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Personal Emergency Response System: How It All Began

Lady Drive

New technology makes aging in place easier than ever before for today’s senior citizens. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control defines aging in place as, “the ability to live in one’s own home safely, independently and comfortably regardless of age or ability level.” So what is the key for seniors to successfully age in place? Medical alerts!

Medical alerts help seniors stay independent. They are a safety net that give you the opportunity to age in place like never before. If you are ever in need of help, you can instantly speak with an emergency operator at just the push of a button.

Alert1’s 24/7 Command Center sends you customized help and stays on the line so that you are never alone in your time of need. The personalized Circle of Care means that we can call whomever you need. That could be your neighbor, a family member, or 911.

Emergency response systems come in a wide variety of options. You can choose from auto fall detection, mobile emergency response systems, and classic home systems. There are even fun necklaces and bracelets that coordinate with any outfit.

Wearable technology is all the rage now, but emergency response systems for seniors blazed the trail for the others. Let’s take a look back at how far we’ve come.

A Brief History of the First Personal Emergency Response System


In the early 1970s, Wilhelm Hormann invented the first personal emergency response system (PERS). He wanted to make sure the sick, elderly and disabled who lived alone would be able to call for help and be cared for in any situation. Hormann revealed his emergency response system to the public in the early 1980s. He called it the Hausnotruf (home alert). In 1982, Hormann was honored with the Frankfurt Innovation Prize of the German Economy.

Hormann is credited with making the first personal emergency response system. But the American International Telephone Company came out with their version first, in 1975. Popular Science Magazine called this model an, “emergency dialer”. A pendant was worn around the neck and when pressed, it sent a signal to a machine that was attached to a rotary phone. It would send a preprogrammed message to a predetermined number.

The single contact was the biggest drawback to the first PERS systems. The contact could only get the message if they were home. And if they were home, all they knew was that the senior needed help, but they did not know why they needed to be cared for. There were no details about why the help button was pressed.

Now you know how medical alerts came to be. But how did Alert1 first step foot into the aging in place industry? It all started with our founder Paul, back in 1988.

Alert1’s Heritage


Almost 30 years ago, Paul founded Alert1. It never crossed his mind that he would enter the medical alert system business. However, one day he realized that the grandmother who had so affectionately raised him, was not quite the way she used to be.

“I was no longer the mischievous little boy who played baseball in her dining room,” Paul explained. “But Nana couldn’t chase me out of there anymore either.”

Paul's grandmother, like so many of our grandparents and parents, was of sound mind and body.

”She was as spry as can be,” laughed Paul. “She had never fallen. But I worried just the same that there might come a time when she would need me and I was not there.”

Paul, an engineer by training and a tinkerer at heart, began to sketch out a walkie-talkie like device that his grandmother could use to contact him quickly.

"I wanted it to be incredibly simple,” he emphasized. "Almost like a prayer."

Paul wanted his emergency medical alarm button to be an infallible first alert: "I knew how reliable grounded phone lines were. Even when I lost power, my phone usually worked.

After weeks of determined effort, Paul revealed what is known today as the POM—Peace Of Mind—Personal Emergency Response System. With the push of a button on a medical alert bracelet, Paul’s grandmother could contact anyone she needed: her neighbors, Paul, his parents—even 911 services. Soon enough, Paul could not make POMs quickly enough to keep up with the rising demand.

We are proud to help people like Paul, his parents, and their parents. Alert1 is not just another medical alert company. Unlike Philips Lifeline® or Life Alert®, we are not just an average medical alarm shop for seniors who have “fallen and can’t get up”®. We help you get up on your feet again, so that you can live strong, free, and independently.

What Our Members Have To Say About Alert1

Lady 1

Let’s take a look at one of our long time members, Sandy, who says that Alert1 changed her life for the better.

Sandy and her husband both had their Alert1 home pendants for years as they were living independently in their life-long home. Since they always went out of the house together, they felt they didn’t need mobile alert units. But after her husband passed away in 2015, Sandy was left all alone with nobody to care for her.

