While I am relieved that the man who sexually assaulted a runner along the Avon Rail Trail has been arrested, I can’t help but feel like another piece of our freedom has been stolen from us. Now, even running in broad daylight on a public path is not enough to guarantee your safety. Being an independent (read: stubborn) person who enjoys her personal time, especially on the run, it angers me to not be able to live my life how I want.
Cell phones provide some level of protection, but honestly, if you are being threatened, how likely are you to be able to unlock your phone and call for help? Chances are higher that the attacker would take your phone.
We can learn techniques to escape an attacker which is why we’re working with Jane Doe No More and Todd Williams, Olympian and founder of Run Safer, to host a series of classes this summer, but what if you could have another layer of protection? Something discrete enough to not call attention to it, yet powerful enough to get you the help you need quickly? Thanks to a FF Peep named David Benoit that wish will soon be a reality!
Inspired by the Petite home invasion and the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, David and his colleague, Phill Giancarlo, began tinkering to create a product that leveraged mobile phone technology including GPS, microphone and camera. After 3 ½ years of work, their Wearsafe Tag is just about ready for rollout.
The Wearsafe Tag combines a discrete wearable button that talks to your smartphone via Bluetooth – even when your phone is 200 feet away. Press the button and an alert is sent to your pre-selected network of contacts. The alert sends your exact position along with the last minute of conversation and initiates a private group chat among your trusted contacts who can then call authorities with your details. I was blown away when David showed me.
This product is something I believe every runner and cyclist should carry with them – not to mention college students, revelers, business travelers and aging parents. The tag could prevent a bad situation from happening, empower a victim to be calm and strong and hopefully help catch the perpetrator quicker.
David and his team have a goal to save 10 million lives in 10 years. They launched a Kickstarter campaign today that rewards supporters who pledge $30 or more with one of the first tags and a lifetime of free Wearsafe service. Tags will begin shipping available in late August, and we hope to have them available at Fleet Feet Sports soon thereafter.
To learn more about Wearsafe or access their campaign page, click here. Even if David and his family didn’t shop at Fleet Feet, I would support his product. But how cool is it that one of our own is leading the charge to make our world a safer place and give us our freedom of independence back!