Alert 1 Review Summary
The Alert 1 medical alert system is a quality one offered by a company with over two decades of experience in the industry. The main pluses of Alert 1 is that the company offers various quality product options, making it easy for users to access Alert 1’s services.
On the minus side, Alert 1 does not manage it’s own monitoring dispatch center, but outsources it to a trusted partner. Some users may feel more comfortable knowing that the call center is managed in-house. In fairness to Alert 1, the call monitoring centers contracted are US based and adhere to strict industry standards. The final result is high customer satisfaction going by customer reviews. Readers can compare Alert 1 with other systems on the Medical Alert Systems Reviews page.
Disclosure: We receive referral compensation when readers purchase (see details).
No Long Term Contracts – Users are not locked into long term contracts. They are free to cancel at any time but prepaid fees are not refundable after 30 days.
Fall Alert & Other Options – Alert 1 offers various useful options like their Fall Alert and a mobile medical alert pendant for users. Users do not need a home phone line to access Alert 1’s services.
Voice Extender Box Option – The option of extra voice extender boxes (approx. $99) for a home medical alert can be helpful for larger homes. They allow for more easy communications between the dispatch representative and the user when the user is far away from the standard base unit.
No In-house Call Monitoring Center – Some people prefer to buy service from a company that manage their own call monitoring center in-house. This is based on the underlying belief that the company can more directly manage call activities. However, Alert 1’s outsourced call centers are US based and have passed stringent quality assurance requirements.
Alert 1 Detailed Review
Alert 1 is a company based in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the company started operations back in 1988 (27 years in business). Back in the day, they were known as AlertOne, but currently uses the Alert1® name. They made a name first in their local region, before becoming one of the major providers of medical alert systems in the mid-Atlantic region. Currently, Alert 1 serves customers nationwide. Founder Paul Graafsma had a strong customer focus that contributed to the company’s steady growth and expansion. In 2008, the company was acquired by ResponseLink.
In 2014, the company released an ebook compilation of real life medical alert stories based on experiences their customers had. Entitled “Medical Alert Systems: True Aging in Place Stories,” it is an interesting read for anyone looking to learn more about Alert 1 or medical alert systems in general. You can read our book review here.
Alert 1’s focus is strictly on home medical alert systems. Besides Alert 1’s traditional medical alert, they offer additional personal emergency response systems technologies like mobile alert, fall detection medical alert and a wireless base station unit for customers who do not have a home phone line.
How It Works
Alert 1’s medical alert system consists of a monitoring console and a wireless help button that is worn either as a necklace or a bracelet. When a medical emergency occurs, such as when the elderly user slips and falls, he or she can press the help button. This establishes an alarm call to the 24/7 emergency response center.
A response representative will quickly answer the call and speak with the elderly user needing help. The response center representative will assess the situation and contact the appropriate parties for help.
Alert 1 routinely runs tests to ensure that the medical alert system is working. Users are also advised to make monthly test calls to ensure that everything is working before a real emergency takes place.
During these non-emergency test calls, the representative will likely take the chance to verify the senior’s address. This is a good thing. It does not hurt to be double sure on things, and it ensures that help will be directed to go to the right address.
In recent times, Alert 1 has added new product options to help users. Their mobile medical alert device allows for seniors to access Alert-1’s emergency monitoring services while they are on the go, while their fall alert pendant can detect falls automatically and set off an alarm call. We have more details in the rest of this review.
Alert1’s standard emergency response system and service is $35.95 a month. Users can also opt for quarterly or yearly billing. Going on the quarterly plan will bring the monthly cost down to $27.95 a month, and the yearly billing to $25.95 a month. There are no activation or installation charges associated with their classic medical alert system.
If you do choose monthly billing, the first payment is for a minimum 3 months. For users who want to pay on a month-to-month basis, Alert 1’s service cost is not the cheapest. The good news is that they do offer a good discount for customers who prepay for the year. You can see how their pricing compares side-by-side with other systems on the Compare Medical Alerts Systems Chart.
