The Panic Button

I’ve been working on a bunch of device types and smart apps to enable “panic button” functionality into our home - for use whenever anyone feels the need to make noise or get help.

Some of the basic components are a number of the minimotes where a button is dedicated to setting a hello home action (panic on press, alert when held)

panic mode turns on lights & alarms, and sends notifications. Alert just sets off an alert sound in another room (using Kobi running on a pc as the “speaker”)

Anywhoo. All working good, except for the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” case - which is where the Echo comes in.

I made a virtual switch which doesn’t do anything except toggle when you turn it off or on. That means you can always “turn it on” - since it will always do something in any case - turn it on 100 times and it will generate On/Off/On/Off events. Cool.

Next, I modified @tslagle13’s phrase switch thing (because it was a fine starting point) Can someone modify the big switch app to call Hello Home Phrases? to optionally run phrases, and allow for notification and SMS on both on or off events for a switch. As a guard it only sends messages at most once a minute (because, in testing, I somehow got it to fire off 100 or so - THAT was fun)

I installed a device with that custom type for the virtual panic mode switch. I use the switch to play the “Alarm” sound using the Sonos Smart App, and for voice control I use the Echo Hue emulator to trick the Echo into finding the switch. Finally gave the virtual switch a couple aliases in the Echo app (call john, trouble, emergency) and now…

When in trouble, shout out… ALEXA TURN EMERGENCY ON …
Alexa spins for a moment and says Ok…

Alarm goes off downstairs, and I get an app notification and an SMS.



This is awesome!! I love the integration of it all.

There was a medical emergency recently in my house and I would like to be able to use your setup but I need some details. This post was almost 2 years ago but hoping I can get some info to set this up. I have tried setting up virtual momentary switches to work with various buttons I have setup around the house but I can only get them to turn on lights or trigger routines so I am missing a middle step. Ideally, I would like to use Stringify or IFTTT to call a phone number for a nearby friend to play a help message as well as send text and push notifications, open the garage door and link with alexa to enable the virtual button. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

If you’re using Alexa, there are already several panic button skills available that you can look at that will probably be more reliable than hooking it through SmartThings.

If you happen to have cell service with AT&T, they have their own skill which lets you send a text through Alexa.

The my buddy skill doesn’t require a mobile account, but it will only send preformatted messages. Definitely worth looking at, though.

Both of these, like all Alexa skills, will only work when your Internet is working, though.

So if you have a true medical need for a panic button, I would look at one of the independent services, like great call, which have a cellular panic button rather than relying on echo. Many of these also have GPS location so you can use them outside the home and quite a few have fall detection so that they will automatically call the monitoring center if a fall is detected. Typical cost is around $20 a month, but I consider that well worth it if you have a real need for this kind of service.

Another option is a smart watch which can make voice text or phone calls. If you’re already interested in the smart watch then there’s no additional cost for Using this, but it doesn’t have the same monitoring center features as the purpose built panic buttons.

So there are a number of good options, just depending on your exact needs.

thanks. no ATT and my buddy is very limited. The apple smart watch only works if the phone is nearby and even then, its difficult to text or make phone calls from the watch.

I was hoping to configure with a button push and alexa. Unfortunately. there are no ways to configure a phone call to either 911 or a friend with an automated message. We only have cell phones, and 911 operators need physical addresses. I have the button set up as a virtual switch. I was hoping to be able to also use IFTTT to send a pre-recorded message however it will only send to the # on the account. The problems are, if the friend does’t check text messages in the middle of the night, a phone call would wake them up. but if they have their phone silenced, at least 911 would be triggered. I think the best I can hope for is send a text to a friend and hope they get it and call 911.

I use the Apple Watch for voice text every day. (I’m quadriparetic, And have limited use of my hands.) It’s really as simple as tilt your wrist, say “Hey, Siri, tell Michael help.” Or whatever you want to say. As long as you’ve added the person to your contact list in advance you can just use their name. The watch and the phone have to be within range of each other, but they can be several rooms apart.

As far as using IFTTT, unfortunately IFTTT has changed their phone and text services from what they used to be and now you can only call a single phone number associated with your IFTTT account. So it’s much less useful in that regard than it used to be. That’s probably why you ran into problems with it.

Wow, yes this was a while ago!

The integrations I did back then are still working, but I’d not depend on any of them for anything more than as one of many available methods to call for help - too many things can go wrong (internet, SmartThings, Amazon Echo all potential failure points.)

I can try to document things a bit better than I did before if you’re interested.

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If I can take this a step futher…
I have two elder adults in the same house (different rooms)
I would like to have the Alexa (or ‘other’) device activate a loud alert (siren?) when an Emergency Phrase is used/called-out (loud because of one of them has a CPAP and is a deep sleeper)
We do not need a text message (family is too far away), or a phone call (both turn off their cellphones and neither would awake to a phone call, anyway)…we need a loud alert.

Adult 1 is having an emergency event
Adult 1 calls-out “Alexa, Emergency!” (or whatever phrase)
Alexa networks with an Alexa in the other room to set-off siren (or whatever)

Does anybody have something like this implemented???

does anyone know how to trigger an alarm from a button on the phone and not actually make noise through another device?

You have options with the built in routine editor such as when this happens do this or that. We call it if this than that…

You also have SmartLighting which is cool but limited.

If you want to jump right in the deep end them take some time and read up on one of the best, if not the best, rule engine for SmartThings. It’s called webCoRE.

After installed and you grasp the basic concept then the sky is the limit.

Do You mean a Widget that you could have as its own icon on your phone?

There are four or five different ways to do this with SmartThings, depending on the type of phone you have and whether you are willing to pay a third-party license fee.

These are detailed in the widgets article in the community – created wiki. :sunglasses:

Android example


IOS example

Official feature for Classic app ( Limited to routines)