The Brave New World of Medical Alarms

The medical alarm industry is on a growth curve. Innovations ensure a greater acceptance in more homes of adults opting to age in place.

PERS 4200 Lifetyle

Also called PERS  (Personal Emergency Response System), these small, unobtrusive gadgets are gaining wider spread recognition.

How Do Medical Alarms Work?

Chuck Stevens is the Vice President of the Health and Wellness Strategic Business Unit for Linear LLC, a large manufacturer of PERS devices, located in Carlsbad, CA. He described the inner workings of these electronic devices.

A pendant, watch or clip is carried or worn by the older person in a home setting. A button on the device activates radio signals to summon help. A residential console contacts a remote emergency reporting center; a 2-way voice communications is activated with the senior-in-crisis.

Remote Call in Centers

They are located across the USA with trained accessible emergency reporting operators. They do not provide medical advice, Stevens said. They determine the situation and condition of older adults and summon help via 911. The reporting center calls designated people of the elderly person – family, friends, and neighbors.

Previous medic alarms possessed limited range, but Linear’s PERS-4200 can function within a range up to DXS-LRC1,000 feet, in the home, yard, and garage. “But not miles or blocks away,” said Stevens. “It’s designed for local use only.”

PERS – Response or Reporting?

Linear LLC, founded over 50 years ago as a security and access control company, has expanded into the medical alert field. Stevens utilizes the PERS moniker differently, deviating from the standard Personal Emergency Response System, renaming it as a Personal Emergency Recording System. The company’s PERS 4200 possesses add-ons for 16 devices, including smoke, fire, and carbon monoxide detection.

Expanding the Horizons of PERS

Active Care Inc. of Oren, UT, has designed a PERS product that can alert emergencies of older adults across North America – USA, Canada, and Mexico.

Michael Z. Jones, the company’s Chief Strategy Officer, outlined the far-ranging capabilities of its premier product – the Active One PERS Device.

In the event of an emergency, Active Care communicates regardless of the location of the older-adult-in-need, said Jones. The company’s proprietary technology embeds GPS-location capability within a miniature PERS device.

The PERS Device employs a cellular network. Combined with GPS, the exact location of an injured senior can be determined and a remote communication line established from vast distances.

At Home and Abroad with GPSCall Center

GPS capability means PERS wearers can reside in their homes or travel anywhere in North America and utilize the Active One. In emergency situations, cross- continental seniors can push the PERS button. An alert will be sent to the local cellular provider and relayed to the internal call center in Utah.

Emergency response will be dispatched to local first responders. Family and friends will be notified of the crisis.

A complex system – access to emergency regardless of location – has been combined with the ability to locate the respondent through GPS – said Jones.


There are many other PERS providers in North America. Consumers need to select the right option for their lifestyles.

Image One - PERS 4200 Lifestyle. Image Two - DXS-LRC Wristband. Courtesy of Linear LLC.