The Best Personal Safety Alarms for Travel Emergencies
Personal safety alarms are small, portable devices that emit an earsplitting sound when triggered, usually by the push of a button or removal of a pin.
Most buyers are attracted to the idea that the noise will likely scare off, or at least startle, any attackers, giving you time to escape or making them flee to avoid attention. Most alarms emit around 130 decibels, which is about as loud as a military jet with an afterburner taking off from an aircraft carrier, so they’re certainly attention-getting — and well within the range where hearing damage can occur. If you’re activating one, try to hold it as far away from your own ears as possible and cover your ears if you can.
Security expert Brianna Jensen of ASecureLife.com recommends considering three main factors when choosing a personal safety alarm: size, alarm time, and bonus features. You want something small enough that you’ll actually carry it and long-lasting enough to make sure people notice. And maybe a flashlight or whistle, just in case. “Personal alarms are legal and can't be turned against you (unlike pepper spray, tasers, or other weapons), which makes them a discreet, lower-risk alternative to these other safety measures,” said Jensen.
Whether they’ll achieve your desired result, well, that depends on what that result is and the situation you’re in. “If you're in a remote area with no one else around, an alarm may not reach the ears of someone who can help. And if you're abroad, the sound may not have the same meaning or raise the same concern as it would at home,” said Jensen. Make sure you know enough about your destination that you can ask for help and know if you should contact emergency services.
There’s no substitute for good situational awareness — especially when you're traveling solo. But if a small alarm makes you feel a little more comfortable on your journey, then pick the one you think you’re most likely to carry and get out there.
Vigilant PPS23 Personal Keychain Alarm
The sleek Basu eAlarm+ has loops on either end and comes with a carabiner for easy attachment to your keys or zipper. Just attach the pull-out end to your keychain and yank the rest of it off to trigger the alarm. It's water-resistant and the small, matte design also makes it stealthier on your keychain — it looks a bit like a flash drive. Trigger models have the benefit that they won’t accidentally go off with too much pressure on your bag, but they may also be harder to set off in the moment.
To buy: amazon.com, $16
Vigilant PPS30 Wrist Alarm
Vigilant PPS8 and Flashlight
Another Vigilant model, but this time with the added bonus that it runs on AAA batteries, making this the easiest battery replacement option. The larger batteries also mean the flashlight will be more useful than a tiny LED dot. You can activate it either by pulling the cord (particularly useful if you’re wearing the longer lanyard around your neck) or with a button.
To buy: amazon.com, $16
Jimite Personal Keychain Alarm
The Jimite personal alarm is just one example of a fairly common build type. It uses a pin removal system to trigger the 140 dB alarm and also has a small LED light on the end. If this style isn't to your liking, there are many, many similar alarms in different forms and colors on Amazon.
To buy: amazon.com, $10