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Personal Alarm Guide

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In the United States, there are 382.9 violent crimes per 100,000 people. However, in some cities, violent crimes are scarily common. Detroit, Michigan, considered to be one of the most dangerous cities in the United States, has a violent crime rate of 1,749.5 violent crimes per 100,000 people. A person’s chances of becoming a victim of violent crime in Detroit is 1 out of 50. Some small towns, such as Kotzebue, Alaska, have violent crime rates as high as 3,238 per 100,000 people, making the small town the most dangerous town in America. In Kotzebue, inhabitants have a 1 in 30 chance of becoming a victim of violent crime.

Violent crimes include murder, assault, manslaughter, sexual assault, rape, robbery, kidnapping (abduction), extortion, and harassment, according to the National Institute of Justice. Victims of violent crimes often experience severe mental and emotional trauma after the incident. However, victims can avoid trauma by carrying a personal safety alarm.

Personal alarms can also protect older individuals from sustaining serious injuries from falling or other in-home accidents. Personal alarms save the lives of thousands of individuals above the age of 60 every year just by calling for help.

The silhouette of the hand of a beaten person held up to prevent further abuse.

What Is a Personal Alarm?

A personal alarm is a small device that emits a loud sound or siren. The device can fit into the palm of your hand and can be carried as a key chain. When a person presses the button on the device, the device blares an ear-piercing sound. The sound is meant to scare the attacker and alert others nearby.

Another type of personal alarm is meant for elderly people who are unable to fully care for themselves. This type of personal alarm is typically called a “medical alert pendant.” The pendant will call for help or alert a caregiver that the elderly adult needs emergency assistance. Personal alarms can protect and help those who are in need of desperate help.

Personal alarms have two purposes:

  • To protect the individual in the case of a personal attack or emergency situation.
  • To alert caretakers that an elderly adult is in need of emergency help.

There are three types of personal alarms: the keychain safety alarm, medical alert pendant, and the smartwatch alarm.

Cove Key Remote

Personal Alarm Keychain

The first type of personal alarm is a keychain device. The keychain is meant to protect men and women from violent crimes. Since not all people know how to protect themselves in a dangerous situation, the keychain safety alarm is able to create a distraction that allows the victim to escape. According to a study conducted by The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, burglars, robbers, and other criminals will run the moment they hear a loud sound, such as a siren or alarm. The keychain safety alarm emits a loud sound meant to both scare away an attacker and alert nearby persons of the situation.

On average, personal alarm devices emit a sound that is 120 decibels. To put this into perspective:

  • 30 decibels is equivalent to the sound of leaves rustling
  • 60 decibels is equivalent to a normal conversation
  • 75 decibels is equivalent to the sound of a vacuum cleaner
  • 80 decibels is equivalent to the sound of heavy traffic
  • 90 to 95 decibels is equivalent to a subway train or shouted conversation
  • 96 to 100 decibels is equivalent to an ATV or motorcycle
  • 106 to 115 decibels is equivalent to a chainsaw or leaf blower
  • 120 decibels is equivalent to a rock concert (while standing near the speakers)
  • 140 decibels is equivalent to a gunshot

A personal safety alarm emits a sound that is extremely loud. Sound higher than 85 decibels will cause damage over time to the eardrum. A personal safety alarm will stun an attacker and alert everyone within a half-mile radius. The sound is likely to echo and alert people a mile away. After a personal alarm is used, most attackers run, freeing the victim.

A medical button attached to a black necklace on a white background.

Medical Alert Device

The second type of emergency alarm is the medical alert button. Medical alert buttons are typically hung around the neck of a person who requires regular assistance to live. Those who benefit from using a medical alert pendant include senior citizens, disabled persons, and others who may struggle to live on their own. Medical alert pendants allow these valuable members of society to live independently, while still having access to emergency assistance at the click of a button. These devices act as personal security guards that call for help as soon as the individual needs help.

Nearly 29 percent of older adults (ages 60 and older) live alone. About 70 percent of those living alone are women. Medical alert pendants make it possible for older citizens to live on their own without fear. They give these members of society peace of mind, knowing that if there is an emergency, they have a panic button within reach.

According to a clinical investigation titled “Medical Costs of Fatal and Nonfatal Falls in Older Adults,” over 30 percent of older adults living on their own suffer from non-fatal falls every year. If the individual falls and does not receive help within the first hour of falling, there is a 70 percent chance that the individual will be unable to live independently in the future. Personal alarms for the elderly can help victims to get emergency assistance within the first few seconds of falling.

Smartwatch Alarm

The final type of personal security alarm is the smartwatch alarm. The smartwatch alarm is another type of call button for elderly adults. This type of alarm is more like a bracelet or watch than a medical pendant. The alarm is a “smart” personal security alarm, meaning that it can call for help from the device. Some alarms are installed with fall detection to determine when the elderly person has fallen.

