A care alarm is a personal alert system. It is linked to our 24 hour response centre and our team will be on hand to help in times of emergency.
If you need help, simply press the button on the alarm pendant around your neck or on the unit next to the phone and we will contact you to see if everything is OK.
If it isn't - or if we can't contact you - we will send someone to check.
Make a payment
It's quick and easy to pay your care alarm bill online.
Pay your alarm call charges online
Using your alarm:
How often should I test my alarm?
We encourage you to test your alarm at least once a month by pressing your pendant. Don't forget, we are open 24 hours a day so you can test your alarm at any time.
Getting into your home
There is always a way to get into your home if you are in distress and need our help. We will ask you for as many ways as possible to get into your home should we need to.
This might include:
- Giving you a secure (coded) key-safe which is attached to your property - there would be a charge for this
- Having a neighbour, friend or relative to act as key-holder
- Information about where you hide a key outside your home
If we can't get into your home and we think you need help, we would arrange for a forced entry to your home. This might be by breaking a window or more likely, by breaking open a door by force. Forced entry is always a very last resort. We will ask you to sign a disclaimer which allows us to force entry to your property if it is absolutely necessary.
Keeping keys to your home:
We prefer not to keep a key to your home because of the high number of clients we have. Instead, we encourage you to arrange for family or friends to keep keys to your home on your behalf. Normally, our staff would only be able to travel within South Tyneside to collect a key from a key-holder. However, we might make small allowances depending on the circumstances at the time. Our staff could not travel much further than South Tyneside because they may be needed for a more urgent call at any time.
What if I don't have family or contacts nearby?
If you have no family or contacts nearby, we can provide you with a key-safe. We will keep a key to your home until the key safe is in place.
What is a key-safe?
A key-safe is a small metal storage device that holds 1 or 2 small keys. You can open the key-safe through the keypad on the front. The key-safe has a plain black rubber cover that protects it from the weather and makes it look discreet. The safe is fastened securely to a brick wall by screws or bolts. The key-safe can be fitted next to your door, or in a more discreet location.
There is a one-off charge for a key-safe. It can be installed by a family member or we can install it for you for a small charge.
How do I get a key-safe?
When your community alarm is installed we will talk you through how to get a key-safe.
Would you share my key-safe code with anyone else?
Normally, only our staff would have access to your key-safe code along with anyone else you give it to. However, there may be circumstances where we need to give your key-safe code to someone else, such as the emergency services.
Who would carry out repairs to my property if you force entry?
- Council owned property: If you live in a Council owned property, arrangements will be made for a joiner to make your property secure as soon as possible. Other repairs would normally be carried out the next working day.
- Private property: If you live in a privately owned property or a privately rented property, it is your own responsibility to arrange for the property to be made secure and to pay for any other repairs that are needed. If the police are involved in forcing entry to a private property, they may make temporary arrangements for you but you will have to pay for this. Owners and occupants of privately rented accommodation will be asked to sign a disclaimer to say that South Tyneside Council and the police are not responsible for any financial costs caused by a forced entry.
Information we keep about you
We will only collect information from you that will help us to provide our service to you.
This might include:
- Your name, address and date of birth
- Your contact details such as GP, carers, next of kin, neighbours, friends and key-holders
- Medical information that will help us to be aware of any problems you might face
- Any other information that will help us to provide our service
How do I raise an alert?
When your basic alarm is installed, you will be able to raise an alert in two ways:
- By pressing the illuminated red button on the alarm box, or
- By pressing the red button on your personal pendant from anywhere within your home or garden
What happens when I raise an alert?
When you raise an alert, we will receive your call in our control centre.
We will be able to see all of the details that you provided when you applied for the service. This means that we will know who and where you are, along with your general health conditions before we've even spoken to you.
When we receive your call we will try to speak to you through the open speaker / microphone on your alarm. If we can speak with you, we will ask why you called and help in any way we can. If we can't speak to you, we will assume that you have a problem. We will then try to contact you by phone. If we can't contact you by phone we will send a mobile warden to your home (via a key-holder if necessary) to check you are safe.
How can I identify your staff?
All of our mobile warden staff will be wearing a uniform when they visit your home. They will have arrived in a yellow Council vehicle and will be carrying photo ID card. If you have any doubt at all about who is visiting you at home you can call us and we will help to verify the person.
What if I fall in my home?
We provide a falls service to help you if you have fallen in your home. If we think you have seriously injured yourself in the fall, we will not move you, we will get professional medical help. If you have a very minor injury because of the fall we can contact a nurse or a GP. We can also contact a member of your family.
What if my landline fails?
Your community alarm needs a working landline to function.
If your landline stops working and we think you are at risk, we have an another piece of equipment that we can install until repairs are carried out.
This piece of equipment operates on the mobile telephone network and would be strictly for alarm calls only, not private calls. You would be charged for any private calls you make.
Who will arrange for my landline to be repaired?
If you don't have a family member or friend who can report a fault for you, you should contact us.
We will arrange for a mobile warden to visit you to check your phone system and our alarm system before reporting it as an fault to your phone company. Although we will check your phone system as well as we can, our staff are not trained telephone engineers so could not be held responsible if your telephone company makes a visit and charges you for a fault. If we think you have an external telephone fault, we can report it on your behalf. This may mean that we need to ask you for details of your telephone account and your bank account details (some phone companies won't be able to help without this information).