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Community Alarm Service (Factsheet 011)

Community alarms provide an emergency telephone link for older and disabled people.

What is a community alarm?

Community alarms provide an emergency telephone link for older and disabled people.The alarm allows someone to get in touch with medical and emergency services quickly and reliably, even if they aren't able to get to the telephone or aren't able to speak.

The purpose of the alarm is to give added security to the user or to provide reassurance for their informal carer.

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How does it work?

Users of the service have a community alarm unit installed in their home, which is connected to the telephone line. This unit is radio controlled by a pendant that is worn around the neck or attached to clothing. If the user has a fall or for some other reason needs help, he or she presses a button on the pendant. It sends out a signal to the telephone which contacts the Community Alarm Service Control Centre.

The Community Alarm Service Control Centre is open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. Staff at the centre have database information on the user's name and address, doctor, medical history. They also have the names and telephone numbers of people - relatives, friends or neighbours - who have keys to the user's home and are available to help in an emergency. If a relative, friend or neighbour is unable to help out, then the operator will contact one of the emergency services.

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Who qualifies for an alarm?

Anyone who thinks that they may benefit from the peace of mind provided can apply for a Community Alarm. People may apply in their own right or on behalf of a relative for example.

Is there a charge?

There is a flat rate charge applicable for the provision of a community alarm. This is currently £110 per year.

Payment is made by direct debit. You will be sent one annual invoice with payment collected in four quarterly instalments of £27.50.

We will give you more information about payment when your alarm is supplied. More favourable terms can be requested once you receive your annual invoice if the above arrangement will cause you difficulty.

Note: This charge applies from 1st June 2014 until further notice.

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What does this charge include?

The annual charge includes the initial provision and installation of the community alarm equipment, periodic upgrading of equipment as required for technical reasons, connection to the call centre and associated fees, routine maintenance of equipment, including battery replacement and a 365 day repair service.

Note: The charge does not include the cost of any calls made or line rental charges. These will continue to be billed by your telephone service provider in the usual way.

Testing your alarm

It is important that your alarm is tested regularly. We recommend that it is tested once a month, to ensure that the battery is in good working order. All you need to do is to press the button on the pendant as though you were calling for help.

Once the call is received by the monitoring centre please inform them that it was a test call and ask if the test was successful.

If the monitoring centre informs you that the battery is low; or if the pendant does not work when you try to test it, please contact the Community Alarm Service on 01792 648999 immediately.

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How do I apply to Social Services for an alarm?

You can apply directly to Social Services yourself either by telephone or in writing. If you prefer, you could ask your carer, GP, hospital staff, or Health Visitor to get in touch on your behalf.

To apply for an alarm from Social Services, please contact:

Community Alarm Service
78 Clase Road

Tel: 01792 648999

Community Alarm Services telephone calls are routinely voice-recorded for quality monitoring purposes.

If you change your telephone provider

If you change your telephone provider please let us know by ringing 01792 648999. Not all telephone systems use the same technology, and if your new telephone providers' system is different from the one used by your previous provider, we may need to make changes to your alarm system.

If this is not done, your alarm may not work properly when you need to use it.

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Swansea Social Services and personal information

When you are in touch with Social Services, we will keep information about you in written records and computer files. We will keep this information confidential, except where we need to share it with people providing you with care, or to protect you or other people.

You have a right to ask to see records we keep about you.

We can give you more information about how we handle personal information.

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Comments and complaints

We welcome any comments about our services - good or bad. We are interested to hear how we could do things better, and we like to know when we are doing well.

If you are unhappy with the services you receive, we encourage you to make a complaint. Full details are given in the leaflet ' Making a comment, complaint or compliment about Social Services.' For more advice or information about making a complaint, you can contact our Complaints Officers on 01792 637345.

This information is also available in alternative formats, such as large print, on audio CD, in Braille, or electronically. Please phone 01792 636693 for copies.

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Factsheet: 011/ May 2014/ v.8

© 2014 City and County of Swansea
Civic Centre, Oystermouth Road, Swansea. SA1 3SN. Tel: 01792 636000 Fax: 01792 636340