As a former stuntman, I spent many years doing wheelies, driving in car chases, and performing trick scenes in Hollywood movies.
It was an exhilarating career, to say the least. But when I crashed my motorcycle while popping a wheelie going 70 mph for a movie stunt along an interstate, my life changed forever.
I was lying on the side of the road, badly injured and helpless — and I was unable to reach my cell phone.
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In those long minutes of desperation before the police arrived, my idea for a wearable emergency communication device was born.
My new product, Silent Beacon, officially launched this month. Kids, teens, adults, and seniors are now using it for personal safety, as are professionals who spend a lot of time with people they don’t know (think realtors, movers, estimators, and more). The small, wireless, and water-resistant panic button provides an additional level of security and comfort for those who know they can call for help quickly and discreetly, whether they’re in an accident, as I was, or are in some other unsafe situation.
With a one-button push, the Silent Beacon can place a call to 911 while simultaneously alerting up to six additional contacts with a text, email, and live-tracking GPS location — unlike other safety devices.
People can use the device to emergency responders while also letting loved ones know they need help immediately. The device has two-way talk communication and a mute feature to call for help without tipping anyone off.
In designing Silent Beacon, my team and I tried to think of everything — but we know there are other ways that people need to be mindful when it comes to their safety and surroundings.
Whether they’re alone and in need of emergency assistance, or whether they find themselves with an ill-intentioned stranger, there are precautionary steps people can take.
Below are five safety tips I highly recommend for others — and steps I follow myself:
1.) Know where the exits are at all times. This is especially true in a closed setting, such as a theater, mall, or even an outdoor arena. Even the most wonderful experience in a crowd of friendly participants can result in wildly unexpected incidents.
As soon as you arrive, note the exits closest to your seats — and let your friends know them, too.
2.) Stop using the vague phrase, “I’m just going out.” Even during those times when you feel overwhelmed or frustrated and just need some space, don’t disappear unless you leave a note, send a text, call someone, or otherwise let a friend or family member know where you’re going, walking or driving.
We all need our privacy at times — but letting someone know where you will be is an important preventative safety measure.
3.) Stay alert no matter where you are or who you’re with. We all know the dangers of texting and driving, but texting and walking can be hazardous as well. You could fall and injure yourself or bump into others and injure them.
The same holds true when you’re blocking out sounds with a cell earpiece or headset. Not only could you miss hearing sirens or warning calls from others requesting your assistance, you could also become a target or neglect to pick up on suspicious people or events around you.
This is especially important in parking garages, crowded streets or anywhere near vehicles.
4.) Use safety when ridesharing. Before you get into a strange car, make sure it’s your ride. Check the license plate, confirm that the driver’s photo matches his or her profile in the app, ask the driver what his name is — and make sure he can tell you what your name is as well.
When you get in, always lower the window so that if you need to call for help, you can be heard by people nearby. Remember, you can only request Uber rides through the app, so never get in a car with a driver who claims to be with Uber and offers a ride. Share trip details with a friend or family member and tell that person your anticipated ETA and to expect a text; that way, they can track your location and make sure you arrive safely at your final destination.
5.) If you’re driving alone during a crash and can’t reach your cell phone — and you don’t have a wireless panic button or in-car emergency system — you’ll have to wait, as I did. But if you can, lean forward on the horn.
That way passersby will hear you and notice you.
And if you can lower your window, scream loudly and constantly until help arrives.