Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A better alternative to Road ID

A blogger I read was in an accident with a car. (you can read about it if you click HERE),

He was wearing a Road ID. The EMTs had no idea what it was. I am not surprised. I was a volunteer firefighter for 7 years.  I went through hundreds of hours of training and Road Id was never mentioned. Road ID advertises to cyclists in cycling specific media. You see Bob Roll advertising Road ID on TDF coverage that only cyclists watch but you don't see it during football games that everyone watches. That is the problem. An ID tag marketed to cyclists does not serve its primary purpose - letting non-cyclists know who you are.

I use a dog tag. Everyone in this country knows what a dog tag is. Every dog owner, war movie watcher, everyone who watches the news. Basically every emergency responder.When you are unconscious and unresponsive, your neck and chest get a lot of attention from medical personnel. They check airways, perform CPR. In those instances, a dog tag worn around the neck will be noticed where a bracelet on the wrist may not.

My dog tag has my name, address, phone number and blood type. If I had a particular medical concern or allergy it would be there. Good information in a place easy to find.

That's why I have a dog tag instead of Road ID.


21 comments:

  1. Good point. I worry about this even though I now wear my Road ID religiously after a devastating accident. A that time, I wore nothing. Luckily, though I was unconscious, the EMTs found the paperwork from the PA brevet I was participating in and contacted the RBA as they took me to the hospital.

    Dog tags seem like a good idea, especially if you have allergies or special medical needs. I would think that EMTs would look through pockets for phones and do some research there (call home or emergency numbers) but I may be wrong.

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  2. As an EMT the past 5 years, I've been trained to search a victim for ID. I am stunned when I hear of other EMT's who are not. I did not know what a Road ID was, had never heard of one, until I treated an unconscious victim who was wearing one. It was bright red, it was on her wrist, and it told us she had two acute allergies. It saved her life.

    When I hear other EMT's say they don't know what a Road ID (or any other new type of ID) is, I blame the EMT for not doing their job thoroughly enough.

    Regards,
    Jerry Manwell

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  3. My Road ID has a Velcro strap that attaches it to my shoelaces (because I hate things on my wrists). I'd rather do a bad EMT's job for him, so it'll be dog tags soon.

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  4. Any ID is better than no ID.
    I agree that a good EMT or other emergency responder should do a thorough check for ID or contact info, but like Keith, I prefer to reduce the need for a thorough search by putting the important info in an easy to find location and recognizable format. Plus, (thanks to Hollywood) even untrained non-military good Samaritans recognize dog tags as ID. Interesting side note, one item of clothing that is often lost on impact in a crash between a vehicle and a person are the shoes on the person. Its weird, but people will literally get knocked out of their shoes. So if you're ID is on your shoe, you may want to consider relocating it.

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  5. Yes, but my shoes are clipped to my bike, so all they have to do is climb down the ravine and recover the bike, and my blood type is right there.

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  6. Originally, Road ID was a dog tag design, that was the first one they offered. I got that version because, as you said, I think EMTs would check for dog tags.

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    1. I learned about their dog tag design after this post. From their advertising it seems that Road ID is far more focused on selling bracelets and shoe ID's much more than dog tags.

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  7. Glad I could inspire a post! :)

    As a retired military man, the conversation between placing ID in the shoe or on a dog tag is interesting to me. We used to place a dog tag in our boot as well as around our neck. The theory was that if your head was blown off, the boot would hopefully remain intact (and vice versa). Fortunately, the cycling community doesn't have to go to quite that extreme to ensure ID remains attached to their body!

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    1. Glad to hear your recovery is proceeding well. And your story has generated quite a bit of interest. In the hope that my head reamins attached to my body, or at least close enough to make the connection, I'll go with the dog tag.

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  8. As a volunteer firefighter for seven years I would think you'd know that blood type is completely useless on any form of ID. You will never, under any circumstances be given blood without a test for blood type. In the unbelievably rare instance that you would be given blood without a test (I can't think of one outside of a battlefield) you would be given O- which is universal. Of you are a fan of dog tags that's fine, but don't rag on the RoadID. I was hit by a half ton Chevy in July and my Road ID was used to inform my family that I was in the hospital, and more importantly that take Coumadin. I was told by EMTs, 2 ER doctors, and the surgeon how important it was that I had the ID on me because of my being on Coumadin.

