TeleAlarm acquires SafetyCare

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Friday, June 1, 2007

READING, Pa.--TeleAlarm, a provider of emergency response systems, has acquired Hackensack, N.J.-based SafetyCare, a provider of life-safety monitoring. In the lead up to the deal's April 17 close, TeleAlarm undertook a $2 million renovation of its 8,000-square-foot headquarters in the former Bachman's Pretzel factory here to accommodate the addition of SafetyCare's staff and technology (see accompanying story on page 32.) The combined company will be known as SafetyCare Technologies. "We are pleased to be acquiring the assets of SafetyCare, one of a few companies that incorporates life-safety monitoring with other health and wellness services," said Mike Bodnar, general manager of new SafetyCare Technologies. "Our central station is staffed with EMT-certified first responders, who know how to respond to a myriad of emotions, from panic to depression, customers can take advantage of our wellness staffing, a value-added service." Bodnar declined to disclose the specific terms of the agreement.
TeleAlarm is a provider of an emergency call system service, which is linked wirelessly to a main station. The wireless device, in the form of a bracelet or pendant, also tracks customers in case of emergency. Now, with the SafetyCare buy and new central station, TeleAlarm is able to offer an integrated emergency call system for senior care facilities and homebound customers.
Peter Giacalone is a consultant to the new TeleAlarm/Safetycare entity, and the former executive vice president of the original SafetyCare. He now runs his own consulting business in Hackettstown, N.J. "Safetycare was started as a boutique monitoring company," said Giacalone. "We didn't really develop the traction we expected, that was part of the reason that Glenn (Fischer, former owner of SafetyCare) wanted to sell it off. [TeleAlarm] really has the knowledge of remote patient monitoring. They're going to basically create a monitoring service that is applicable to anyone at home."
"The original thrust of Safetycare was to be an all inclusive provider dealing with the end user directly, going directly after the consumer market. A lot of money was spent in trying to build the brand. Right out of the shoot from day one, this is a true dealer program--a big difference. Your model is different. SafetyCare spent a million trying to originate business with consumers. This group is going in a very traditional way to work with them hand in hand. They've been around a long time, they understand the business, and they understand non-traditional business channels. Some of those relationships will also be leveraged to help traditional dealers."
With the addition of SafetyCare personnel, TeleAlarm acquired a staff of dedicated first responders who provide monitoring service and care to seniors and individuals with special needs. SafetyCare Technologies customers will now be able to access the 24-hour-a-day system by pressing a button and immediately gain voice contact with an experienced first responder at the company headquarters. The operators include emergency medical technicians, counselors, police, fire and emergency dispatchers, all of whom have years of experience working with people in a crisis situation. Customers will be able to press a button and get immediate help, and be directed toward someone who is a qualified counselor. That's just one of the examples of the out-of-the box services that are included," said Darcie Borden,of Jaffe Communications, the PR firm that handles SafetyCare Technologies.
Said Bodnar, "We can take the burden of deciding what to do away from caregivers, because our EMTs are trained to take care of people in those situations...I'm very proud of what we're putting together here--it's something special."