It is always important to be able to contact someone in the event of a medical or any other kind of emergency. Usually a telephone will do. But sometimes more protection is needed, and that is when personal alarms come in. There are basically two types, but they are very different.
The first type is a non-monitored system. That means a live operator is not involved at all. The way it works is that when you set up your system, you specify a friend or family member to be called if you need help. When you press your emergency button, a call will automatically be placed to that person with a pre-recorded message from you that you require assistance.
While personal alarms like those are perfectly adequate, they cannot measure up to a monitored medical alert system. In this system, when you press your pendant, a medically trained monitor comes on the line to talk to you. You tell the monitor what is wrong, and together decide whether further help is needed. You can also set up your system so the monitor calls a friend or family member, so with personal alarms like these, you get the best of both worlds.
The main drawback of a monitored system is obviously the cost. That potentially life-saving monitoring is not free; you pay a monthly fee for that privilege. With a non-monitored system, you just pay for the equipment and you are done.
If you can afford it, it might pay to spend the extra money and get a monitored system. Help will arrive quicker with these personal alarms. Calling a friend or loved one is great, but they are not medical professionals (unless they are!) and really will not know what to do. The monitor will know. And really, can you put a price on that type of service?