Alert 1’s product line include additional options like mobile monitoring and automatic fall alert. Mobile monitoring costs $45.95 a month or less with quarterly or annual prepayments. A home fall alert detection system costs $40.95 a month. For either systems, customers can save as much as $120 a year by paying for the annual plan.
All payments are backed by a 30-day money back guarantee.
There are no long term contracts. Users can cancel anytime by calling a toll free number, but they will need to send their undamaged equipment back to Alert 1 for the cancellation to take effect. While there are no termination fees, after the first 30 days, there will be no refunds at all including what has been prepaid for the months ahead.
Due to this, we recommend that customers prepaying annually test their system out thoroughly in the first 10 days to ensure that this is something that they expect to find useful over the year. If they find it’s not for them, they still have time to call the company and send the equipment back to receive a refund. Don’t wait till the last minute to do a refund.
Alert1’s classic monitoring console includes a very sensitive microphone that enables senior users to easily hear and talk to emergency response center representatives helping them.
Users also have the option to wear their panic button either as a necklace pendant or wrist strap. The button is waterproof, which allows for them to be worn when showering.
The service covers monitoring for an additional person living in the same household.
According to their website, the equipment provided is covered by a lifetime replacement warranty. They will repair and replace equipment that are not working, including batteries. If the battery on the panic button becomes weak, both the user and Alert 1 will be notified automatically. The user can expect to receive the appropriate battery or accessory needed to keep the system functioning.
Automatic Fall Alert Pendant
Alert1 offers an automatic fall alert pendant that can detect when a fall has taken place. If there is a positive signal, an alarm call is automatically placed to the monitoring center. This option is available for an extra $5 a month and will work with either the landline or cellular based home-use consoles.
This enhanced feature is most useful in cases where seniors pass out after they experience a fall. For seniors who have health challenges that make then susceptible to fainting, this provides an added layer of protection. Keep in mind that no automatic fall alert is 100% accurate. If the user is able to, they should still press the help button as that is the surest way to know that an emergency call has been activated.
Attractive Pendant Lanyards/ Silicone Wristbands
One distinguishing feature of the Alert 1 system is that it offers users a number of different designs for lanyards. With most medical alert systems, the lanyard is plain or dark colored and standard looking. Alert 1 offers some interesting options with beads and bright colors, and silicone wristbands. They work with the standard (not auto fall alert) panic buttons of their classic or wireless home medical alert system.
To take a look at current options, visit their website and choose an offer to browse the add-on shopping cart options. You don’t need to checkout unless you are ready.
Voice Extender Boxes
The Alert 1 classic medical alert system accommodates add-on voice extender boxes that can be placed in different areas of the house. These act as satellite speakerphones when the user is far from the base unit that contains the main speakerphone. Remember, the SOS pendant itself does not contain any speaker or mic – it only activates the call connection.
Voice extender boxes are especially helpful for ensuring clear two-way communications in large houses, on different floors or in the basement. A phone line connection and power connection is needed for voice extender boxes to operate.
Phone Line Options
As with other medical alert system companies, Alert1 recommends connecting the monitoring console to a regular phone line. It is possible that the system will still work with VoIP phone lines. However, the user is subjected to greater risks associated, as VoIP phone lines do not have the same level of reliability as regular land lines.
As more and more seniors are giving up on having a home phone line, Alert 1’s wireless cellular base unit offers a great way for users to access their medical alert services without the need for a home phone line. Their wireless unit works just like their classic base console unit, except that it comes with its own AT&T wireless phone connection. You just have to be careful that reception is good for AT&T’s cellular network at the user’s home.
Alert 1 medical alert systems are meant to be self-installed. The procedure is easy. For their classic system, the main connections are plugging the monitoring console’s power cord into a power outlet and connecting the console to a phone line.
