03 August 2009

Product review: Xtreme Sports ID

This is one product that I hope that I never, ever need to use in real life.

From a distance, the Xtreme Sports ID is nearly indistinguishable from the hundreds and thousands of silicone bands out there. But unlike those other bands, which announce your support for a cause; such as Livestrong, American Diabetes Association, or Multiple Sclerosis. An organization; such as the BSA, or your kid's school, this band might actually save your life.

When you look closer, you notice that there is a red caduceus - a symbol used to annote medicine on the band - and two sets of numbers, a toll-free phone number and an eight-digit code.

The way the band is "supposed" to work (and again, I don't - nor do I ever hope to - have any real world experience with this) is, if you are involved in an accident where you are unable to provide medical personel with any vital information, they can call the phone number on the band, enter in the code and an easy to navigate menu will provide them with your name, doctor's information, allergies, emergency contact list and any other medical information that they may need to properly treat you. The url is also printed on the inside of the band, so they can access the information online - accessing the information online will also give them your address.

Like so many things in life. you will only get out of this what you put into it. What information is avaiable to medical personel is limited to what you input when you set up your Xtreme Sports ID. There are several different fields that you can provide information for, such as Doctor's name, Medical provider, Emergency contacts, Allergies, Medical alerts, and Medications.

One field that is unique, and sets the Xtreme Sports ID apart from other ID bands, is the "Where am I" field. How that works, is you can input an email address for any of your emergency contact names. Before you go out, you can update the where am I field with your intended destination (limit of 140 characters) and your emergency contacts are notified thru email where you are going. This can be invaluable by providing emergency responders a starting point to look for you. Again, it will only work if you update it before you go out. I tried this by entering a quick update to my whereabouts and putting myself as an emergency contact. I got an email right after I updated the information telling me my whereabouts and letting me know that there is no need to act on this information, that it is only necessary in case of an emergency.

The cost of the band is $8, which gets you the band, and 1 year of information storage on their database. After that, it is $5/year. The bands come in various colors and sizes from children to Adult to fit most wrists. I picked up my band at the Xtreme Sports ID booth at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market Expo where Kyle Mullins walked me through the initial setup. Setup is easy. You can have up to 6 ID's under one account - for your whole family. After the inital setup, you simply click on the ID you want to update and enter the information into the appropriate field.

There are numerous ways to indentify yourself if you are injured, I used to wear a dog-tag I picked up at the local Army-Navy surplus store for $4 which had my name, address and phone number on it. Other products are available, which work similarly to the Xtreme Sports ID, but they come in at a higher initial cost, and their yearly database renewal fee is also higher.

Some concerns are the fact that there is no personal information available at first glance to emergency responders, unlike other products available. But unless you are going into extremely remote areas, there should be cellular service so your information can be easily retrieved. The other concern is that it is a silicone bracelet. They can be easy to tear and everyone wears one, how will an emergency responder know to look for information there? Yes if you take them on and off constantly, it will stretch the band which can cause it to tear, but I have known people who have had silicone bands on for years with no problem, simply because they don't remove them. As far as will responders know where to look, they are trained to look for the caduceus symbol around the head and neck, and the wrists and ankles if the patient is not responsive.

The Xtreme Sports ID is marketed towards cyclists mainly. Their spokesman is Pro cyclist George Hincapie, but they can be used for anyone who you would want to have emergency medical information redily available, such as children or the elderly. Is it worth it? Given the low cost and ease of setup, I would say yes. I will probably still wear my dog tags when I cycle - you can't have too much information available. More information and a list of retail locations can be found at http://www.xtremesportsid.com/

1 comment:

Mom said...

Sounds like a good thing to have. Hope you've got my info on the contact list.