Why Everyone Should Have An Emergency Contact


Why Everyone Should Have An Emergency Contact

We live in a world where virtually anything can happen, and it can happen unexpectedly. Accidents at work or school, fender benders, going into labor before the due date, inclement weather on a trip, fires… the list goes on. What do you do when the unexpected happens?

It’s important for all members of your family to have an emergency plan. In this emergency plan you should include details for specific emergency situations. And if you follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), you should have a family communication plan. This plan should detail what steps to take in different emergencies and how you will contact each other.

Creating a Communication Plan

Every family’s communication plan is going to be unique to them, but there are a few guidelines that should be followed in order for it to be effective when you need it.

  1. Keep a list of emergency phone numbers
  2. Make sure every family member knows who to contact
  3. Have an emergency contact

Designating an Emergency Contact

When you choose an emergency contact, first and foremost, you want them to be reliable. In the event of an emergency they will need to react quickly to get you the help you need. It may be best for this emergency contact to be out of town so they can then contact everyone as needed.

The Role of an Emergency Contact

Your emergency contact will be responsible for alerting others of the emergency and calling for the appropriate help. They are a critical piece to your family’s emergency communication plan to keep everyone aware of the situation - pretty much your hero!

Communicate More Efficiently

Because time is of the essence in most emergency situations, you need to be able to contact your emergency contact as quickly as possible so they can react. A convenient addition to your communication plan for every member of the family is the Virtual Halo app. The app lets you send a quick SOS in the event of an emergency to alert your emergency contact. You can then use its check-in feature to keep them updated from there. This simplifies what you need to do in an emergency.


Don't Let Your Teen Leave For College Without Their Personal SOS


Don't Let Your Teen Leave For College Without Their Personal SOS

For teens, going off to college is an exciting, and liberating milestone.

But for parents, this event can be terrifying. Especially if they go to school out of state, as nearly 14% of students do.

As a parent, how can you feel confident that your teen will be safe even when you aren’t there? Start by talking to them about safety and precautions they should take, then take advantage of the one thing you know they’ll never go a second without - their cell phone.

Install Their Personal SOS

As your teen is busy preparing for their new classes stocking up on pens, papers and books, scratch one more thing off the to do list by downloading Virtual Halo to their cell phone. Virtual Halo is a personal safety app that will give you peace of mind by giving your teen access to quick and convenient SOS notification in the event of an emergency.

The app was designed with the college student in mind. When your teen uses the SOS, it not only sends a message to you and their chosen, trusted contacts, and can also be setup to text their campus security as well. This way, you can relax (as much as possible) knowing that nearby help is on the way. It’s free to use for basic services, with extended services costing only $1.99 per month; peace of mind as your teen strolls around campus.

Education is Important, but…

We know their safety comes first. That’s why we developed an app to give your teen the ability to immediately contact those closest to them for help when they need it. With the app, they can check in, mark when they’re going out and use the innovative Going Out Mode. When active, Going Out will automatically send an SOS if it's not disabled by the time they originally set. So you and your teen can always feel safe, anywhere, at any time.


Why You Should Always Let Someone Know Where You Are


Why You Should Always Let Someone Know Where You Are

Have you ever gotten lost?

It’s never a fun feeling. It happens to even the best outdoors people. And scientists now think that when we’re lost we do really walk in circles.

While it may not have been for a very long amount of time, most of us can remember getting temporarily turned around at some point. And if you do remember, you can likely recall the fear as well. But that fear shouldn’t deter anyone from enjoying adventure activities.

Venturing out hiking or camping, travelling across the country or foreign countries. It’s fun and a wonderful experience, but obviously it comes with risks. In such a mobile world, it’s critical to let people know where you are. Why? Because you never know what could happen. And it’s important to have a backup plan in case something happens.And it’s also something good so your loved ones don’t worry about you when you’re out enjoying the world.

Here are a few tips for letting people know where you are:

Tip #1. Expect the Unexpected

You never truly know what is going to happen when you’re on an adventure. You can plan and plan and most times things will be fine. But it only takes one time for things to go haywire. It’s critically important that you expect, or at least plan, for the unexpected. A great way to be prepared in the event of an emergency is to let someone know where you are.