Sandy’s children and grandchildren were able to help her out, but she couldn’t rely on them 100% of the time. Sandy needed something she could count on all the time. A caretaker was out of her budget, and made her feel old for how youthful of a life she lived. Now that she was on her own, she thought it might be time to upgrade to the newest technology.

Sandy wanted to make sure that she was safe for whatever came her way in and outside of her home. Whether it was running errands, taking a stroll in the park, or tending her garden in the yard, she needed something more than what her Alert1 classic home unit offered. Fortunately for her, Alert1 had just unveiled a mobile fall detection system, Kelsi Pro.

Kelsi Pro is a tiny pocket-sized help pendant. It had everything her home alert had to offer, but on the go, and with added fall detection. Now she could be safe wherever she went, without worrying about who would come to her aid if she fell.

The Kelsi Pro mobile fall detection suited all of Sandy’s needs without holding her back from getting out of the house. In fact, with all of Kelsi Pro’s capabilities, Sandy believed that it could even help her become even more active. She knew that Alert1’s Kelsi Pro fall detection system was something she was definitely not going to regret.

Now, fast forward almost 2 years. Sandy has been aging in place independently and crossing off items on her bucket list, all while being safe. She has had a few slips and falls here and there, but her Kelsi Pro medical alert has been there as her saving grace. Luckily for her, none of those accidents lead to lengthy hospital stays or prevented her from aging in place.

Sandy strongly believes that if she never got her first Alert1 unit, she wouldn’t be living her golden years to the fullest like she is today. Sandy is another prime example of how Alert1 helps its members age in place safely, and prove that age is just a number.

Today’s Medical Alerts

A lot has changed since the humble beginnings of the personal emergency response systems. Today’s PERS are small, lighter, and have more safety features than ever before. Gone are the days of a single emergency contact. You now have a safer way to live because it's faster to get help.

When you press your help button, you are connected to Alert1’s 24/7 Command Center within seconds. A trained responder will send you help. We stay on the line with you until assistance arrives.

You will love the peace of mind that comes with having easy access to help at all times. A medical device will give your life the best insurance. Live in the comfort of your home without any worries about your safety.

Home Fall Detection

Fall Detection

Let’s take a look at some of the ways medical alerts have evolved, starting with home fall detection.

Today’s medical alerts have the added feature of fall detection. Fall detection is an innovative addition to what medical alerts already were, and changed the entire aging in place industry as we know it. So what does fall detection do? It’s simple. It detects your fall and calls help for you.

The fall detection pendant contains sensors within the help button. This allows the device to automatically call for help the moment it detects your fall. Now, not only can you press your help button at any time, but if you have fallen, the pendant automatically contacts the operator so that you don’t have to.

Even if you are unconscious, help will still be notified. Whether you can speak or not, the operator will come on the line and send help to assist you. This creates safety and peace of mind, 100% of the time.

Fall detection has come a long way since it was first released. At first, fall detection technology had the major drawback of false alarms. Regular movements like bumping into objects would knock the fall detection pendant and cause it to have a false alarm. In response to this, Alert1 rigorously tested pendants to detect the difference between a fall and everyday movements.

Alert1’s fall detection technology has advanced. The sensor now detects falls with incredible accuracy to nearly eliminate the occurrence of false alarms. Alert1’s is helping seniors age in place to their fullest potential, and live safe independent lives. 

Kelsi Pro Mobile Fall Detection

Kelsi Pro in Hand

Alert1 specializes in improving the lives of seniors, and never stops trying to help them as they age. Now, Alert1 went one step further in changing medical alerts, by releasing the Kelsi Pro mobile fall detection system.

Kelsi Pro is the upgraded, mobile version of home fall detection. It offers everything of Alert1’s home fall detection, on the go. Mobile fall detection changed the way seniors age and use medical alerts entirely.

