In one of my favorite books about personal safety, The Gift of Fear, author Gavin de Becker dedicates an entire chapter to the “survival signals” that can help people recognize the actions indicative of someone with sinister and violent intent. As de Becker describes how predators use a variety of tactics to gain control over their intended victim, he provides a number of indicators that can help people get left of bang by recognizing how people might try to get a person to lower their guard. When you identify a person who could become violent towards you, how quickly and decisively you take action can have a significant impact on your personal safety. What you do in that moment will determine how well you are able to protect yourself from the danger you have identified.
While the decision you make about whether to confront the person, attempt to de-escalate the tension or remove yourself from the area will be based on your perception of the situation and how much danger you are in, for people looking to take control of their personal safety, letting others know that you need help is one of the most impactful ways to begin to take the power away from the person who is threatening you. By letting other people know that you need help, the power dynamic begins to change and the odds of you being able to ensure your own safety go up. Take a moment to visualize a situation where you might need to do this, though. How will you actually let people know that you need help? This is a question worth considering as it is critical to have both a plan and a method by which you can alert people when you are in danger.
The Default (and Ineffective) Method
For most people, the way that they would alert other people that they are in danger is by calling them on their cell phone. But take a moment to think about all of the steps and the actual logistics that go into doing that. While you are dealing with and face-to-face with the person who has made you feel threatened, you would need to take your phone out of your pocket or your purse, unlock it (often by typing in a passcode), open the phone app, find the person you want to call in your contacts or recently call list, call them, wait for them to pick up, and then explain to them what is going on, where you are, why you need help and what you need them to do.
All of those steps, while simple under the stress-free conditions of everyday life, become incredibly time-consuming when you are facing a potential attacker or concerned about your safety. In addition to this process forcing you to take your eyes off of the person that has made you uncomfortable so you can dial the phone (taking your eyes off the person is the last thing that you want to do), you may not know exactly where you are or even make it clear to the threatening person that you are calling for help. Add in the fact that the call itself might confuse the person you are talking to and that our 911 systems can’t always track locations from cell phone calls very accurately, the cell phone method to alerting friends and family about your situation isn’t always the best choice.
A More Effective Option: The Benefits Of Using Revolar
Instead of relying on your ability to make a phone call during the times when you are feeling threatened, we believe that a better option to alert people to the fact you are in a dangerous situation is to use a device designed to facilitate that exchange in a streamlined and very effective way. Over the last few months, Jon and I have been testing out a device made by Revolar and are ready to share our recommendation with you, as it doesn’t force you to take your eyes off the person, knows exactly where you are, and can communicate all of the necessary information to the people you want to know. Revolar is a company based in Denver with a mission to create the connections needed to help people stay safe. With the natural similarities that exist between their beliefs and our goal to keep people left of bang, their product seemed like a natural fit with our violence prevention courses.
What the Revolar Instinct does is provide you with the ability to send alerts to people you identify through an app on your phone. The alerts consist of customizable messages that are sent via both text and email to people you choose and can let people know what you need them to do and where you are. You have the option of sending three different types of alerts to people you identify: green, yellow and red. A green alert, which is activated through a single extended click and hold (to prevent an unintentional alert) can be set up to inform certain people that you are okay and just checking in with them. We recommend using this as a check-in method in non-threatening situations. A yellow alert can be sent by double clicking the device and can let people know you are in a situation you are unsure of, that you’d like them to be by your phone in case something happens, and to able see where you are. A red alert, which comes from clicking the device three times or more, lets them know that you are in danger right now and need help.
The benefits of Revolar’s device and why we use it ourselves is because you can wear it or carry it in a position that makes sense to you, whether on a belt loop, a purse strap or keys, and you can communicate with people without having to divert your eyes or attention off of the person around you. Instead of being distracted trying to find street signs to let someone know exactly where you are, allow your phone to do that for you with its location services and provide that information to the people you have alerted so that you can stay focused on keeping yourself safe. The Revolar Instinct is a quick and reliable solution and answers the question that we so often hear from our clients, “once I identify a threat, what do I do about it?” Informing other people about your situation is almost always one of the primary steps to take and Revolar has taken the way to do that to a heightened level.
As I often find myself saying at conferences, classes or while talking to people about what it takes to get left of bang, threat recognition is a game of speed. Once you identify an attacker, you still have to decide what you are going to do about it and put that plan into action in order to stay safe. Being able to let friends and family know when you are in a situation that has made you uncomfortable, where you are and what you would like or need them to do can quickly begin to change the odds of your ability to keep yourself safe. If you’d like to learn more about Revolar, their devices and their story, view their extended product description on Amazon by clicking here.