SafeLink and GSM Module deliver a secondary mobile connection to link the monitoring centre with telecare services in the event of telephone line outages.

Dartford-based housing association Moat is using a secure communication system from Tunstall Healthcare to deliver a failsafe secondary mobile network to four of its sheltered housing schemes, ensuring greater protection for its customers.

Every day, hundreds of phone lines around the UK are out of service due to technical faults, network maintenance, cable theft, slamming, upgrades and storm damage. With most sheltered housing developments relying on a single telephone line for all communications, there is a chance that if the phone line fails or is already in use when an emergency occurs, there could be a significant delay in the alarm being raised and assistance being provided.

To reduce the risks associated with network outages, Tunstall installed a SafeLink device and GSM module at four of Moat’s schemes to raise an alert at the monitoring centre if the phone line fails, and provide a secondary means of communication until the line is restored.

SafeLink is a small device that is fitted close to the scheme alarm panel that continually checks the telephone line for voltage and dial tone, notifying the monitoring centre if the line goes down. It also places regular testing calls using a free phone number to ensure end-to-end calls can be made and received. In addition the GSM module will automatically divert the line over the mobile network ensuring that alarm calls can still be received by the Centra monitoring centre until the landline is restored. Up to 12 separate inputs or applications can be monitored by SafeLink and the GSM module including fire alarms, lift alarms and fall sensors.

Deborah Gregory, Project Officer at Moat said: “The safety of our customers is our priority and this solution gives us the reassurance that not only will we be alerted to any line failures but we’ll also have another means of communication in place automatically whilst the line is being fixed. As part of our approach we constantly review the ways in which we can support the independence of our customers. We’re the first housing association in the UK to combine these technologies and guarantee that we are providing the best possible service in what can be critical situations.”

Moat has been delivering high quality and affordable rented, supported and retirement homes for over fifty years. In 2016, as part of the association’s ongoing programme of renewals and upgrades to its housing stock, all warden call systems at four schemes were replaced with Communicall Vi. Each flat was equipped with a MyAmie pendant to enable customers to ask for assistance should they need it, 24 hours a day. If a customer presses their pendant or the button on the speech module, or in the event the smoke alarm is triggered, a call will be raised at the Centra monitoring centre, where appropriate response can be arranged.

Ian Price, Commercial Director of Tunstall Healthcare said: “Safety in the event if a network outage is paramount; there could be consequences without appropriate measures in place. Moat has taken a proactive approach to ensure residents have continuity of care and enhanced protection, regardless of connection.”

Moat will be upgrading their remaining sheltered and retirement living properties with the same equipment in 2017/18. Read the full case study.