What is an Emergency Response System?

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  • Written By: R. Kayne
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 31 October 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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An Emergency Response System (ERS) is a general term for any number of systems used in response to an emergency. These can range from a nationally organized response system down to a Personal Emergency Response System (PERS).

One Emergency Response System most people are familiar with is the 60-second drill occasionally tested over broadcast television and radio. In the event of an emergency, instructions would be issued to help safeguard the public. On the civil level, the city’s law enforcement, fire departments and other emergency personnel commonly drill for disasters of varying types in order to have a functioning Emergency Response System in place. Some of the components of preparing for a catastrophe include establishing potential evacuation routes, organizing triage plans for large numbers of injured and planning for the establishment of temporary shelters.

A Personal Emergency Response System works in reverse of a public Emergency Response System. In this case, the individual experiencing a potentially life-threatening crisis uses a device to alert professional caretakers. The 24/7 staff has a complete medical history of the caller on hand and responds to the crisis in whatever way is appropriate. This might mean calling a family member, dispatching an ambulance or lending assistance over the phone.


The Personal Emergency Response System is popular with seniors, as the alert device is commonly worn around the neck or wrist, making it handy at all times. Though each system uses different equipment, one such Personal Emergency Response System transmits wirelessly to a small desktop component that is connected to a phone line. When activated by the button worn by the bearer, the device automatically dials the Emergency Response System staff. The desktop box contains a powerful microphone and speaker, enabling a two-way conversation without the caller being right near the box. This eliminates the need to get to the phone and allows an elderly person to remain independent, while assuring family and friends that help is always available.

The Personal Emergency Response System is a paid monthly service, much like a monitored home alarm system. Some Personal Emergency Response Systems do not use speakerboxes and instead are setup to call the client right back when the emergency button is used. If the client can’t get to the phone, the staff might notify a family member or friend, send staff or dispatch an ambulance.



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