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Hong Kong-designed home emergency link notches up 70,000 users

Ross Milburn | Oct. 28, 2010
Presented at the Hong Kong International Computer Conference

HONG KONG, 28 OCTOBER 2010 - One of the home-grown technologies presented at the Hong Kong International Computer Conference in September was the Emergency Link Service, a brainchild of Albert Cheng Jing-han, chairman of the Senior Citizen Home Safety Association (SCHSA). The SCHSA started the Personal Emergency Link service in 1996 to assist anyone during a medical or other kind of emergency in the home, although aged and handicapped people may benefit most.

The main equipment is a two-way hands-free communication console connected to a telephone line and a power source. In the event of power failure, battery power maintains the service for up to two days.

In an emergency, the user presses a button to contact an Operations Centre, where operatives speaking Mandarin, Cantonese, Hakka or English will contact the user by phone to ascertain the nature of the emergency. The operatives can then call the police or ambulance service, phone a nominated contact person to arrange hospitalisation, or FAX the user's medical history to the A&E department to facilitate rescue or medical care. If the operator cannot speak to the user during the two minutes after the button is pressed, the fire service is contacted to undertake a rescue.

When users are away from the console, but within the 1,000 sq ft area around it, they can summon help by pressing a button on a remote trigger, which is a small device worn around the neck or wrist. The device is waterproof and can be worn in the shower or bath. Up to four users with remote triggers may be supported by a single console.

The cost of the system may be covered by a grant from the Social Welfare Department, and those not eligible may be assisted by the SCHSA. So far, the system has 70,000 users. According to the inventor, the system can be made available to export markets if required.


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