Trib Tested: First Alert POD (Protection On Demand)
The claim: First Alert has designed a new alarm that is ready to go wherever, whenever, you go. Designed to increase personal security and guard against loss and personal injury, the POD (Protection On Demand) is small enough to fit in a pocket, purse or palm of the hand. The device features two motion sensors that help to protect personal belongings at home and on the go. If it is moved or detects vibration, a piercing 100-decibel alarm is activated. Features include an easy-to-find panic alarm button, a built-in LED light and a compact design.
Where: Mass merchant and electronic stores or www.firstalert.com
This is a product that's pretty loud. And that's a good thing.
The First Alert Protection on Demand bills itself as a portable security system, and it does live up to that description. The alarm on the handheld device is decently loud, which would attract attention, if needed.
You can set it off manually, or you can attach it to baggage, a door handle, whatever you're protecting, and when the device is moved, the alarm sounds. You have the ability to set it on a delay, so if you don't have a security system at home, this would do in a pinch.
The flashlight on the device is decently bright for the small size of the device, so it works well in the dark.
An online check shows this retails for about $30. It's not a bad price for some peace of mind.
I've owned several “screamers” over the years. One was a flashlight with a panic button that burned through batteries like tissue paper. Another was set off by, basically, pulling a string, and if you accidentally set it off, you had to struggle to re-thread the pin on the end of the string to shut it off. So, I was interested in seeing what First Alert, the company well known for smoke and carbon-dioxide detectors, could do.
The POD is sort of teardrop shaped, which means it fits well in your hand for using the flashlight when walking at night. The alarm button sounds within seconds of hitting it, but you do have to hit it fairly squarely. And the alarm, while certainly something you won't miss hearing, didn't seem as ear-piercing as the smoke detector when I get the toast a bit dark.
Now, onto the motion sensor. There are two sections in the instructions, which implies one way of setting it has a delay, the other doesn't. I couldn't get it to not have the delay when I set it, but that's probably just as well.
I hooked it over a doorknob, and, while it didn't go off when I just jiggled the handle, it did go off if the door was moved 6 inches. It also went off when I inadvertently banged into the door. And it's relative sensitivity to vibration is the same. Jiggle the handle of the door, or carefully open a zipper on a bag, and it doesn't go off. An easy workaround for the bag, though, was attaching the POD to the zipper. Voila! Move it and the unit screams. All in all, not a bad gadget.