One of the easiest ways to improve your personal safety is by carrying a personal alarm. Contrary to what you might think, these devices are not designed to attract attention from other members of the public (although police will investigate if they hear an alarm). The main purpose of these alarms is to disorientate the attacker to give you vital seconds to get away.

Personal alarms disorientate attackers by emitting an extremely loud and high-pitched noise. A good personal alarm should be about 120dB, which is about the same noise level as being at the front row of a rock concert.

The main key to understanding decibel levels is to know that the increase in levels is exponential, so a sound that is ten times more powerful than absolute silence is 10dB but a sound that is 100 times more powerful than absolute silence is 20dB and a sound 1,000 times more powerful than absolute silence is 30dB. You can see real world examples of decibel levels below, as well as some information on how the increasing noise will affect the human body.

Decibel Comparison
10dB Absolute silence
13dB Incandescent light bulb hum
15dB Pin drop from a height of 1 centimetre heard at a distance of 1 meter
30dB Totally quiet night time in desert
40dB Whispering
60dB Normal conversation
85dB Beginning of hearing damage range, earplugs should be worn
100dB Normal average car or house stereo at maximum volume
110dB Car stereo with two 6 x 9” speakers and 100 watts
116dB Human body begins to perceive vibration from low frequencies
120dB Front row at a rock concert
125dB Drums, at the moment of striking
130dB Typical professional DJ system
127dB Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) begins. Permanent hearing loss
128dB Loudest human scream
130dB Marching band of 200 members
132dB Eardrum vibration noticeable
133dB Gunshot
135dB “Very loud” street car stereo. Bass only
140dB Threshold of pain, all frequencies
140dB Hearing protection required (definite long term damage)
140dB Human throat and vocal cord resonance occurs
141dB Nausea felt after a few minutes
144dB Nose itches due to hair vibrations
145dB Vision blurs due to eyeball vibration
147dB Formula 1 race car full throttle drive bye
149dB Human lungs and breathing begins vibrating to the sound
150dB Loud rock concert, at speakers
150dB Sensation of being compressed as if underwater
152dB Vibration is painful and felt in joints
153dB Throat vibrating so hard it is impossible to swallow
154dB Compression will burst child’s balloon
158dB Inside of a rock concert speaker bin with 5000 watts power
160dB Flashlight exhibits electromagnetic pulsing (dimming during tone)
163dB NHRA Top Fuel Dragsters- 5000 to 7000 horsepower
163dB Possible glass breaking level
164dB Internal sound pressure of a large jet turbine
165dB Jet airplane, Example: Boeing 727, at take off

Personal alarms are also usually high pitched, which are the most damaging sounds. Higher frequency tones will add to the disorientation of an attacker.

Another advantage to personal alarms is that they increase your confidence. Attackers tend to target those who look vulnerable, so increasing your confidence will affect the way potential attackers see you. Try and walk with confidence whenever you are alone.

As well as making sure you have an alarm that is loud enough to shock and disorientate your attacker, another thing to consider when buying a personal alarm is where you will keep it. This will change how you access the alarm when you need it. Will it be attached to your bag, or will you keep in a pocket or inside a bag? Some alarms are operated one handed and may be easier to activate in an emergency. Some can be activated by pulling a pin and will be more suited to being attached to a bag or purse.

Do you have any experience with personal alarm success stories, or any further questions? Please use the comment section below.

SURE24 were one of the first personal alarm manufactures, and still produce high quality alarms here in the UK. The bestselling Elite Alarm is recommended by several organisations who promote personal safety. SURE also stock a range of charm alarms, gas alarms and other types of personal alarm to fit all situations.

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Posted in News By

Joe Marshall