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A panic alarm is an electronic device designed to assist in alerting somebody in emergency situations where a threat to persons or property exists.
A panic alarm is frequently but not always controlled by a concealed panic alarm button. These buttons can be connected to a monitoring center or locally via a silent alarm or an audible bell/siren. The alarm can be used to request emergency assistance from local security, police or emergency services. Some systems can also activate closed-circuit television to record or assess the event.
Many panic alarm buttons lock on when pressed, and require a key to reset them.
Examples of alarm panic buttons are:
- A button in a critical system (such as a nuclear weapons system) used to quickly activate an extreme measure to mitigate an emergency situation.
- A red button integral to key fobs which activates a car alarm's siren.
- A device given to elderly individuals in order to maintain their independence outside of an Aged Care Facility, while still affording them a means of summoning help should they require it (i.e. a medical emergency that renders them immobile, like a fall, injury or illness). Such a device can also be referred to as an Emergency Medical Alert (EMA) button and can be fitted as either a pendant or bracelet to be worn by the user. MAB's are usually wirelessly connected to a call centre. When the alarm is raised, an operator will call the individual's home to ensure a false alarm has not occurred; if there is no answer, the operator will alert either family members, emergency services, or both.
- A button similar to the above, which is used indoors in self-sufficient houses for elderly people, where it alerts someone inside the house, who will then first check for a false alarm by phoning the person, and if there is no false alarm, will enter the person's flat to check what is the problem.
- A button used in convenience stores, gas station, or other establishments staffed with a single employee during late hours. Often located under the counter near the cash register or safe, the button can be pressed in times of distress (Such as robbery, disruptive or threatening behavior, or a situation which may warrant assistance), triggering a silent alarm. If the button alarms a private security company, a fee may be charged for each time the button is used. This prevents mis-use, and often aids in the employees judgment of the situation; whether or not it warrants the fee to have help to deal with the situation.
- A boss key.
- In pop culture, humorous variants of such a panic button also exist, such as a wearable button bearing only the word "PANIC" or an adhesive key, meant to look like a key for a computer keyboard, usually red, and also bearing only the word "PANIC".
A medical alert panic button or medical alarm is an electronic device worn on a bracelet or necklace as part of a medical alert system. When pressed, it sends a wireless signal to a home console which dials alarm monitoring staff and alerts them of an emergency condition. Depending on the severity of the situation, alarm monitoring staff will summon friends, family, or emergency services. A panic button alarm is a self-contained electronic device powered by an internal long-life battery, typically waterproof and designed to be shock resistant and highly durable.
Holdup alarms are alarms that require a person under duress to covertly trigger the alarm to summon the proper authorities. These types of alarms are most commonly found in retail establishments and financial institutions, but are sometimes an integrated feature of home burglar alarms. The trigger could be a push button, electronic money clip, a foot rail, or a number of other things. Either the person under duress or a witness can activate this kind of alarm. For example if someone is ambushed outside of their home and told to disable their alarm system they can possibly enter a special duress code that is different from their normal deactivation code to notify authorities without arousing suspicion. These alarms are almost always silent and usually require a manual reset with a key or a special code.
The monitoring service (central station) is a call center facility that is staffed at all times to receive calls from the system console. Monitoring service centers that are approved by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) have internal backup systems to add redundancy. Some monitoring services employ trained operators enabling them to better evaluate the severity of help requests. In most less developed countries however, response to panic alarms are slow.
In a MIDI instrument when the note-off message for a played note is not received, the note will sound on endlessly, and also has the potential to raise in amplitude enough to damage the speakers or other components in the sound system. Hitting the panic button will send a note-off command to all keys, stopping any notes that were still playing.
- Certified Alarm Technician Level 1 Manual (1 April 2001) NTS (10 October 2007)