When you don’t need to call 911, these products and services are your best options.
Call 911. It’s a statement ingrained in the minds of virtually every American. If there is an emergency, the first thing you do is call 911. It’s the definitive resource for these scenarios. An operator can dispatch the necessary emergency services. Response times average 10 minutes. In an emergency situation— regardless of the type of emergency— you immediately call 911. But, out of the approximately 240 million 911 calls made in the United States each year and more than half are dismissed as non-emergencies.
The key word here is “emergency.” A 911 operator has all the tools and resources necessary to navigate these emergencies, but it is not a system designed for anything but the most extreme of circumstances. Calling 911 for a situation outside of these parameters will at best get a caller diverted and at worst be considered an abuse of the service.
So what are people meant to do in a situation that feels unsafe but hasn’t escalated? A situation where there is no definitive problem. Circumstances that seem as if they could become problematic. There is a Personal Security and Peace-of-Mind gap here, and it’s a gap filled by personal security services and devices specifically designed to help individuals when they encounter these uncomfortable or risky situations.
How many times have you walked home late at night? Maybe you met some friends you haven’t seen in a while for drinks in your local city. You’re having so much fun catching up that you lose track of time, but you need to get home. It’s a weeknight and you have work in the morning. You decide to save some money and walk.. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but as you walk back, you feel uneasy. The streets are empty, it’s still, and quiet. Maybe you see someone off in the distance standing on the corner. The idea of having to walk past them with no one else around feels distressing.
Feeling upset in that situation is certainly not a reason to call 911. For all you know, that person in the distance is someone else just waiting for an Uber to take them home. Nothing has happened. Of course, it’s still fine (and perfectly normal) to feel scared if you feel isolated late at night.
Maybe, instead of one person, you spot two… and they’re arguing. It’s heated and angry, but they haven’t come to blows. You’re just worried for their safety. Again, it’s not a situation that warrants a phone call. A shouting match is distressing, but it isn’t an emergency.
Consider an entirely different scenario: you’re home alone watching TV late at night, and you’re startled by a strange noise outside. It almost sounded like a knock, or maybe even a window opening. You want to make sure nothing is wrong. It’s another scenario where caution (and even fear) are understandable. But unfortunately, you shouldn’t be calling 911 about every odd noise you hear.
So, what should you do in these situations? There are some options available to you that can work in certain situations.
- Accountability is always a great option, and it’s free. Calling a friend or family member in these situations means that you have someone else to talk you through the situation and get you home safe. They can even call the police for you if they think something is wrong. But that might not be an option late at night. You might not want to call someone and wake them up, especially in a situation with no immediate threat. There’s no guarantee they’ll even pick up in the first place. Do you go down your contacts list, spending valuable time with your head buried in your phone until someone picks up? It’s not a bad solution, but it certainly isn’t reliable.
- Pocket-sized alarms like the Maxxmalarm are small enough to fit in your pocket, and loud enough to alert bystanders or even ward off attackers. These devices are an alternative for personal defense without carrying something harmful or even lethal, like a knife, taser, or gun. Unfortunately, if the loud noise isn’t effective, there isn’t much else the device can do. Frankly, shouting may be just as effective at scaring an attacker off or getting someone’s attention. An aggressor may not be scared away, and someone hearing the noise nearby still needs to know enough to call 911. If they’re unfamiliar with the noise (or if there’s no one around) emergency services won’t be contacted.
- Alternatively, wearable jewelry like this necklace by invisawear are viable options. In this particular case, pressing a button on the back of the pendant sends your GPS location to your emergency contacts list. It’s useful information for the authorities to have in certain circumstances, but it may not help you immediately in that moment. If these contacts don’t see the message right away, it may be some time before help arrives, if at all.
- Self-defense items can also help in some of these situations. In terms of self-defense items and weapons, there are hundreds to choose from, including pepper spray. However, any of these items can be taken away from you and potentially used against you. They also require some degree of training to use effectively. Depending on where you live, your state may not allow self-defense items to be carried on your person or restrict areas in which they can be carried.
Additionally, pepper spray can blow back on the user, potentially incapacitating you. SABRE manufacturers a pepper gel that doesn’t have this issue.