Cove wireless security system panel on a dresser with keys, books, and a little plant.

How a Personal Alarm Can Protect You

Depending on your needs, personal security alarms can be your best protection against violent crime and medical emergencies. Violent crime in cities is a serious issue, and medical emergencies can inhibit a person’s life and limit their independence.

Personal Alarms for Women

Personal panic alarm devices protect men, women, and the elderly from a variety of dangerous situations. For women, personal alarms are essential. Over 60 percent of women take regular steps in their daily lives to avoid become victims of sexual crimes. Sexual crimes against women are heinous, yet 1 out of 6 women will be victims of attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. Every 73 seconds, an American woman is sexually abused. Nearly 2 million women are victims of rape and sexual abuse every year. However, only a small number of sexual crimes are brought to the police, meaning that the actual numbers may be significantly higher.

Some states, such as Alaska and Michigan, see staggeringly high numbers of sexual abuse against women. In Alaska, 59 percent of women report being victims of rape in the past year. In most states, nearly 80 percent of women report feeling unsafe walking alone at night.

Women deserve to have peace of mind without having to worry about protecting themselves as they travel alone. Women are often portrayed as the damsel in distress, which is one of the reasons why women are so commonly assaulted. Attackers assume that women won’t be able to fight back against attacks. However, a personal alarm may be able to change the way women are portrayed in the media.

Personal alarms allow women to take power into their own hands. Rather than being overpowered by their attacker, women can use the personal alarm to startle and stun the attacker, alerting every person in a half-mile radius of the situation. This increases the chances that the attacker will be caught and prosecuted for his actions. Women may also find comfort in carrying pepper spray in a purse or handbag as additional protection.

Women looking at personal alarm apps on her phone just after twilight by a lake.

Pepper spray is an important personal safety device that women can use on attackers. Pepper spray causes extreme eye irritation, shortness of breath, temporary blindness, eye swelling, and coughing. These symptoms immobilize the attacker for 20 to 90 minutes, giving the victim plenty of time to escape and call the police.

Women should also learn self-defense to better defend themselves if they are approached by an attacker. When an attacker is looking for a victim, they look for prey; they want to find someone who is weak and unable to defend themselves. Many self-defense experts recommend making direct eye contact with potential threats. Attackers see themselves as wolves and see their victims as sheep. If the victim makes direct eye contact and stands tall, it alerts the attacker that you are not a sheep and will not be taken easily. In most situations, this will encourage the attacker to find a new target.

Women also have access to several free mobile phone apps that act as a security alarm. Some security apps for women include: Shake2Safety. This Android app allows the user to quickly call for help by shaking the phone or tapping the phone four times. The app will also record audio and video to provide evidence of the situation.

OnWatch. This app is free for both iPhone and Android. It allows users to customize emergency contacts (including campus police, 911, and local police stations). If the user is feeling unsafe, the app will start a timer for a walk home. If the user does not check-in when the timer ends, the app will immediately contact emergency assistance with your GPS location.

BSafe. This free app for both iPhone and Android is one of the most comprehensive security apps for women. The app includes emergency numbers, safety sirens, voice activation using a key phrase, live-streaming, and GPS.

Safe and the City. This app is free for both iPhone and Android. It connects a community of women and allows users to pin locations where they have felt unsafe. The app also shows “safe zones,” where multiple women have been able to hide when feeling unsafe.

These apps are comparable to a physical alarm, allowing women to take control of their situations and giving women the security of knowing that they are not alone. Hopefully, by using personal alarms (whether a physical alarm or a mobile app), women will be able to feel safer and more secure.

Man holding head looking concerned for his personal safety.

Personal Alarms for Men

It’s undeniable that women are the main victims of sexual assault. However, men are more commonly the victims of murders and homicides. Nearly 79 percent of all homicide victims are male. It is more likely that a man will be killed by someone he doesn’t know and more likely that a woman will be killed by a past romantic partner.

That being said, it is important that men learn to protect themselves in dangerous situations. Personal alarms can help to protect men from violence in cities and help to scare away muggers and potential gang violence.

Men can freely use any of the personal protection apps for mobile phones that we have listed above. Men should also carry pepper spray and a personal alarm keychain. Pepper spray will stun attackers, giving the victim ample time to escape and find help, and the loud alarm emitted by the personal alarm will scare the attackers away. By using personal protection devices, men can reduce their chances of being victimized while walking through city streets at night.

An old man and old woman talking on the street that might benefit from having personal alarms for the elderly.

