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Saturday, May 17, 2014

How to Stay Safe When Running Alone - V.ALRT

safety tips for runners cyclists hikers
How to stay safe when running alone.  I know as a female this is something I think about a lot.  Gone are the days where I felt safe running by myself.  Even in the best neighborhoods, you just never know.  I actually had stopped running for a while for this very reason.  I used to run everyday but now I only feel safe when running in groups.

Fast forward to last week, when I was given a sneak preview of V.ALRT, a personal emergency alert device.  Coming out next month on Amazon, this sleek device works with your smartphone to automatically send a text message and your GPS location to 3 people of your choice when you are in trouble.

I was given one to test out and was surprised how lightweight and durable it was, and though it should not be at the top of my list for reasons to use this, I found it to be quite fashionable and stylish as well which was a plus.  Here's my quick summary of its benefits as well as some future opportunities for improvement:

BENEFITS

  • Easy to Use - Just by holding down the button, it will send a predetermined text message out to your emergency contacts, including your GPS location at time of transmission.
  • Stealth - I usually carry my phone with me, but if I was attacked, it is unlikely I would have time to dial 911 or text my friends my location.  An attacker is going to be very aware of your smartphone's capabilities and its likely threat to them.  While they might immediately take away my phone, the V.ALRT, being less known, would be under their radar and could still be used to call for help.
  • Various Applications
    • Cyclists - it has an automatic fall detection, so if you were a cyclist and had a serious crash, perhaps knocking you unconscious, this device could call for help if you were immobile.
    • Elder Care - If you have elderly family members who live alone, this could come in handy if they fell and were not able to get up.
    • Children - If your child was wearing this at a theme park, on the playground, or at school and an emergency situation came up, this device could be invaluable.
    • Students - I know when I was walking to my car at night after class in college, this device would have been nice for some added security in those isolated parking garages.
  • No Monthly Fees - It is nice that there are no subscription fees or services to pay for.  Just the one time purchase and you are good to go.
  • Waterproof - Kind of self-explanatory.  Also dust and dirt proof, so great for the active lifestyle.
  • Replaceable Battery - Using basically a watch battery, it is easily replaceable for just a couple dollars.
OPPORTUNITIES
  • Smartphone Dependency - Right now, this device must be within 75' indoors or 300' outdoors of a smartphone with bluetooth capability.  This is probably the major drawback, although easily overcome since most of us carry our phones with us everywhere.  This has a related downside if you are in an area that does not get any service.
  • Multiple V.ALRTs - Since it is so new, the application can only manage one V.ALRT but in the future, it would be nice to see it able to manage multiple ones so you could have one assigned to each family member.  
Overall, I think the V.ALRT is a great value.  I know I feel much safer now when I run, and when my daughter is older, I would definitely want her to wear one as well.  What do you think?  Would you wear one?

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3 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great thing for kids, especially. I like that they can wear it and I don't have to give them a phone before they're ready!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This sounds awesome... and yeah, it would be great for kids walking home on their own. AWESOME

    ReplyDelete

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