The Ideal Solution: End-to-End Personal Security Services
Personal security services such as Bond cover what has been termed as the Personal Security and Peace-of-Mind gap, the uncomfortable or risky situations that exist but don’t warrant a 911 call. Bond allows users to reach out to a trained Personal Security Agent as a precautionary measure. If a user feels unsafe or suspects an issue may arise, these agents can stay on the line with them, monitoring their location and status, and recording the interaction. Most importantly, they can work with emergency services in real time if needed. Even if— especially if— the user is unable to do so themselves.
Bond offers a variety of services that are designed to be efficient in different situations. For users, the Bond platform is a comprehensive series of tools that allow them to prioritize their safety, even on the move. Just as importantly, Bond Agents will stay with you until they know you’re safe and secure. That includes confirming police, ambulance, fire or tow services show up. But it also means they’ll stay with you until they know the situation is resolved and deescalated.
The majority of these tools will put you in direct contact with a Bond agent within seconds. Agents are available 24/7 and understand how to deal with a wide range of circumstances. Agents are available 24/7 and are trained to address a wide range of circumstances. They are also able to assist users immediately and directly through preventative monitoring services or general communications (video, voice, chat) initiated by the user. For example, if a user is walking alone and feels uncomfortable, he/she can activate “Track My Walk” and a Bond Personal Security Agent will monitor the user’s journey until a safe arrival is confirmed at the destination. In some cases, agents can arrange for transportation or connect a user to a medical specialist. They will stay with the user in these situations until the agent can confirm the user is safe and secure. In other instances, they’ll coordinate with emergency services to send first responders (police, fire, or EMS) to the user as quickly as possible. They’ll be able to communicate real-time updates and other critical information as needed.
“Ready an Agent” is a service within the Bond platform and accessible through the app that allows users to communicate with a Bond agent at the literal release of a button on the app. It’s designed to be an effective and simple service to be used in situations where a user wants attention but not immediate intervention: think verbal harassment or bullying from a stranger. This service readies the Personal Security Agent to intervene as soon as the user releases their finger from the ”Ready an Agent” tile in the app. This means the user won’t have to turn on or unlock their phone to initiate a call.
This is perfect for those late-night walks home. In situations where you feel uneasy, simply ready the phone in your pocket or hold it in your hand. In fact, in situations where you’re nervous, you can even call an agent directly. Bond Agents are always here for you; if you feel worried or anxious, you are not misusing our service.
Reach out when you hear an odd noise at home and need to investigate. Our Personal Security Agent will stay on the line until you feel comfortable. You can even set up a time for Bond to check-in with you later, if you’re still feeling nervous. Security Checks are a part of our Bond’s premium services.
“Video Monitor Me” is a tool that allows a user to have a face-to-face chat with a Personal Security Agent. It’s useful for a variety of reasons, and allows the Bond agent to gather more information as they monitor a situation. “Chat” is also ideal for situations where verbal communication would be difficult, like a busy intersection or crowded nightclub.
If you’re passing that loud, late-night altercation on the street, you can pull up the video monitor service. A Bond Personal Security Agent will be able to monitor the situation with you even if direct communication is difficult. At the first sign of trouble, to you or others, Bond can alert the proper authorities.
This is the ideal solution for those times when you get home from work late but still want to fit a run in. Or maybe your dog woke you up for a midnight walk. You can go out knowing that the authorities will be alerted if Bond notices anything suspicious or we can’t get in contact with you.
“Track Me On the Go” allows users to map out their daily or weekly routines. If an agent notices any suspicious behavior (for instance, a user leaving for work at their normal time, but never arriving) they will reach out to the user. The agent will reach out to emergency services for further assistance if necessary.
“Telemedicine” is a service that allows Bond agents to coordinate with a licensed medical practitioner to speak with a user. If the situation calls for additional assistance or the situation escalates, the agent will alert emergency services.
“Send Me a Car” has an agent arrange for transportation for a user. The agent will communicate with the transportation service and the user to coordinate a pickup, even if the user is still moving.
This is helpful if a user needs to leave a potentially dangerous situation or is being followed. Using this tool, the user doesn’t have to stop to arrange for a pickup or wait at a pickup point.
These services allow users to stay safe without having to call 911. More importantly, they’re useful in situations where a user may not feel it is appropriate to contact emergency services… yet. Hearing a strange noise or noticing a stranger walking the same direction as you don’t warrant a call to a 911 operator. However, they’re perfectly reasonable reasons to call a Bond agent. Our first responders are heroes: their job is to make sure you are safe. At Bond, we’re here to make sure you feel safe. Always.