A mobile device allows seniors to take Alert1’s fall detection technology anywhere. Kelsi Pro is the smallest and most comfortable  mobile fall detection pendant on the market. It’s portability and state-of-the-art technology lets you leave the house without fear.  

Kelsi Pro’s GPS and cellular networks find your location in the emergency. Wherever your emergency may happen to occur, you will be automatically connected to the operator and get pinpointed by GPS. This gives you complete protection and peace of mind, everywhere you go.

PAX Plus – Mobile + Home + Fall Detection

PAX Resize

Alert1 changed the medical alert industry once more by releasing its comprehensive all-in-one home and mobile fall detection system, the PAX Plus. It goes a step beyond what the standard PAX does. With PAX Plus, Alert1 members:

Receive complete home and mobile protection coverage with three units. After ordering PAX Plus, you receive an on-the-go fall detection unit, a compact home fall detection unit, and a classic home alert system wristband.

Remain protected even while the mobile unit is charging. PAX Plus solved the problem of users being vulnerable while their mobile unit charges. This unit keeps you protected at all times.

Use the compact fall detection unit at home. While the mobile unit charges, you put on the compact fall detection pendant to stay protected at home. No matter what, you will still have Alert1 protection and fall detection technology by your side when the PAX Plus pendant is not in use.

Use the classic wristband to sleep safely in the night while PAX Plus charges. Wear it as an emergency call button in the night for overnight protection. False alarms are more likely to happen at night. Using the classic wristband will ensure that nothing will happen while you are sleeping. 

What Sets Alert1 Apart From Our Competitors?

While there are many medical alert companies for people to choose from, Alert1 has earned it’s reputation of being the #1 medical alert company in the United States for many reasons. The most obvious reasons are that our members love us, and the service we provide is unmatched.

At Alert1, we dedicate ourselves to serving our customers and helping them age in place. In the end, all medical alert companies have the likeminded goal to help seniors during an emergency. Alert1’s main competitors are Life Alert® and Philips Lifeline®.

What We Have In Common With Our Competitors

First let’s talk about what we have in common with our competitors. The big three companies in the medical alert industry are Alert1, Life Alert®, and Philips Lifeline®.

Everybody Knows About Life Alert®

The first commonality is that everyone thinks a medical alert system is called a life alert®. But why is that? They are the medical alert company responsible for bringing awareness of the topic to masses through their use of over exaggerated commercials.

Everyone has seen their cheesy commercials with the infamous tagline, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”®. The commercials have become so notorious that the entire medical alert device industry is commonly referred by many as a “life alerts”. It is similar to the way that tissues are referred to as Kleenex®.

Nationwide Coverage


Alert1, Life Alert®, and Lifeline® all have nationwide coverage. This means that wherever you live in the United States, you will be safe and sound.

If you have one of Alert1’s mobile medical alerts, you will take the nationwide safety with you while you are on the go. Bring your medical alert from the sunny shores of Florida to the sparkling waters beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. Fears for your safety will never hold you back!

UL Listed Companies


The next thing all three medical alert companies have in common is UL Listed monitoring centers. UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories, and they conduct safety analyses of companies.

Since Alert1, Life Alert®, and Lifeline® are all UL Listed, this means they all undergo random certification checks on products and services. Since these checks are random, you can trust that Alert1 is up to the highest standards at all times.

The Big Three Will Stay on the Line Until Help Arrives

operator responds.alert1 medical alert

Alert1, Life Alert®, and Lifeline®, all want their members to stay as safe as possible, so they all stay on the line until help arrives. This constant care is a very important aspect to members of all companies.

When you are in danger, the last thing you want is to be left alone. The operators can provide advice on what actions to take and help you remain calm until emergency responders get to you.

Even if it's just a false alarm, Alert1 will stay on the line until you let us know you are okay. Unlike our competitors, at Alert1 we give our members unlimited button presses. So however many false alarms you do have, you will not be penalized.

Alert1 and Life Alert® are both TMA 5 Diamond Certified


Alert1 and Life Alert® both share something that Lifeline® doesn’t, and this is being a TMA 5 Diamond Certified Center. This means the operators who help you over phone have gone through very specific training, and will know exactly how to help you in any situation.

