Rescue Alert Medical Alert Review: Is This Device Right for You?
Older adults who want to remain living at home independently must find ways to adapt their living spaces to be as safe as possible. This could include removing slippery rugs, installing grab bars in the bathroom and signing up for a medical alert system.
If you’ve looked at online guides for medical alert systems for yourself or a family member, you know that these devices come equipped with a help button that activates a two-way connection with a dispatcher who is able to send emergency medical assistance to the caller’s home.
“These devices are very important for all seniors but especially those who are at a high risk for falls and may not be able to take action to call in an emergency,” says Glenn Lane, founder of Westchester Family Care in New York state, which provides a variety of home care services to older adults. One study reported in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine showed that older adults who use this technology decreased their hospital stays and improved their quality of life.
This review of the Rescue Alert system will cover usability, costs and other factors so you can determine if this is the right choice for you or a family member.
- The devices are best used in and around the home.
- Rescue Alert medical devices are simply designed; buttons are easy to find in case of a medical emergency or fall.
- The rental payment plans are flexible, which makes them affordable.
Why You Can Trust Our Expert Review
Our experts independently research and recommend products we believe provide value in the lives of our readers. We’ve spent collectively more than 1,700 hours conducting in-depth research on medical alert systems. To make our picks, here’s what we did:
- Engaged in ongoing independent research
- Consulted with geriatricians and adult caregivers
- Mystery shopped the brands
- Surveyed medical alert system users
- Tested various medical alert systems
- Interviewed experts in the field
- Read hundreds of verified customer reviews from trusted third parties such as Better Business Bureau and Consumer Reports
Rescue Alert Overview
Rescue Alert was developed by Mytrex, a leader in the medical alert industry, which is based in South Jordan, Utah. The devices and accessories (such as a lockbox and a fall detection pendant) can be rented for a monthly fee.
The company manufactures its own products, according to the customer service rep we spoke to, and is focused on the devices working properly to fully protect customers. In fact, the Rescue Alert system performs monthly test calls to subscribers to ensure devices are functioning the way they should.
Though the Rescue Alert website does not provide a lot of details on its products, calls to the customer service line connected usto very knowledgeable, helpful representatives who gave us all the details we asked for.
How to Sign Up
You can sign up to rent or buy the Rescue Alert system online or over the phone, and the equipment will be shipped to you at no cost.
The Rescue Alert system products come with a step-by-step instruction sheet for setup. As soon as you connect the devices, a dispatcher at the Rescue Alert response center will do a test call with you to make sure the device is working properly.
Rescue Alert Options
Rescue Alert offers two base units—one that uses a telephone landline and another that works using cellular service. These units are sleek and white, about the size of a hardcover book, and are best placed in a central, highly trafficked location in the house, such as a kitchen counter.
Along with the home base units, you get a pendant with a call button to wear around your neck, or if you prefer, a wristband with a call button (people with smaller wrists do better with the Velcro version, according to the customer service rep).
If you need help within 600 feet of the base unit (if, for instance, you’re on a porch or at the mailbox), you press the button on the pendant or wristband and the powerful two-way microphone/speaker on the home base unit will activate. Within seconds, a dispatcher at the response center will come on to ask if you need help.
Note that you can provide the Rescue Alert system with a list of people you would like to be alerted in case of an emergency—a neighbor, family member or friend—in any order you wish.
A big plus: The Rescue Alert landline and cellular base units run their own diagnostics to make sure that the internal batteries are strong and the telephone line is functioning properly.
This sleek unit works by plugging a telephone landline into the back. An obvious bright blue button on the top surface is what you press in case of an emergency. Upon signing up for any base unit, you have the option to receive a wearable pendant or a wristband to connect with the base unit, should you need help.
A lot of people have done away with their landlines in recent years. That is why the Rescue Alert MXD 3G cellular base unit operates using cell service. This too is a white rectangular device that has a gray button to press in an emergency and comes with a wristband and pendant, either of which can be used to call for help as long as you are within 600 feet of the base unit.
The Rescue Alert wall button can be mounted to any wall in the house. If you fall or need help, you press the wall button to activate the home base unit which then allows you to communicate with a dispatcher. The wall button can be placed high or low, near the bed or next to the toilet and features a bright blue help button.
Falls can be dangerous for older people. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 3 million older adults are treated in the emergency room each year because of falls. To be able to get help after a fall can be life-saving.
The Rescue Alert fall detection pendant features a button with movement sensors that can detect a fall and will automatically signal the base unit to connect to a Rescue Alert dispatcher. These devices do not detect falls 100 percent of the time, so they also have a large button to press if you fall and need to reach a dispatcher.
It works within 600 feet of the home base unit. If you fall, the response center dispatcher can communicate with you through the speaker on the base unit to determine your situation. If you do not speak, the dispatcher will automatically contact your local emergency medical service or people you’ve designated on your responder list.
