Who doesn’t remember the late 80s-early 90s commercials for a personal medical alarm with the phrase, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” It was the trademarked catchphrase for the LifeCall emergency pendant and is now used by another company. As anyone knows who has one of these personal alert devices, or has an elderly relative who uses one, they often require payment of monthly fees to stay on the service. Among several that don’t have such fees is the SkyAngel 911FD which we got in a box labeled “GPS Smart Tracker.”
The device felt a little heavy to me, although it’s only about 2-inches by 1-inch. But I weighed it, and it’s about 1-1/2 ounces, not much more than a thick birthday card. It comes with a neck cord, a charging stand and a power adapter. It connects to any cell phone service in the area and functions as a two-way speaker.
The SkyAngel 911 FD is completely easy to set up because there’s no real set up. It has a single button marked SOS on the front of it and pushing it dials 911. They suggest it be tested when first put in use, and monthly thereafter. Of course, you need to allow the call to be answered so you can tell the 911 operator you are only testing, otherwise they will dispatch a first responder.
With GPS the wearer can be located to within a few feet but of course, if the wearer is inside a large building and not near a window, that could be a problem. 911 will try to locate the person, if they can’t say where they are, by geo-locating the cell signal.
The SkyAngel 911FD is waterproof so it can be worn in the shower and even be underwater for up to 10 minutes with no damage, as long as the back cover is not tampered with.
The “FD” part is fall detection, in that the SkyAngel can tell if the wearer has fallen, and it will call 911 without having to push the SOS button, if, for instance, the wearer is not conscious. As I said, a call to 911 without someone saying anything from where the call originated will mean a police dispatch.
Because there’s no base station, as with some other personal alert devices, the SkyAngel 911FD works both indoors and outdoors, wherever the wearer goes. It says the rechargeable battery is good for 10 hours in normal mode and 60 hours in sleep mode, although I’m not sure what that is. There is an on/off switch on the side and two small LEDs indicating cell network coverage and the state of the battery; the blue one blinks rapidly when a recharge is needed. There’s also a port to recharge the device with a cell phone USB charger if the charging stand is not available.
Obviously with no monthly fee, the SkyAngel can be overall less expensive than similar devices that do require such payments, but they do have other features this device doesn’t, such as their own live operators who can provide less than emergency assistance (as well as calling for help) and have a list of family & friends who can be contacted if needed.
SkyAngel 911FD comes in four colors, black, blue, green or pink, and is currently available direct for $160 plus another $13 for shipping. Other sellers have it at the same or higher prices. There’s also an optional wristband for $15.