What sets Alert1 apart from Life Alert® however, is that we have two Command Centers, while they have just one. Our Command Centers are in two different states, so we have more staff to answer quicker and get you help fast. Even in the event of a natural disaster, Alert1 can still keep it’s promise to our members by having a backup Command Center ready to take calls.

What Sets Alert1 Apart From Our Competitors?

alert1 medical alerts cares

Now you know what we have in common with Life Alert® and Philips Lifeline®, but what does Alert1 offer that sets us apart from the other two?

Alert1 Offers Better Pricing

One of the main differences Alert1 provides has to do with pricing and financing. Life Alert® is significantly more expensive than Alert1. More expensive does not always mean better. While Life Alert’s® costs are higher, they lack service options that Alert1 offers to members.

Lifeline’s® prices are closer to Alert1’s prices, but they also lack service options Alert1 offers. When you choose Alert1, you get the best bang for your buck.

Alert1 Does Not Require Long Term Contracts

What else makes Alert1 differ from it’s competitors? We do not require long-term contracts of our members. On top of Life Alert’s® higher price, they require a long-term contract to their members.

When you choose Life Alert®, you’re signing for a 3-year contract with limited cancellation options. If you are unsatisfied with their system or service, you will be stuck paying unnecessary fees.

Alert1 gives our members the ability to cancel their service at will. The wellbeing of our members is our top priority, and we put that before all else.

At Alert1, we understand that unexpected things happen in life. We also know that long-term contracts are intimidating, and are not something that people want to be stuck in. On top of the peace of mind Alert1 members receive from our service, they also appreciate the freedom of not being tied down to a long-term contract.

Multilingual Protection

The next thing that sets Alert1 apart from our competitors is that we offer our members multilingual protection. Unlike Life Alert® and Lifeline®, our emergency responders speak over 190 different languages.

This means they can assist you in whichever language you speak. The United States has welcomed a countless amount of immigrants from all parts of the world, so we understand the depth of how many languages are spoken.

At Alert1, we want to meet the needs of all people. Since our TMA 5 Diamond Certified Responders speak over 190 different languages, we are confident we can meet those needs.

We don’t want simple language barriers to stop seniors and aging adults from getting proper care. Communication is essential when you need assistance, so in order for us to provide the best care, we ensure that we meet the communication needs of all people.

Alert1 Offers Unlimited Button Presses Free of Charge

Nobody likes hidden fees, and Alert1 understands that. We also believe that nobody should be charged for the amount of help they receive. Because of this, every Alert1 plan comes with unlimited talk time and button presses to our members.

You will never be charged for button presses, or accidental presses. Even if you just want to have a conversation with someone, you can press your button. Our operators are happy to hear from you.

Unlike other companies like Life Alert®, we do not hide our pricing or limit button presses from you. All pricing options are clear, and help is never withheld for any reason.

Alert1 Has Been #1 Rated For 4 Years in a Row


Alert1 stands out in one way that we are particularly proud to mention. Modern Senior Magazine* has given us the title of “Best Medical Alarm Service”, for four consecutive years in a row.

With all the medical alert companies out there, it is an honor to have this prestigious title and we have nobody to thank but our members. We strive to provide them the medical alert product and emergency services to age in place, and this award proves that we do just that.

Alert1 is Looking to the Future


Alert1, a medical alert system leader, has served the needs of aging adults since 1988. The company first started with the goal of helping seniors remain independent. We have always strived to allow seniors to live without fear.

The once small business has grown and now takes pride in having supported and cared for more than 250,000 families. Alert1 is committed to excellence and constant improvement. We provide reliable and affordable service to seniors across the United States.

With Alert1, you can be sure you are getting the latest technology to live your life safely and independently. Start living your golden years with Alert1 today!

*Alert1 and Modern Senior Magazine are wholly owned and operated by ResponseLINK, LLC.