SOUTH PORTLAND —  Police, domestic-violence advocates and a security company announced this morning that the city will be using a new tool to provide security to domestic-violence victims.

Protection 1 has greed to install temporary panic alarms in the homes of victims of domestic abuse that will allow the victims to summon police quickly in an emergency.

The alarms consist of a medallion that can be worn around the neck. When the wearer presses buttons on either side of the medallion, it acts like a burglar alarm has just gone off, alerting Protection 1 which dispatches police to the location.

“A day doesn’t go by that we don’t have a domestic-violence call,” said South Portland Police Chief Ed Googins, noting that officers responded to 409 such calls last year. “We like to do whatever possible to keep victims safe.”

The department has used a separate type of alarm system for years but that system is no longer compatible with its current digital radio system. The city has had to keep its older system running so the alarms can work, he said.

South Portland is the second city in the state to benefit form the alarms, Westbrook has had them in place since the spring. Jen LaChance Sibley, outreach service director at the domestic-abuse support organization Family Crisis Services, said the alarms were well-received in Westbrook with victims calling to sign up for the program.

Timothy Parent, of Protection 1, said the SAVE program – Security Against Violence Effort – can give victims of domestic violence peace of mind. Although police prefer a telephone call so they can gather additional information, the alarms are an emergency backup for when someone doesn’t have quick access to a telephone or is prevented from using one.

For more information, contact the South Portland POlice Department at 799-5511 or Family Crisis Services at 874-8512.