Panic buttons come as standard with the more established wireless DIY home security systems but are not as common with the newer crowd funding systems that are coming to the market.
So what are they for and are they necessary?
A panic button is a device you push in an emergency to sound the alarm and send out notifications to those monitoring the system (whether monitored or self monitored). The emergency can be medical (falling downstairs, heart attack), fire, intruder or other circumstance where help is needed. They can work up to 100 yards or more away from the base unit or control panel depending on the security system.
As well as being on a separate device there can be a panic button on the control panel, keychain remote fob, as part of a smartphone App or a wrist remote.
These buttons can play a vital part in helping to keep the members of a household safe in getting emergency services to house quickly or scaring off intruders or getting everyone out of the home if there is a fire etc.
The standard set up is that alarm sounds instantly and the system dials out but you can set the system so it only dials out and there is no alarm depending on the device type that has been used.
Wrist Remote. This is worn on the wrist and can be pushed anytime required. It is commonly used by senior citizens to alert their family or others by instantly calling the numbers programmed into the auto-dialler when there is medical or other emergency. There isn’t a system I’ve reviewed to date that has one of these as standard but the Skylink SC-1000 has one that can be purchased separately and added to the system.
Panic Button. This is a device that just has a button on it that you press when there is an emergency. This can be located anywhere in the home but is often installed in the master bedroom to ensure that it can be pressed if someone has broken into the home and bypassed the sensors somehow but it can be used for other emergencies too.
Smartphone App. More systems are being controlled and monitored over the internet using Smartphone Apps and this makes a logical place to have the ability to raise the alarm in an emergency. You do have to have the App open to be able to use it which could make it hard to use when you are in the middle of situation with the heart racing and in a rush.
However, not many of these type of systems have this functionality as part of their App at present. The system I’ve reviewed with it is the Skylinknet SK-200 that is a new system that hasn’t had the hype that surrounds many of the new systems probably because it looks dated but it is a solid security system that can be relied on when it is needed. Piper Classic also has this functionality.
Control Panel. This is a button that is part of the keypad on the control panel. It can be activated by either simply pushing the button or by typing in a pass code and then the panic button.
The traditional control panel is disappearing from systems. Simplisafe has separated the keypad from the control panel as a security measure but there is still a panic button on the keypad you can push.
However, many systems have done away with the keypad altogether and you just control with a Smartphone App and as mentioned in my discussion of Apps most don’t include a panic button.
There is a risk with these systems in that the buttons can be pushed in error such as with the Fortress GSM-B (a very good system apart from this) while in your pocket. To prevent this people put the fob in a tictac case.
The manufacturers help with this to by recessing the buttons or getting you to hold the button down for 3 seconds continuously or pushing the other buttons in a sequence to prevent false alarms.
When the button is pushed on these devices, if you’re phone is one of those programmed into the system to be notified you do need to know that is a panic button that has been pushed rather than an entry sensor being tripped.
Not all systems make this distinction but the PiSector PS03-M will let you know the device that has sounded the alarm so you can take the action required based on the fact that a remote key fob or other panic button has activated the alarm.
The panic button can play a vital role in keeping your family and home safe.
It does seem strange that it has been overlooked by many of the new systems that seem more intent on providing detection with an entry or motion sensor being tripped and not giving the humans the chance to take action quickly if they are bypassed or it is something they can’t pick up (such as a medical emergency).
These systems are evolving all the time so we should see them start to be added although their focus seems to be more on home automation rather than providing panic buttons to help when there is an unexpected event.
Filed under: Buying Advice
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