I have two little girls. One who likes to stay close, and one who likes to boldly run headlong in whatever direction we might be heading in. While I love her enthusiasm and zest for life, as a parent, it also makes me a little nervous.
Putting on our courses, I have always collected ICE1 contact details for participants. Should something go really wrong, you need to be able to contact someone in relation to the event to notify and get things sorted. As a result, you become aware of the need to have it yourself, and, in the case of kids and family, you start to want to extend that preparation to them. While, as a kid myself, I actually had a set of dog tags made up for me, I wanted something a little more modern for my little ones. Enter, ROAD iD.
ROAD iD is a company based state-side, that seems to have formed as a way for endurance and adventure athletes to carry ICE information on them. However, they have a wide variety of tags and formats available, from kids through to pets.
I was keen to keep it (relatively simple) and after a couple of tags on bracelets for the kids.
There are a few companies out there offering a similar product these days – tags on bracelets, tags that go on watch staps, a variety of straps and so on, however, ROAD iD offered something a bit extra that caught my eye.
I am well aware of the Medic Alert style bracelets around – bracelets that carry a bit of extra additional information for first response units – blood type, diabetes, other medical conditions. ROAD iD combines ICE information with an online portal that can provide the First Responder with any and all additional information you care to provide them.
On the back of the tag is a code and pin, that, when entered into the clearly identified site on the front of the bracelet (they can also call and talk to someone, with an NZ phone number) provides a massive range of contact and medical information. On the front, has the basic contact information (i.e. me), D.O.B and full name. The kid runs away? Look at her wrist and you can call me. If I don’t answer, the tag also can get you in touch with their mum, their grandmother and so on.
In addition, you can include a full medical history, allergies, previous issues and so on. Instructions to first responders, worst of worst, organ donor preferences and the like. Basically, there is a full online profile that is kept private, unless someone flips over your band and gets the details. If someone calls or checks the website, there are also full instructions as to how to access that information. It’s designed and made for the responders to be able to get additional information quickly and efficiently. Simple as a lost and distressed kid? My mobile number is front and centre!
Probably the toughest decision I had to make was the band colour choice!
There is a wide range of types of bands – from the simple silicone stretchy band (still in a large choice of colours though), nylon bands with simple velcro closure, heavier bands with clasps, leather bands, and of course, seasonal limited-edition options!
I choose myself a simple grey, velcro loop over, and got silicone stretches for the kids. I figure the missus can choose her own, should she decide to get one, and because the id tabs themselves are switchable/removable – you could end up with a band to match every outfit, should you choose.
Ordering was easy, with an online form to add in the front face information you desire.
When they turned up, I was surprised to find (which in hindsight, makes perfect sense and was probably mentioned on the site) a variety of sizes of the silicone bands for the kids. Both (3.5 and 5) fit the middle band, so they have growing space available.
The packaging itself was fun, clearly displaying a sense of humour and enthusiasm for getting out and exploring the world, and, as an aside, the referral ‘hat’ has to be one of the best bits of marketing/fun I have seen for a while!2
Wearing and Responsibility
Part of getting these bands was also the explanation to the kids of what they are, and what they are for – explaining why dad would like them to both wear them while they are out, what to do if they get lost, in trouble, and when they take them off (though they can be worn nearly permanently, really) how to put them somewhere safe that they remember so they can put them back on later! It’s this last bit that is proving to actually be the important bit – as they are currently quite used to taking things off and putting them down wherever – so ‘where is the band’ has become quite an interesting question for them to hold in their heads.
I know, I know, it’s just something in my head – but I do feel a little safer with the little ones having these on. Just to know, that while they are just at that age where they don’t have all this information remembered in their heads, and, are also unlikely to be able to relay it while worried they might be lost, they have basic contact information handy.
For me personally, I am comforted, that, should I be unconscious (or worse), I still have the same on mine.
Back Country Hunters
Apparently, talking to a few guys I know in the LandSAR and Policing fields, it is not that uncommon to come across a hunter, bush basher or person who is unconscious and actually has no ID or ICE details on them at the time. While I would tend to carry my wallet on me, even in the bush, I guess I could see some being left in the glove compartment, or, packed right down the bottom of the pack where most people aren’t going to find them anyhow.
For emergencies, or, let’s face it, recovery – to me it’s nice to know the next of kin can be notified quickly and efficiently – rather than left waiting and wondering. Hopefully, it never gets to that, but still nice to have covered off.
Yes, I am sure there are a few of you out there still wearing dog tags, this is just the modern version. Get a ‘pet’ tag and lace it into your boots as well, if you want. 😉
One surprise, which was an unexpected bonus (and free for you to grab as well) is the app.
Kinda a companion, but still very valuable in its own right, the app does a couple of things.
Firstly, it works as a GPS breadcrumb tracker, with notifications you can set up. If you then stop for a prolonged period of time – it will send out an alert to people you have chosen to notify. Now, for me, not so much in my usage case – but trail runners, bikers, and anyone primarily on long trecks by themselves, where stopping for a long period of time is a signal of an issue – very cool. Yes. You need phone coverage for it to work.
Or more interest to me though was a nifty little feature that creates an ICE contact form for the lock screen of your phone. Easy to set up, and now – if you pick up my phone and try to turn it on – it looks like this –
Yes, you could do this yourself – but this was so easy that I have actually done it now. I have photoshop and the like – knew it was a good idea but hadn’t got around to doing it. This app got it done for me in a couple of minutes. Even if you don’t get a band – this is a really cool idea.
So… now what?
Not much. Wear them, hopefully never need to use them.
I will likely get myself another basic silicone band, as, having looked at my velcro options, and any of the buckle options, I have concluded that, form my use, the simplest, unlikely to accidentally open up if caught on something option is the best option. Thinking a red silicone band.
We will sort something for the partner – but she can choose her own colour and look.
But ultimately, to me – this has been an easy project in increasing piece of mind. Well worth it!