Friday, July 1, 2011

Let Somebody Know -- and Give Them This Critical Instruction

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?



irondad said...

The other thing to do is make an entry in your cell phone's contact list. Call it ICE and put your emergency contact number there. EMT's and police are now using that as standard operating procedure.

I use this as I spend so much time riding alone.

Bucky said...

Here is something else you could do. Enter your emergency contact info into a state database, like this for riders in South Carolina:

I am not certain that this is of benefit if you are riding outside of your state.

Bucky said...

I asked the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) about their emergency contact database.

Specifically, I asked:

"Is the database available to law enforcement officers in other states in case of a need outside South Carolina?"

Their response:

"If they can access SCDMV member services as a law enforcement agency, they will have access to this data. However, SLED [South Carolina Law Enforcement Division] should only be granting SC local law enforcement [agencies] access to our member services.
"SCDMV does not grant this access to non-federal law enforcement agencies outside of SC. We do not currently, nor do we have any plans to provide, access to this information via the NLETS [National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System]....
"Other states' law enforcement [agencies] would need to contact someone in SC Law enforcement to obtain this information."

So, it appears that the database is useful to South Carolina law enforcement agencies for South Carolina residents within the state, but it is not readily available to agencies outside the state, except federal agencies.

It is therefore best to carry identification with emergency contact information as described elsewhere above.