Whether you are on a road trip across the country, hiking or camping in the woods, or simply running out to the store, let someone know your planned route. You might think that your plans will change. You can let the person know, but still give them a basic itinerary. The more information they have the more they can assist if you get lost.

Tip #2. Provide A Basic Time Frame

While you’re out, try to give someone a time frame to expect you back. It doesn’t have to be exact. Within a day or so. This way, if you haven’t contacted them or made it home when you said you would, they can be on the lookout for you. If your plans change just let your person know by checking-in. Just a quick message to let them know you’re doing fine. This way, if they can’t reach you, they’ll have an idea of what’s going on. Then, if something does happen, they know to react.

Tip #3. Stop & Assess

A very common scenario when you get that dreaded feeling of being lost is to move frantically. It’s natural to want to quickly get back on track. To feel at ease again. You want to avoid this tendency.

The best course of action is to STOP.

Stop. Think. Observe. Plan.

Give yourself time to take a breath and to figure out where you’ve been. How long you’ve been walking. Odds are pretty good that with a clear mind and a little rest that you can find your way back to your trail.

Tip #4. Take Advantage of Modern Technology

With everything going on in life, it can be difficult to remember to update someone at all times. Thankfully, our phones are a simple way to take care of that for us. With convenient, simple apps like Virtual Halo, you can send a quick check in to let them know you’re fine, or send an SOS if you aren’t.

With Virtual Halo, you have an app that puts your safety first and makes it easy to let someone know how you’re doing and if you need help. This quick alert is critical in an emergency situation to keep you and loved ones safe.

Exploring and adventuring are amazing aspects of life. It’s great to get away from the business of the city and all the modern technology. But you can unplug and still have the nice safety net that technology provides. You can still get away from it all, but it’s good to have a backup plan so that when something does happen you can quickly get back on track and work on your next adventure.


Get Your Go Bag Ready


Get Your Go Bag Ready

Get your escape to safety on the right track by packing a bag that's ready to go when you are

The go bag (aka bugout bag), once thought of as a security blanket for the conspiracy theorist, has gained the status of a legit safety item that you need in your home. In fact, government and city officials recommend having a go bag ready at all times.

The idea behind the go bag is simple. If an emergency happens, you grab your go bag and... go. It contains items that help you survive until you can return home. Here's everything you need to know.

Why you need a go bag

Global warming has made weather patterns unpredictable and dangerous. Mix that with the current civil unrest around the world and you could have all the reasons you need to keep a go bag ready.

Think you needn't bother? Here are some reasons why you may need to flee your home to find new shelter at a moment's notice:

  • Earthquake
  • Tornado or hurricane
  • Flash flood
  • Wild fire
  • Mud slide
  • Ice storm
  • Zombie apocalypse (just kidding... maybe)

What kind of bag is best?

The City of Chicago recommends that each member of your household have their own go bag. If you're the parent of small children, however, you can use one big bag to hold everything you and your children need.

Remember, the best kind of bag is the kind you can carry. Don't get a huge duffle bag unless you're very strong and can heft it. Also, you want a bag that will fit easily in your transport. You don't want one that's so big you'll have to leave one of the kids behind to take it with you.

A hiking backpack with various pockets is your best bet. Make sure it's made from a strong canvas material and has a strap that secures around your chest. This will take some of the strain off your back if you need to walk a long way.

Also, look for a pack that has a water reservoir you can fill with drinking water. These are often called camelbacks.

I recommend the GTH III three-day pack, which is what my husband used in the military. It's currently our family go bag. It sells for around $65. Another good choice is the All Hazards Prime Bag ($166).

Water is important, but make it, don't carry it

Though many experts recommend having a three-day supply of water in your home in case of an emergency, running with that amount of water can be impractical, especially if you don't have a car. The alternative is keeping a device in your go bag that can turn water from ditches, streams, ponds and other water sources into clean drinking water. Some good choices are the LifeStraw Go Water Bottle ($45) or the Icon LifeSaver ($150). Both can be clipped to the outside of your go bag so they don't take up precious room in the pockets.

