Personal Alarm FAQs

By: John Petty

What is a personal alarm?

A personal alarm is a self defense device, that when activated, emits a extremely loud, high pitched, ear piercing alert.

Are all personal alarms the same?

No, most alarms are electronic and operate on batteries. Many have flashlights or strobe lights and some double as a travel alarm protecting doors of hotel rooms and motor homes. They are activated by pushing a button or removing a pin from the device and will continue to operate until the pin is re-inserted. The other type are small canisters, pressurized with an inert gas. When the button is depressed, gas escapes through the nozzle which causes a shrieking blast. This type will only continue to operate as long as the button is being depressed and there is pressurized gas remaining in the canister.

How can a personal alarm help me?

The theory is that an attacker is looking for an ' easy mark ' that will be submissive to their advances. If confronted with this sonic blast, they will become startled and disoriented. They will also become concerned about the attention they will soon be receiving and break off the attack.

How effective are personal alarms?

For the most part, personal alarms are very effective, but they are not without disadvantages. They are a passive device in that they don't actually disable the assailant. Also, the attacker may go after the alarm, in an attempt silence it and possibly injure the victim. If obtained, the device could also be disabled. Remember, for the alarm to work, it must have fresh batteries and be close at hand!

With these disadvantages, are personal alarms worthwhile ?

Without a doubt. If you use it and the attacker retreats, then the alarm has done it's job. Many people opt for passive personal alarms as their first line of defense, while maintaining a more controlling pepper spray, or stun gun as their second. The combination of both really strengthens your self defense plan.

What other uses do personal alarms have?

Personal Alarms are perfect devices for seniors and the disabled. Attaching one to a wheelchair for instance could only increase their odds of being heard in an emergency. Individuals who are uncomfortable using a defense spray or stun gun will also find value in personal alarms. During an catastrophic event such as an earthquake ; hurricane ; or avalanche, a personal alarm may prove invaluable. As mentioned above, they may also double as a travel alarm, used on doors. College students also, will find value in personal alarms by protecting their dorms while they sleep ; and protecting themselves at other times.

How loud are personal alarms?

Most personal alarms operate at an impressive 120 to 135 decibels. The list below can give you an idea how loud that is :

weakest sound heard 0 dB

normal conversation at 3-5 ft 60-70 dB

city traffic inside car 85 dB

train whistle at 500 ft. 90 dB

subway train at 200 ft. 95 dB

regular sustained exposure may cause permanent damage 90-95 dB

power mower 107 dB

power saw 110 dB

Pain begins 125 dB

air powered riveter at 4 ft. 125 dB

jet engine at 100 ft. 140 dB

loudest sound that can happen 194 dB

Are personal alarms heavy and bulky?

No, on the contrary, in recent years, as technology has improved, the weight and size of these units have decreased, while observing an increase in performance while maintaining a respectable price. Many alarms are small enough to be used as key chains. Some use a wrist strap connected to the activation pin. Others have a clip for your belt and some are even shaped like a pen and clip to your shirt pocket.

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