    As an aside, when I hit the highway I landed face and chest first. The impact tore my HRM and strap off through a hole in my jersey. There was a perfect bruised outline of where it used to be. A dog tag would have been gone.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm glad to hear you had a better result than the blogger who prompted my post because the EMT did not recognize his Road ID. (Feel free to read the linked post.) Road ID clearly did not work for him. As for my "ragging" on Road ID, my point was that they do not advertise, or publicize to non-cyclists, and that limits the effectiveness of Road ID. I think that fact is still valid. But as I said, Any ID is better than no ID.

      P.S. I was a firefighter not an EMT. There is a difference.

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  9. Thanks for your response also. I did read the linked post, and I agree that it's unfortunate the responders didn't recognize the RoadID. I know they are heavily marketed towards cyclists, but I also have several friends in other outdoor sports (runners, triathletes, etc.) who wear them and I see advertisements in just about all mainstream outdoor athletic magazines such as Runner's World and the like. My goal wasn't to be argumentative (I hope it wasnt taken that way), but I read your post saying dog tags were a "better" alternative to RoadID and I guess I disagreed. An alternative, yes; "better," I dont think I'd go that far. Mine definitely saved me major trouble.

    I did see that you were a firefighter, but my comment about blood type was more directed at content of the tag. When I was put on Coumadin I asked 2 of the ER doctors (one of them treated me; I live in a small town) what info needed to be on an ID. Their responses were:

    Name

    Year of birth (dates are not important; it doesnt matter if you are 35 years old, 3 months and 12 days).

    Known allergies

    Medications

    Important medical conditions (Diabetes, etc.)

    Contact phone number

    Everything else is just clutter and won't serve any purpose; the point is to keep it simple. Your blood type will be tested and in a true medical emergency EMTs and physicians don't need your address, DL#, insurance info, etc. Your treatment comes first and you will give them the rest of the info when you hopefully wake up. My ID has the following:

    First and Last Name 1980
    Call: 555-555-5555
    No Allergies
    Coumadin

    I hope none of us ever need it (or need it again).

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    1. Sounds logical. Thanks for the constructive comments.

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  10. I know I'm late to this party (and brand new to randos!), but I have been quietly staging a campaign for years to RoadID to get them to market more to first responders. As an EMT, I told everyone in my first class about them, then everyone at my station, then everyone at every other station I visited, and everyone on my search and rescue team, and everyone at conferences...but I'm still only one person. I wrote and wrote to RoadID begging them to give discounts to first responders. If they wear one, they'll look for one. I just heard, about a month ago, that they are FINALLY doing this, a 10-15% discount to first responders! So hopefully they WILL reach that community more effectively.

    As for dog tags, I refuse to wear anything with a chain around my neck. As an EMT, I'm a lot more likely to check for a pulse and see a bracelet than rip open your shirt and find your dog tags. But either one is a heck of a lot better than none.

    Oh, and don't bother with the electronic/website one - maybe they do something in the city, but no rural EMT is gonna do anything with that info. What Anon posted above is good, though mine has ORGAN DONOR as well.

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    1. Thanks for the feedback and spreading the word. It's never to too late for that. And welcome to the rando world. Perhaps we'll meet on the road (under good circumstances!).

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  11. I have been running for years, but just recently realized the importance of ID. I am currently training for a half marathon and spend hours out on our country roads. I purchased the road ID about three months ago and I wear it every where. Lucky for me I haven't had to use it. I have also purchased an ID for my 2 and 5 year old. All of our ID's have the internet profiles along with contact info on the ID. Although I am not against the dog tag idea (because some id is better then none) the wrist bands just seem like they would work better for my kids. :)

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  12. I was a Natl. Ski Patroller for 10 years. We are always tought to look for medical ID bracelets commonly worn by diabetics, heart patients, etc. I find it hard to believe a trained EMT (or anyone else for that matter) would not notice a Road ID. It seems more likely that a dog tag concealed by clothing could possibly be missed.

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  13. Forget Roadid its too expensive and it heavy. I got a Sporstagid way better looks nice too. If you have not heard of these guys you will. Lotta pro athletes are on em.

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  14. I prefer bracelets more than dogtags so I got ICEstripe Elite band which is the same thing as RoadID, but quite a bit cheaper. Quality is the same.

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  15. I work in the ER and agree with everyone on this blog, especially the importance of having this info avail to EMS, police, fire, and ER staff.
    Name
    Year of birth
    Known allergies (Seafood should be included)
    Medications
    Important medical conditions (Diabetes, etc.)
    Contact phone number

    I attempted to talk with Road ID to help bring it to the general public, the ER, and the tennis community (since that's my other life) They are not interested, which is unfortunate, however she mentioned they are growing so maybe in the future.

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