Test panic button on medical emergency response system regularly


When you or a loved one pushes the panic button for help via a personal emergency response system, the last thing you need is a button that doesn’t work. But that’s exactly what can happen if you don’t regularly test the batteries in your panic button or the main console.

Testing of a medical emergency response system takes a little time. But the payoff occurs when you press the button, and the signal reaches an emergency response center so they can quickly send the help needed. Testing can also reveal other problems, such as the person's inability to hold down the button long enough to summon help. Conducting regular testing also helps refresh the user's memory on what to do in an emergency.

According to an article in KOMO news, Washington state is considering mandated testing of personal emergency response systems, but that could take months to occur. You don’t have to wait for the laws to change to confirm your system works as expected. Instead, follow these steps to make sure you or your loved one’s system is functioning properly right now.

1.  Check the transmitter batteries.
When was the last time you had the batteries replaced in the transmitter, the device worn as a pendant or wristband that has a panic button one pushes to get help? Batteries hold a charge anywhere from 18 months to four years with normal use. Most monitoring companies arrange to change the batteries once they receive a signal the transmitter charge is low. But if you feel the battery is running low, or it’s been awhile since the last time the batteries were changed, contact the monitoring company for assistance.

2. Conduct a range test.
Many medical monitoring system companies automatically perform basic testing of the system at least once per month. If your provider does not offer this service, set a schedule to test the system yourself. Testing involves alerting the monitoring company you’re about to conduct a test. You then push the panic button on your pendant or wristband as you move from room to room to test its range. If the button does not work in expected areas, this could be an indication the button or pendant needs new batteries.  Check with your monitoring station for additional information on conducting a thorough range test.

3. Test the console.
When you conduct a range test, the main console is also tested as part of the process. But there’s one more thing you need to do. Make sure to test the other buttons on your console, such as the emergency button, to make sure each one performs properly. If they do not, ask the monitoring company to change the batteries. Don’t try changing the batteries yourself since most devices are waterproof.  

Never wait more than a month to personally test the equipment or your panic button. If it’s been longer than that, arrange for testing immediately. It could save your life or that of someone you love.  

For more information on personal emergency response systems, visit the Federal Trade Commission website.