Several months ago, I saw a story on Instagram about a woman who was in a ride-share vehicle, and she said there was some sort of chemical coming out of the vents that made her feel out of it. You can guess what happened next.
In that same week, someone called into a radio show I listen to daily and shared a story about how her ride-share driver kicked her out of the vehicle around 3am, leaving her with no phone, at a gas station.
I started thinking about some of the situations I’ve found myself in over the years. I have lived alone for 14 years (!), and have lived through the terror of a local serial killer in my earlier college years, navigated my fair share of frat parties, and traveled across the country (and across the ocean) alone.
There are times I’ve made less-than smart decisions concerning my safety, but there have been even more times that I’ve been aware of my surroundings (paranoid, even), have carried mace or stuffed my keys between my knuckles, and have ran full-speed from my parked car to my front door after the sun has set.
The last time I went to New York, I’d just heard about women being trafficked — that it’s as simple as being grabbed or threatened in broad daylight, or in a public place, like a mall. I felt ignorant that I didn’t know this, and I felt scared to go to the city.
I made it a point to walk with purpose, not wearing my headphones, and texting my mom my location and confirming when I was safe in my hotel room.
All of this is a safety tax we bear as women. It’s the things we have to do — whether mentally, physically, financially — to protect ourselves. We shouldn’t have to, but we do.
I decided it was time I take a real step in protecting my personal safety. After all, I can’t just stay locked up in my house forever (pandemic pending) and I can’t rely on a man to come save me (men I’ve dated have been the biggest threat to my physical safety).
So, I started researching personal safety devices. I considered a whistle, high-powered mace, a strobe light, a knife, a gun, or one of those daggers you clip onto your keychain.
But… I could poke holes in all of these items.
A whistle isn’t going to stop an attacker or a rapist. It’s going to piss him off and you could end up dead. Plus, it’s very rare that anyone around will help you. I know it sounds mean, but people are selfish and barely look up from their phones.
Items such as mace, a knife, a gun, or a dagger can be used against me. If the attacker is stronger and gets it from my hands, then well, that’s that. Plus these are not items I’d be able to bring into a concert, a festival, or on a plane — all places I often go alone.
The strobe light — meant to catch the attacker off-gaurd — and some of them were also weighted to be used as a weapon, is another thing that could be used against me.
And, I know when we need to, we kick into survival mode, but would I really be able to reach one of these things at the bottom of my purse? I don’t know.
Then, I found Flare.
What is a Flare safety bracelet?
A Flare safety bracelet is a piece of jewelry (a bracelet) that can send a faux phone call to get the wearer out of a bad situation, can send a text to a designated group of friends for help, or can dispatch 911 with the wearer’s exact location.
Flare was started by two female survivors, and they are very transparent about how awful it is that safety products even need to exist, that laws related to safety need to change, but we can all work together to create a safer world.
How does a Flare safety bracelet work?
Flare comes in a cuff style or a beaded style, all with different metal and color options. But the bracelet has an electronic device attacked to it that connects to your phone via Bluetooth. The Flare app on your phone is where all of the calls and texts take place.
The bracelet has a small button on it and via one quick press, or one long hold, you can start contacting people without any sudden movements, and without making a sound. The Flare bracelet is always turned on and always connected, and the battery last for about a year.
Within the app, you customize several parts of your safety plan. You choose up to 5 contacts who will be contacted should you need help. You can also customize much of the faux phone call, which I think is perfect if you’re on a weird date, or need to get out of a social event.
Where do you plan on wearing your Flare safety bracelet?
Everywhere. Seriously. Obviously, places such as going out or at a concert, but when I really think about it… anything can happen at anytime, anywhere. When I was writing an Austin newsletter, there was a story about someone being attacked while taking out the trash.
So, at the gym, going out for a walk, at the grocery… everywhere. Even when I’m at home, with the doors locked, I keep my Flare on my desk. You just never know.
Is the Flare safety bracelet worth it?
The Flare bracelets are a higher price point than, say, a whistle, or mace. Admittedly, I was a little surprised by the price when I saw it at first. But, when I got it and set it up, I realized just how much thought had gone into this.
The fact that you can customize the fake phone call (you can choose the scenario, the voice, and save it as a contact in your phone) — in case someone takes your phone or demands you put it on speaker or wants to see the screen.
All of the texting with your safety crew happens within the app so no one sees your phone lighting up with messages about getting help. Mouth duct-taped shut or can’t speak? 911 gets your location pin without you having to say a word.
I’m not saying any of this to scare anyone, but these are the scenarios that go through my mind, and it’s obvious that everything was thought about and considered in making this product. Honestly, if the product gives me peace of mind… and possibly saves my life, I cannot put a dollar amount on that.
Where can I get a Flare safety bracelet?
I got mine from the Flare website — I happened to find a sale, so keep an eye out. But, I also have a $20 off coupon code: fl-e2jgcp (this is NOT an affiliate; I do not earn a penny from any sale) if you want to try Flare.
I hope no one ever needs to use their bracelet — or whatever your safety device of choice is — but I want to be prepared.
Do you carry a personal safety device? What kind? Have you ever had to use it?
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