A personal safety device can give you peace of mind in various life situations, from working a night shift to jogging around your neighborhood to getting out of unpleasant situations that could arise when visiting a patient or during a campus party.
And no matter how careful you are when choosing your surroundings, sometimes precaution might not be enough. Adding a layer of security can help you stay out of trouble.
However, there are numerous products available, and choosing the best personal safety device for your circumstances can be overwhelming, especially if you are a first-time consumer. Should it come with a pin or a push button? Should it produce loud noise? What shape and size should it be?
Many functionalities can be misleading in that they are nice to have, but not must-haves. So today we’re going to look at the essential features you should consider when choosing your personal safety device.
Feature 1: Ease of use
The key functionality of a good personal protection device is its simplicity.
Personal protection devices are meant to be used in situations where our clarity of thought is often blurred and where we may get overwhelmed by fear or anxiety. This means they should be a no-brainer to use.
When selecting your safety gadget, consider how intuitive it is to you. How long does it take for you to figure it out? Do you need to take out your phone, unlock it, and find the mobile app on the screen? This is not only cumbersome, but potentially dangerous in emergency situations — it takes time and diverts your attention from the situation. Plus, attackers usually take the phone from their victim right away.
So if it takes you more than a couple of seconds to use your protection device, consider going for something less demanding.
Ease of use should be a deciding factor, no matter which group you belong to.
If an elderly person who lives alone falls down a flight of stairs and is unable to reach the emergency service, it’s important that they can easily use the device. The same goes for lone workers or visiting nurses, or teenagers who are prone to allergy attacks. Ease of use can be a lifesaver.
And it’s important to know that simplicity goes beyond a safety push-button. Consider getting a device equipped with a two-way speaker. That way, you can communicate with your emergency contacts about what’s wrong. These devices are both easy to use and allow you to get in touch with an operator with a single push of the button.
Feature 2: Long-lasting rechargeable battery
A good personal safety device needs to have a durable battery. For people who are frequently on the move and spend long hours outside their homes — such as visiting nurses, physiotherapists, delivery people, or students — solid battery life is the key to added security.
Feature 3: Water-resistance
If you go for a jog or long runs on the weekends, across a variety of terrains, you should definitely consider a water-resistant personal safety device. You might get caught in a downpour during your workout session, or find yourself in unknown terrain and accidentally and fall or drop some of your gadgets, including your personal protection device, in a puddle or stream.
Feature 4: Built-in microphone and speaker
We’ve touched briefly on the importance of having two-way communication when talking about ease of use, but given its significance, we wanted to elaborate on it a bit more.
Having a hands-free personal protection device that comes with a built-in microphone and speaker, allowing you to communicate with an emergency responder while leaving your hands free, is something you should prioritize when purchasing your gadget.
You need to have the option to let first responders know the exact context of the situation in order for them to be able to help you. What’s the emergency? Is it a medical emergency and you need an ambulance? Are you being assaulted and you need the nearest police officer? Are weapons involved? Is it a fire? All of this information is critical for an adequate and swift response, and a built-in mic and speaker help you get the message across.
Is this really a necessity? Yes.
Let’s say a female student gets approached at a party and there is an attempted assault. She needs to be able to defend herself with all her strength, so it’s important that she has both of her hands free while placing a call for help.
Another scenario that joggers and lone workers face is encountering a stray dog. In this case too, being able to call for assistance while being able to fend for yourself matters a lot.
Feature 5: Reliable connection between a physical device and emergency service
Your safety depends on the robust connection between the physical device you carry in your pocket, the software on your mobile phone, and the emergency services. You should look at this connection as an essential feature in your personal safety device.
The communication between these points needs to exist. More importantly, you need to be able to reach emergency service, not just any contact.
While a quick chat with your friends can be reassuring, in life-threatening situations calling a friend could add just an additional step, as your friends need to first figure out how to help you, where you are, and then call the appropriate emergency service. It’s important that you be in direct contact with professional emergency responders who are trained in emergency response situations and have the resources to help you.
If a real estate agent is doing a showing or open house, they usually don’t know who they are meeting with. Plus, in an open house, anyone can show up to see the property. This makes for a potentially risky situation for real estate agents, who can’t know who’s going to walk through the front door and what their intentions are.
This means agents need added security backup, quick communication, and integration between the physical device, the software on their phones, and an emergency dispatcher. With this line of communication in place, emergency responders can quickly locate the agents and send help their way when trouble arises.
Feature 6: Discreet
While in some cases, having a shiny, conspicuous personal safety device can be off-putting to perpetrators, who will think of you as a potentially troublesome target and back off, it’s important to consider getting a discreet device.
If a shop assistant sees a robber in the supermarket, they need a small, discreet device to get in touch with the police without giving themselves away, attracting attention, or even worse, irking the perpetrator, who could panic and resort to rash actions. Consider getting a small, discreet personal device that can easily fit in your purse or the palm of your hand, and thus avoid escalating the situation.
Feature 7: Auto text and auto call
Being able to send preset texts to emergency contacts is of huge importance to traveling workers in particular, who often find themselves in unknown neighborhoods.
Whether you are a visiting masseuse or a nurse or you work in delivery, you should look for a device that lets you send automated texts and calls in case you find yourself in a threatening situation.
With this feature, you can reach help with a single push of the button, by sending an auto-text with your GPS coordinates or dialing a preset number.
Feature 8: Fake phone call
A fake phone call is a convenient feature that allows you to quickly place a fake phone call to your phone and thus interrupt an unpleasant situation before it escalates.
This is a popular feature among visiting nurses who want to get out of a patient’s home when they feel threatened without having to call the police, which would mean antagonizing the other person or escalating an already dangerous situation. It’s also useful for students or dating singles who feel like the person across the table is getting inappropriate or aggressive.
With a fake phone call function, they can casually leave the situation, without having to call in the police and potentially trigger the other person even more.
So, how to choose the best personal safety device?
By now, you should have a good idea about where to start when choosing your personal safety device. First assess your daily habits, hobbies, and the situations in which you may find yourself, and then look for a tool that ticks all the check boxes on your list, including:
- Auto-text and calls
- Fake phone calls
- Built-in microphone and speaker
- Long battery life
- Reliable connection between hardware and software
While some solutions on the market meet some of these requirements, we’ve built POM to meet all of them and to give you peace of mind and added security with the single push of a button.