There are lots of different types of personal alarms. Choosing the best one for you can sometimes be tricky. Read on for tips on how to make the right choice. 

The purpose of a personal alarm:

The purpose of a personal safety alarm is to shock and disorientate an attacker, giving you vital seconds to get away.

Important features:

- The most important feature of an alarm is the sound it emits.  If an attacker is to be shocked enough to pull away from you, this sound needs to be as loud and as shrill as possible. It is a common misconception that alarms will attract others as, if there is no one around, or others are far from us, they may not be attracted to the sound. Also if a personal alarm pulsates like many car alarms, the sound may not be recognisable as an attack alarm.

- The most effective sound is continuous and over 130 decibels (approx 138db is ideal).

- Your alarm needs to be easy to carry, and be easy to set off in one hand. Do consider whether a very lightweight and tiny alarm will be as loud or accessible as you need it to be. 

Consider:

How would you operate the alarm in an emergency?  There are many different ways to activate different types of alarms, including push caps, push buttons and pull out pins.  How fiddly is it to activate it?  Do you have problems using your hands or fingers?  Can it be operated simply by being pushed against something?

When & how to use an alarm:

The primary function of an alarm is to distract and disorientate an attacker.

Set off the alarm, holding it as close to the attackers face as possible.

Drop the alarm and make your escape. If it is by the attackers feet, it may also act as a visual distraction, as well as a audible distraction.

If you are able to attract the attention of passers- by, you are more likely to get help if you shout a specific instruction – such as “Call the police!”  This makes it clear that you are in danger and need help.

Remember: Once you have set off your alarm, leave the situation as quickly as you can, moving to a busy area if possible.  Don’t wait to check that your alarm has had the desired effect; just go.

Remember: A personal alarm should be just one part of your personal safety plan. There are lots of other ways in which you can help to reduce the risk of violence and aggression.

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