had a problem with some of his tenants who have installed Medical Alert Systems in there apartments and not told him about them.
He has had Fire Trucks show up looking for the building the fire alarm is going off in.
To go to the main annunciator and there’s no alarm sounding and had to do individual building searches, only to find out it is one of these medical alert systems which has a wireless smoke detector installed to it that has been improperly placed and has been set off by shower steam or toast burning. In one case medics called the fire dept to gain entry by breaking a small window to find out the apartment has been sublet and system was moved and current tenant is not the one having a emergency event.
The whole matter is 100% avoidable had the medical alert installing dealer gave the proper details to the central station exactly what building the apartment is located in and had notified the management to the system.
My customer has now sent letters to all his tenants advising them they are to notify the rental office when they get a medical alert system and that there maintenance emergency number be notified when there is activation so apartment management can dispatch a maintenance man to the site to help stop the confusion. He also advised them about the permit they are supposed to get from the municipality.
But even with these steps being taken the Medical Alert Systems being sold in many cases are of questionable value due to how they are constructed and who is installing them.
While many have a UL listed medical alert labeling and approval and are professionally installed many do not, they are also not professionally installed instead a salesman simply plugs them in and there is no proper training and use and no
Phone line supervision or RJ31-X jack installed for making sure a phone left off the hook does not block the transmission.
Many company's also charge exorbitant fees for the equipment $1500.00 and the monitoring $50.00 a month, when in fact there are programs thru major hospitals which charge zero to a small amount for monitoring and supplying the systems. It’s the old Buyer Beware when it comes to these systems.
But until the industry cleans up its act you can bet there is going to be an epidemic of problems with these systems as our population ages and gets interested in some type of protection. The rip off’s will continue.

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