Frequently Asked Questions
- Is FirstCall available everywhere?
Yes, FirstCall will work anywhere there is a standard phone line or a compatible NBN service. We can even supply FirstCall equipment to work with solar panels in remote areas!
- Does FirstCall replace my existing telephone?
No, you can keep your existing telephone.
- Will FirstCall work with the National Broadband Network (the NBN)?
The National Broadband Network (the NBN) is rolling out through Australia, and will eventually replace the copper telephone network.
From the time the NBN is rolled out in your area you have approximately 18 months to connect to the NBN service before your copper telephone service will be discontinued
It is important that you tell everyone who contacts you about the NBN that you have a FirstCall Medical Alarm. We recommend Telstra.
Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH): Medical alarms supplied by FirstCall have been tested and work correctly on the NBN FttH system when connected to the UNI-V socket on the NBN modem (Voice connection). Tell everyone who contacts you about the NBN that you need to keep your existing telephones and that you need a battery back-up power supply
Fibre-to-the-Node (FttN): Medical alarms supplied by FirstCall which call family and friends work correctly when connected to the analogue service on the NBN FttN modem. Tell everyone who contacts you about the NBN that you need to keep your existing telephones. NBN Co. advise that the FttN system will not work during a power failure.
A telephone service or a medical alarm connected to the NBN FttN system will not work during a mains power failure.
For more information please refer to our NBN information page
- What distance will the pendant or watch operate over?
In most situations, anywhere around the home or garden. Because the pendant uses radio waves to connect to the alarm unit, the range can vary widely depending on the type of construction of the home and other environmental factors. The pendant range is determined during installation and should be noted somewhere so you and your family and friends are aware of the boundaries and areas where you may be out of range.
- Should I choose a pendant or a watch?
Generally a pendant is a safer option. If you prefer a watch trigger you need to be aware that a watch can only be pressed by your other hand, (try and press your watch with the fingers on the same hand you cant!). That means that if you have a fall and break your other arm, or have a stroke affecting that side of your body, you will not be able to push the watch.
- How many family members and friends (responders) do I need to take my calls?
We recommend you should have at least 3 responders. It is really up to you and in certain circumstances you could have two, or even only one, especially when they are always contactable and have several phone numbers to use.
- How many calls for help will FirstCall make?
FirstCall is usually programmed to require one call for help to be answered and correctly acknowledged. The person receiving the call acknowledges they can help by pressing the # key on their phone, twice. FirstCall can also be set-up to require two call answers, so either two people will receive the call for help or, depending on how many people are available at the time, the same person may receive two calls. If you require two calls to be answered and acknowledges, please advise FirstCall.
If unanswered, FirstCall will make up to 15 calls for help to each programmed phone number, the maximum allowed by government regulation. If any number called has an answering machine or a voice mailbox, FirstCall will leave the voice message on the recording but that call will not be counted, (because a # key has not been pressed). FirstCall will continue to call other numbers until a person answers the call.
- Can you program FirstCall to call the 000 emergency services?
FirstCall can call the 000 service as a back-up, but not as the first contact number.
If you don’t have available responders, or if your medical condition suggests that an emergency service should be the first point of contact, then you really should consider a 24-hour monitored service.
- Will FirstCall work in a blackout?
FirstCall can only work if it has a working telephone service.
If you have a telephone exchange line (PSTN) the FirstCall alarm will work for up to 70 hours on its internal battery during a mains power failure or a blackout. FirstCall will also make automatic calls to your family and friends alerting them to the power problem.
If you have the NBN Fibre-to-the-Home service you can have a battery back-up unit installed to power the NBN equipment for about 8-12 hours during a power failure. Please call your NBN service provider to arrange a battery backup power supply.
If you have the NBN Fibre-to-the-Node system, the NBN cannot be battery backed-up and the FirstCall alarm will not work in a power failure. Power fail messages will not be sent to your responders.
A power disconnect message will be heard from the loudspeaker in the base unit if the power or the telephone line is disconnected, but only during daylight and evening hours. The disconnect message is repeated every 30 minutes but it will stop repeating if the OK button is pressed.
- Will FirstCall work if my phone is left off the hook?
Yes, FirstCall will make calls even if the telephone which is connected through the FirstCall alarm unit is off-the-hook. However, if you have any extension phones off-the-hook your phone line will be engaged and FirstCall will not be able to make any calls. If you do have extension phones, and this possibility is a concern to you, you can have your phone line rewired so FirstCall will take priority over all phones. (Tell the person changing the phone line that the correct wiring configuration is called Mode-3).
A good option is to remove all your extension phones and replace them with portable cordless phones. The base-unit (or master-phone) must be connected to the FirstCall alarm unit. We can provide cordless portable phones for this purpose and their connection is explained in detail in our Installation and Operation manual.
To prevent interference to the range of the pendant, locate the cordless phone base station at least half a metre away from the FirstCall alarm unit.
- Will FirstCall work if I have the internet connected?
Yes, but if you have an ADSL service you will need to fit an ADSL filter into the telephone phone lead of the communicator. We can provide an in-line ADSL filter and we explain how to connect it in our Installation and Operation manual. Its very simple.
If you have the NBN, please see our NBN page for more information
- Will FirstCall work with an internet phone service (like Skype or Naked-DSL), or over a PABX?
FirstCall needs an analogue telephone connection. It will also work with the Optus cable system, (check with Optus that your service is compatible with medical alarms), and with the NBN. Please see the NBN information page. FirstCall can be connected to a PABX which uses a 0 or 9 for outside line access, as long as its not a digital PABX system.
FirstCall will not work over internet phone services like Skype or Naked-DSL or NBN services that do not use a standard telephone.
- Are there any batteries to change?
The alarm unit uses a high-quality battery which is automatically recharged when the power is restored. The pendant contains a long-life lithium battery. The batteries should give many years service without replacement.
- What if I press my pendant by mistake?
Don’t worry. The alarm will sound an alarm for about 10 seconds and you can press the cancel button at any time. If your call does go through just tell your family member or friend that you are OK when they try to speak to you overt the loudspeaker in the alarm unit.
- Does FirstCall come with a warranty?
Yes, FirstCall is covered by a full 12 months parts and labour warranty. You can view warranty info in our Downloads section.
- Can I return my FirstCall?
Absolutely, if for some reason you find that FirstCall is not for you simply return it in good condition within 30 days of purchase and we will happily refund your full purchase price less the delivery charge. Please see our money-back Guarantee for details. If your question wasn't answered or you have any other questions please call us on 1300 40 80 80.
- Can my responders phone numbers be changed?
To make it simple for you FirstCall remotely changes your responders phone numbers. Simply select "Phone Number Changes" on the website products page. There is a charge for this service.