In Case of Emergency: ID Bands & Tags

3529708761_9f121328e5_mWe take physical well-being seriously at ProfHacker. Recently, for example, Natalie wrote about her “Month with the Fitbit Flex,” Ryan has written a series about his journey with a standing desk and Konrad has offered the “Portable Ninja” version. I adapted one of my favorite posts, “The Rule of 200” to exercise: “The Rule of 200: Fitness Edition.” Guest author Meagan Timney has encouraged “Nurturing the Mind-Body Connection,” and Kathleen Fitzparick has written about the importance of Prioritizing Exercise. Whether you are training for an Ironman, exploring “Couch to 5K” or simply enjoy “Walking Your Dog,” it is important to be safe and carry some form of identification with you in case of an emergency.

There are several options:

  • Carry your ID with you. Some people prefer to just grab their wallet or their driver’s license and carry it on their person. However, maybe your favorite workout clothes lack pockets, or maybe you don’t want to worry about losing a wallet. Maybe it’s heavy or bulky or otherwise awkward. Maybe you tend to forget to take your license out of your pocket and have a tendency to run it through the laundry.

  • Install an In Case of Emergency (ICE) App/Icon on your phone. Both Apple and Android offer several ICE options for smartphones. Some of these apps contain the bare minimum: contact numbers and basic medical information. Others allow users more space to include several contact numbers and detailed medical histories: treatments, conditions, and prescriptions. Of course, these apps are only useful if you have your phone with you–not everyone does, batteries die, phones break, etc.

  • Wear a dedicated ID. Several companies sell IDs for athletes that are meant to help emergency medical personnel identify individuals in the event of a medical emergency. Perhaps the best known of these, Road ID, offers a wide variety of options: wrist bands in both nylon and silicon in several different colors and sizes, ankle bands, shoe tags, and traditional dog tags. Once you have selected the form of your ID, you can further choose between “original” and “interactive.” The original IDs display your information right on the tag while the interactive versions display a common phone number and web address. Users then supply a serial and pin number to receive individual records. The interactive version requires an annual fee of $10, but it also allows users to edit their information (contact numbers, prescriptions, medical conditions) over the internet; the original version cannot be altered. RoadID is not the only option: A company called GoSportID offers similar options. GoSport sells wrist bands (nylon or silicon), shoe tags, and dog tags. They do not offer the interactive technology, but their products a generally slightly less expensive than RoadID. The least expensive option is offered by YikesID. YikesID also offers fewer options (3 colors vs the rainbow offered by both competitors) and space for 5 lines of text rather than 6. Still, it’s a good option for the budget conscious.

I currently wear a RoadID Wrist ID Sport original. While it might be helpful to be able to update my information, I would rather have my ICE numbers ready and available–I don’t want EMS personnel to have to make another call or go looking for it on a website. Originally, I had chosen a shoe tag, but it occurred to me that for shoe tags to be effective, you have to be wearing your shoes. It seemed to easy to be separated from the tag, whether by an accident or by medical personnel. In fact, one of the first things I do after a run is take off my shoes. I switched to a wrist band shortly afterward.

Whichever kind of ID you choose, be sure to include emergency contact numbers and relevant medical information (history, allergies). You might also choose to include your year of birth and hometown. Mine has my full name and year of birth, hometown, state, country, and three contact numbers. If you have space left, you might indicate blood type, whether you are an organ donor, or opt for an inspirational phrase (“One mile at a time” or “I live to ride”).

Hopefully, no one will ever need to look at your ID, but even if you work out with others, the chance of them knowing your emergency contact information in the heat of the moment could be slight even if you are close friends. Be sure to have some kind of ICE with you, especially if you are on your own, and be safe out there!

How about you? Do you carry or wear a sports id? Which option did you select? Please share in the comment section.

[Creative Commons licensed image by Flickr user Noize Photography.]

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