Can Your Medical Alert System Protect You During a Hurricane?

Can Your Medical Alert System Protect You During a Hurricane?

time icon 5 min read update icon Sept. 17, 2019


Medical alert systems can provide protection, safety and peace of mind with the simple touch of a button. During a hurricane, however, you may be forced to leave behind your home and medical alert system. In some instances, medical alert devices may be disconnected during a hurricane, leaving many seniors to wonder if a medical alert system will be reliable when they need it most.


Hurricanes and other unexpected emergencies may happen at any time. During an emergency, seniors need peace of mind and assurance in knowing that their medical alert system will be fail-proof. With the help of modern technology, many medical alert systems have proved to be vital during emergency situations, including hurricanes.

The Reliability of Medical Alert Systems During a Hurricane

1. Backup batteries

During a hurricane, a medical alert system will remain active as long as power and phone service are operable. However, many medical alert systems are designed to sustain disasters such as hurricanes. If a power outage occurs, the system has a standard 36-48 hour backup battery that enables it to remain operational until medical personnel can arrive.

Operators at the monitoring center will initiate contact with the senior to determine if emergency assistance is needed during the outage. If an operator is not successful in making contact with the senior, they will attempt to contact other emergency contacts. 

2. Saves time

When 911 is called from a cell phone, the operator will not know the senior’s exact location. They will only know which cell tower the call is originating from, and precious time may be wasted while trying to determine and convey directions to first responders. When 911 is called from a home landline, the operator will immediately know the address the senior is calling from, however, they will not be privileged to the senior’s medical history.

During an emergency, it is imperative for responders to be aware of all medications and drug allergies. The operator will attempt to collect as much information as possible, but dependent upon the senior’s condition, collecting pertinent information may not be easy or even possible.

When the alert button is pressed on a medical alert system, operators will immediately know who is calling and the location of the senior and they will have access to the senior’s medical history. Medical alert operators can then immediately contact emergency personnel and transmit information in less time than it would take to dial 911.

3. No phone service

Receiving help during a natural disaster may make the difference between life and death. Unfortunately, during a hurricane, landline and cellular phone service will not always be available. Phone lines may experience an outage or may be busy for extended periods of time. Seniors may become stuck in their homes, causing even more distress.

A medical alert system can provide a source of communication to emergency personnel 24/7, even during a natural disaster. When the alert button is pressed, operators will remain on the line until help safely arrives.

4. Fall detection capabilities

Each day, seniors fall in their homes. The number of falls increases during hurricanes and other natural disasters. Medical alerts can be purchased with fall detection capabilities. Fall detection was designed to detect the difference between a senior’s normal activity and a sudden fall by constantly measuring movement speeds in all directions. When a fall is detected, the fall detection sensor will immediately signal the base station and call the monitoring center. In an emergency situation such as a hurricane, a senior may not be able to speak, however, the operator will still dispatch help.


A hurricane is a natural disaster that can wreak devastating havoc on a senior’s life and property. Although there is often little that can be done to prevent a natural disaster, seniors can plan ahead and prepare with a medical alert system. A medical alert system may prove to make all the difference during an emergency. It can put a senior at ease, knowing that emergency help is only a button press away.

No one can know when a disaster or emergency will strike, however, a senior with a medical alert system may find solace in knowing that even if there is a power outage, the backup battery can still enable help to be called. Pressing the alert button saves time, and the button will often be operational even when standard phone lines are busy or not operating (be sure to check the parameters on your individual system). Systems can also be upgraded to include additional features such as fall detection.

T. Mashae Pearson - Senior Advisor

Shae is senior researcher with Grandfolk® providing in-depth product and service reviews to empower senior buying decisions.