The range of the Alert1 panic button is up to 600 feet in an open area. However, inside homes, a more realistic range is up to 250 feet. That provides ample coverage for most homes. However, the actual range will depend on the layout of the home and its construction materials. Alert1 advises all users to test their system out through different areas of their home.
Their classic and wireless systems are for home use, so even if the button is able to initiate a call 300 feet away from home at an outside location, responders will be dispatched to the user’s home. Seniors seeking a high range system so that it can work from anywhere will need a mobile system instead. Alert 1 has a mobile alert device that incorporates a speaker and mic, plus geographic locations technology. It works both in and out of home through a cellular network connection.
Alert 1 monitoring response centers work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through the year. The monitoring services are provided through a US based company that they have partnered with, with extensive experience in emergency monitoring. Their call centers are both CSAA Five Diamond and UL certified.
All representatives are US based. In case the user cannot speak or understand English, these trained representatives also have access to translators who can understand and speak 50 global languages such as Spanish, German, Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese), Tagalog, Vietnamese etc.
Should power unexpectedly go out in a home, the classic and wireless systems will continue working through a backup battery that lasts for up to 24 hours.
Mobile Medical Alert Systems
Alert1 offers two mobile medical alert pendant options called the Kelsi and Pax. In contrast to Alert 1’s classic or wireless home medical alert systems where users are limited to using the service only from home, a mobile medical alert pendant can be used both in and out of the home. Both mobile pendant options are small, lightweight (1.2 oz and 1.7 oz) and water-resistant (can be worn in showers). The also incorporate a speaker and microphone, so senior users can conveniently establish a two-way conversation with call monitoring center operators. No cellular phone subscription is needed, as the pendant subscription covers connection service to the monitoring center.
The main difference between the Kelsi and Pax is that the Pax has automatic fall detection sensors built into it. Seniors who suffer from dizzy spells, syncope episodes, diabetes, heart problems, or who are susceptible to temporarily losing consciousness may like this extra feature. Automatic fall detection is not 100% reliable, and the device comes with a help button that can be pressed in times of emergency.
Both mobile pendants have locations tracking technology. The Kelsi works through 911’s tracking system, such that senior users who do not know where they are calling from will be connected to 911 to access 911’s system to locate. Pax is GPS-enabled. For more information, check out the Alert 1 website.
The company has a BBB rating of B (March 2015). According to the BBB, the relatively high number of complaints lowered their score while the length of time the company has been in business and their response and resolutions lifted it. In terms of the number of complaints, there were 95 complaints in the last 3 years, of which the majority, 62, occurred in the last 12 months. 40 (42%) complaints were resolved to the satisfaction of customers, while 55 (58%) were answered to but customers’ satisfaction were either absent or customers did not provide final feedback on their acceptance.
Back in 2013, the company had an A+ rating with only 6 complaints. Their level of complaints have climbed over the last two years. The main area of dissatisfaction seemed to be the way they dealt with refunds. We had a reader who who wrote in about his concerns in getting his money back in accordance with Alert1’s 30-day money back guarantee. It took him a few phone calls, but he did get his money refunded.
On the Consumer Affairs website, they had a high rating of 4 plus stars. A lot of consumers were happy with the services offered. Going through the minority of low rating reviews from customers, there appeared a common thread that dissatisfaction layed either with the lack of refunds or how refunds were processed. Keep in mind that the initial 30-day refund period will come and go quickly and shipments can get delayed. If you can work with that, it will reduce the risk for disappointment.
Alert 1 is a respected medical alert company with quality products and services. They have various products and options to suit different senior needs. There pricing is reasonable and they offer a 30 day money back guarantee. If you are interested in what you have read, take a look at their website for more information and access current readers’ offers.
Disclosure: We receive referral compensation when readers purchase (see details).
While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this review, the information is supplied without warranties of any kind. We advise all readers to do careful due diligence before purchasing. Take time to visit the company’s website or speak with their representatives.