Medical Alert Systems vs. Calling 911

Although there are many benefits to calling 911 when you have an emergency, for many senior citizens, it is not always a possibility and can be easier to use medical alert systems. Trying to get to a phone in an emergency may cause even more harm to the person who has experienced an accident or medical emergency. Medical alert systems are often the best choice for seniors who need to call emergency personnel because they are readily available and easy to use. There are many reasons to consider medical alert systems vs. 911, including speed of assistance, level of emergency, and the location of the emergency.

Speed of Assistance 

After a fall or accident, it can be difficult to get to a phone, and trying to call 911 could possibly result in further injuries. The time it takes to get to a phone could be time in which the victim of an accident could be receiving medical attention. With a medical alert system, emergency personnel are notified almost immediately at the simple press of a button and they can be dispatched quickly. This process can save valuable time during an emergency.

Level of Emergency

Though an emergency can be as minor as a simple fall or ankle twist, some emergencies may render a senior citizen unable to move or talk. Pressing a button on a medical alert pendant or bracelet would likely be much more possible than trying to get to the nearest telephone. If a stroke or other incapacitating accident has left a senior in severe condition, help is required quickly. Without anyone around to call 911, the situation could quickly escalate. With fall detection technology, this notification is automatic even if the wearer of the device is unable to push the button. A medical alert system is the best way for a senior to notify emergency services in severe emergency cases when no other help is readily available.

Location of the Emergency

The location of an accident is one reason why calling 911 may be too difficult. For example, if someone lives in a small home and only has one telephone, it may not be available for use in any other room. If an accident or emergency happens in another room, or outside of the home, it may not be possible to reach the telephone to call 911 for help. With medical alert systems, help can be contacted no matter where the emergency has occurred. These devices are small, portable, and even waterproof so they can be used anywhere in the home

Advantages that a medical alert system has over calling 911:

  • The person in trouble may not be able to get to the phone. Most people do not carry a phone around with them 100 percent of the time. A slip in the bathtub, a stumble in the yard, or a slip down the stairs could mean a person is stranded without any access to a phone. With a medical alert emergency call button, worn on the body at all times, a person can call for help, no matter the situation.
  • The person may have trouble communicating what exactly might be wrong. Some situations may render a person unable to speak. That makes it difficult for a 911 operator to understand the situation or an EMT to get pertinent information from the patient. A medical alert system operator will have a list of medications the person takes as well as the person’s medical conditions. This can prove invaluable in an emergency.
  • Emergency personnel may not know how to get into the house without breaking down a door. A representative at the medical alert call center can direct the emergency responders on the appropriate entry point, where keys may be found, and any codes needed for the security system. The rep can also relay any special instructions about pets or special conditions within the home.
  • An emergency responder or 911 operator will not know who the person’s emergency contacts are. When a person signs up for a medical alert system, he or she provides a list of emergency contacts. These contacts can be neighbors, family members, or friends. It provides phone numbers and addresses.
  • Not every situation requires 911 assistance. In many cases, the person in trouble may not be having a medical emergency. That person may need assistance getting up off the floor or getting out of bed for an unusual reason. A medical alert system allows the person to get assistance from neighbors or family and not involve emergency personnel at all.
  • Medical alert systems allow seniors to remain independent for longer. While 911 is appropriate for emergency situations, it is not a long-term solution for seniors who need a safety net in place to allow them to stay in their homes as long as possible. A medical alert system can be a part of that safety net.
  • A medical alert system gives the senior and his or her children peace of mind. There comes a moment when a senior realizes that he or she is not as strong and able-bodied as before. The senior is not anywhere ready to go into an assisted living facility or move into a family member’s home. A medical alert system makes this possible.


It is important that seniors and their families consider the differences between using medical alert systems and calling 911 in emergencies. If you, or a loved one, want to find out more about medical alert systems, contact Baja First Alert today. Baja First Alert is the first, biggest and best medical alert company in the Baja California. We are committed to offering high quality, professional service with the utmost level of integrity. Let us help you with all of your medical alert needs. Call (686) 348-9008 today or Contact Us with your questions and concerns. Sign Up Here! You can also visit us at our office in San Felipe. 

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