Be warned, though. Many emergency filtration devices like these need to be prepped with drinking water before they can be used as a filter for yucky water. Be sure to read the directions and prep your bottle before clipping it to your go bag.

Get lighting that lasts

In an emergency, batteries may be in short supply. That's why it's a good idea to put a lighting system in your go bag that can be powered by a renewable resource. For example, the ECEEN Flashlight ($15) is solar powered while the ThorFire LED Flashlight ($13) can be powered by sunlight or a hand crank. A solar or crank flashlight that doubles as an AM/FM radio is a good choice, too. We personally like LuminAID.

Other essentials

Though water and light should be at the top of your list, there are some other things you need to toss in your bag:

  • Nonperishable food. MREs (meals ready to eat) are a popular choice, but freeze-dried items work, too. Just be sure they're light, provide a lot of calories and protein and stay good for months, if not years.
  • A good multitool that includes a knife, pliers, a can opener and other tools.
  • Paracord, also called 550 cord, can hold up to 550 pounds and is very compact, so choose it instead of regular rope.
  • Carabiners: These metal loops with a spring-loaded latch have a million and one uses, like latching gear to the outside of your go bag.
  • A whistle to signal others if you need help and can't yell.
  • A poncho and a change of clothes.
  • Your family's prescription medications for a week and copies of your prescriptions. You'll probably want to toss these in the go bag as you leave, since keeping extras in your bag will be impractical for most people.
  • A small first aid kit with bandages, antiseptic, pain killers and gauze.
  • Personal care items such as soap, a toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper, feminine hygiene products and so on. Put these items in waterproof baggies.
  • Your extra house and car keys.
  • A warm blanket. Put it in a plastic bag, use the hose on your vacuum to suck the air out of the bag and quickly seal it to save room.
  • A recent family photo for identification purposes, also in a plastic bag, to keep it safe from moisture.
  • Cash in small denominations and coins.
  • A regional map so you can find your way without a phone when cell towers and GPS are down or busy, or you've run out of battery.
  • Paper, pens and tape to leave messages for others.
  • A dust mask.
  • Copies of important documents such as insurance information, IDs, proof of address and passports, all in a waterproof plastic bag.
  • Your family photos on a USB drive. This one is optional, but I like the security of knowing I have some of my family's precious memories with me.


Authored by Alina Bradford; reprinted from CNET.com; edited by Virtual Halo.


Tips For What To Do If You're Being Stalked


Tips For What To Do If You're Being Stalked

It’s that time again, January is National Stalking Awareness Month. If you are a victim, here are VITAL tips that will help you navigate your case with the police and keep you safe.

Safety Checklist:

  • What to do if you're being stalked:
    • Make it clear to the stalker that you don't want any further contact.
    • DOCUMENT ALL INCIDENTS IN A JOURNAL: Include time, Date and description of event
    • Save all the evidence - Phone messages, emails, letters, gifts, etc.
    • Contact the Police - Bring all evidence to the Police Station
    • Keep a camera or videocamera on hand - Snap his picture or videotape his antics. Do not put yourself in danger to get the shot. Stay in your car or home when taking the picture and make sure the environment is safe before you videotape any damage that has been done
    • Make an emergency contact list for you and your family - Include phone numbers of Police Station (911 if it’s urgent), Name and Badge number of officer assigned to your case, Child Care or School contact numbers, name and number of attorney or prosecutor
    • Subscribe to [Virtual Halo][1] so you can let your family or close friends know if the stalker comes near you or is harrasing you; they will know your location and can talke swift action to minimize a bad outcome.
    • Avoid any further contact with the stalker: Do not communicate with your stalker in any way. Change your daily routine. Shop at a different grocery store; drive home a different way every day. If your situation is extremely dangerous, relocate. (Talk with police officials or victim assistance organizations for help) For more information, read [College Safety 101, Miss Independents guide to Empowerment, Confidence and Staying Safe][2] (Chronicle Books).

Reprinted from SafetyChick.com