The Rescue Alert GPS device is the size of a flip phone that you can carry in your pocket, clip to your belt, or wear around your neck. If you need medical assistance when you’re away from your house, you press the button on it and the dispatcher who responds should be able to identify your location through GPS and send EMS to you.
However, two customer service reps I spoke to said that this device is not 100 percent reliable and can often show an incorrect location—which could waste critical time if an EMS team is trying to find you.
Other medical alert device systems, such as MobileHelp, Bay Medical and Medical Guardian, provide GPS buttons or watches that are ideal for active people who are away from home and may need emergency medical help.
When you order a home base unit, you may choose to receive a lockbox for free. This is a small box that holds your house keys so that if EMS personnel need to get into your house, they can use the key instead of forcing a door or breaking in.
Rescue Alert has two response centers, both located in Utah, with EMS-trained dispatchers who provide 24/7 monitoring. They have dispatchers who speak Spanish and have a 24-hour translating service.
Is Rescue Alert Easy to Use?
Yes. The home base units feature one big button on the surface making them very easy to use. There is no fussing with an on/off button or choices of which button to press.
The pendant and wristband devices are simply designed—there’s only one button to press for help and they are waterproof so you can wear them in the shower. Some people choose to wear the wristband to bed as well, according to a customer service rep.
Pros and Cons of Rescue Alert Devices
- The devices are simple to install and use.
- There are no activation fees and plans can be cancelled at any time without penalty.
- The home base units come with backup batteries so if you lose power they will still work for 60 to 80 hours.
- The website does not provide many details about its products—a call to customer service is necessary for more complete information about their products.
- The Rescue Alert GPS device is not 100 percent reliable.
Rescue Alert Plans
Rescue Alert does not charge activation or initial shipping fees (unless you return the equipment within 30 days) and you can cancel your plan at any time without penalty. Monthly rental fees are listed below but you can pay fees quarterly or annually if you prefer.
- The MXD Landline Base Unit can be purchased outright for $849; you will then pay a monthly monitoring fee of $32.95.
- The MXD 3G Cellular Base Unit has a $42.95 monthly rental fee.
- The Rescue Alert GPS device has a $44.95 monthly rental fee.
Add-ons and Accessories
- MyActive Alert Fall Detection: $10 monthly rental fee
- Wall Button: $5 monthly rental fee
- The lockbox purchased only: $39.99.
I called and emailed Rescue Alert customer service representatives and received prompt, helpful answers to all my questions. The website for this company is missing detailed product information, but the customer reps make up for it with their thorough and helpful answers.
Who Is the Rescue Alert System Right for?
The Rescue Alert medical alert system is best for older adults—individuals or couples—who want the ability to call for emergency medical help while they live independently in their homes.
What Customers Are Saying About Rescue Alert
Customer reviews of the Rescue Alert systems cannot be found on the Better Business Bureau or Consumer Affairs websites. If you decide to choose Rescue Alert, the 30-day trial ensures that you can return the equipment in this time with no penalty.
How We Reviewed Rescue Medical Alert
We reviewed Rescue Medical Alert based on the following criteria:
- Price of installation and monthly service
- Warranties, contracts, and (whether it has any) hidden fees
- Reliability of monitoring center
- Comfort and wearability of mobile devices
- In-home range of equipment
- Water resistance of wearable devices
- Battery life and recharging requirements
- Ease of installation and use
- Expert opinion
- Customer service accessibility and performance
- Customer satisfaction reviews
- Company reputation
- Special features such as automatic fall detection, smartphone apps for family members, and location tracking
Is Rescue Alert easy to use?
Yes. The single help button is clear and obvious on each device, with no confusing directions or other buttons to worry about.
Does Rescue Alert have a mobile on-the-go option?
Yes, but customer representatives were frank with us that the GPS device is not reliable.
Does Rescue Alert have automatic fall detection?
Yes. For an extra monthly fee, you can rent a fall detection device to wear on a pendant around your neck, which connects to the home base unit when its sensors detect that you’ve fallen down.
Does the at-home system require a landline?
No. Rescue Alert offers the MXD 3G home base unit which uses cellular service.
Does Rescue Alert include a free trial period?
Yes. Rescue Alert allows for a 30-day trial period. You can cancel your plan and return your device within this time period without being penalized.
Other Medical Alert Systems That We Have Reviewed
- Medical Guardian Review
- MobileHelp Review
- Bay Alarm Medical Review
- LifeFone Review
- Life Alert Review
- GreatCall Lively Mobile Review
- GreatCall Review
- Medical Alert Review
- GetSafe Review
- Philips Lifeline Review
- Rescue Alert Review
- ADT Medical Alert Review
- Alert1 Review
- MobileHelp Smart Watch Review
- Apple Watch Medical Alert Review
Author: Nicole Gregory
Utility of a Medical Alert Protection System compared to telephone follow-up only for home-alone elderly presenting to the ED — A randomized controlled trial. The American Journal of Emergency Medicine. (2018). Volume 36, Issue 4, pages 594-601. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0735675717307520?via%3Dihub
Important Facts About Falls. (2017). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html