When out riding, it is always a good idea to let someone know where you are going and for how long. That way, if you are significantly delayed without word from you, they can send out the search party.
It is also a good idea to give your contact information to fellow riders in a group. If you get separated, or one has a mishap, you may be able to contact the others to let them know what is going on.
Beyond that, when riding with others, exchanging names and phone numbers of their families is a good idea, so they can be contacted, especially if there is an emergency.
On that last item, there is an important detail that must be completed by all riders beforehand.
Ready? Here is the critical detail:
Make CERTAIN that whomever
is at home while you are out,
answers the phone,
EVEN IF they do not recognize the
caller's telephone number.
I have had some first-hand experience with this. I arranged to meet up with a fellow rider, and we diligently exchanged our contact info, including our emergency contact phone numbers. He had the misfortune of running off the road and into a guardrail during our ride. He was wearing full gear (Haven't I heard somewhere about that being an excellent idea?), but needed a trip to the hospital to patch up his injuries.
I pulled out my cell phone to make a call for help, but there was no service. Some others had stopped to help, but their phones were also without service. One of them drove to a place where he could make the 911 call for help. Once the help arrived, I found a place where I could just barely get cell service, and called my buddy's emergency number.
I got no answer.
His emergency contact did not make it a practice of answering calls from unknown numbers. In this day and age of prank callers and unwelcome solicitations, that isn't unusual. However, as a result that day, it was about an hour later that his family was notified of the accident.
I had never given a thought about instructing my emergency contact to answer the phone -- no matter what -- while I am out riding.
I have now. How about you?