Personal Alarms for the Elderly

Elderly persons can also use personal alarms for security purposes while traveling. Since older citizens may not have the strength to learn self-defense (and option that should be utilized by both men and women who are concerned about their safety), older adults must rely more heavily on personal alarms. Personal alarms for safety are the best option for older adults to protect themselves while traveling.

Medical alert buttons are a common tool among older citizens. Often, medical alert buttons are gifted to older adults by loving family members. When a senior citizen wants to live alone but may be at risk for falling, a medical alert device is the most effective way to ensure that the individual is still protected.

Members of society should consider using a medical alert device if:

  • You are a senior living alone.
  • You have a history of falling.
  • You have an unsteady gait.
  • You feel weakness in your legs.
  • You have concerns about your health.
  • You have medications with side effects.

Older adults should use medical alert devices if they are unsure about their safety and security while living alone. When living alone, seniors will not have access to immediate help without using a medical alert device. Medical alert devices ensure that older adults can still enjoy their independence without worrying about jeopardizing their health.

If you are a family member of an older adult, access the situation before offering to buy your loved one a medical alert device. If your loved one is stubborn, approach the conversation delicately, and express your love for them. Medical alert devices save hundreds of lives every year since they are able to get help to older adults quickly. Buying a medical alarm system for your loved one can be one of the best things you do for them.

Two people stare up at 50 security cameras all mounted to a wall and all pointing towards them

Are Personal Alarms Effective?


A personal medical alarm, such as the medical alert system offered by Cove Security, will work ten out of ten times. The purpose of the alarm is to call for medical assistance. Cove Security has a three-second response time, meaning that older adults who have fallen and need help will have a phone operator on the line within three seconds.

However, will personal alarms for safety actually work? Personal alarms for security are less straightforward than a medical alert device. There are three main situations that may alter the effectiveness of the device:

The user of the device is in an isolated location, such as a large field or abandoned building. The purpose of the device is to convince the attacker that help is coming. However, if the attacker knows that no one is nearby to help, the alarm won’t be effective. A better tool to use in an isolated location is pepper spray.

The attacker sees and takes the alarm before you are able to use it. If the attacker takes the alarm before you use it, you won’t be able to press the button. To prevent this from happening, always carry a second form of defense, such as pepper spray, a mobile app with a safety timer, or a second personal alarm.

The personal alarm runs out of battery before you are able to use it. Since the alarm uses battery power to activate, the battery life of the device will influence the effectiveness of the siren. Users should regularly replace the battery inside the personal alarm to make sure that the alarm is running on fresh battery power.

Personal alarms are effective if they are used correctly. Victims of crime should use a personal alarm as soon as they suspect danger. Do not wait until you are assaulted to use the alarm. Your safety is a priority, and waiting until after you are assaulted will put you in extreme danger (since you don’t know what the attacker is planning). If you feel unsafe, pull the safe alarm into your hand and hold it in your palm. If the suspicious person continues to follow you or they get close enough to touch you, press the alarm and scream. The loud noise should be enough to scare the attacker away before any harm was done to you.

Some personal alarms are disguised as inconspicuous objects to prevent the attacker from becoming suspicious of the object in your hand (and prevent them from taking it from you). These devices can be disguised as lipstick, necklaces, pens, and more. However, when looking for a personal alarm, only buy from trusted companies.

A personal alarm medical alert button that will contact the authorities if you are close to the panel when you press it.

Best Personal Alarms

The best medical alarm system for elderly adults is offered by Cove Security. Cove’s medical system allows injured seniors to contact help within seconds. The medical alert device is programmed into Cove’s home security system, making it easy for elderly citizens to access their medical alert devices. Cove’s security system includes an inexpensive waterproof medical alert pendant that is meant to be worn around the house.

The pendant has a 100-foot range from the main medical alert station. When the user has fallen or needs immediate help, they can press the button, and the system will connect to emergency help. If the user is nearby the base station, they will be able to talk and listen to the operator on the other side of the phone. If the user is unable to respond, the operator will automatically send emergency help.

This alarm is rated as the best personal alarm for seniors. Cove offers incredible quality for less than 20 dollars, while competitors charge over 50 dollars for a similar device.

For personal panic alarm devices, there are several options that are perfect for both men and women:

The top-rated personal siren alarm is the ROMILE multipack from Amazon. The alarm activates a 140-decibel sound (which is equivalent to the noise level of a gunshot).

KOSIN is the second best-rated personal siren alarm. This alarm also comes in a multipack and activates a 140-decibel alarm.

The third best-rated personal alarm for outdoor security is the Taiker alarm. This alarm comes in a two-pack and has an LED light attached to the alarm. This alarm also emits a 140-decibel sound.

There are hundreds of personal alarm devices available online. Before buying the product, always make sure to read reviews from past buyers to make sure that the device works.

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