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In Case of Emergency

Like any insurance policy - 'tis better to have and not need, than to need and not have.

While no one ever plans to crash, or suffer any type of medical emergency, life intervenes. The best defense is a good offense - which means constant rider training and riding within one's limits. But, shit happens, so we encourage all of our members (and readers) to be prepared for that possibility.

First and foremost, please program your cellphones with your emergency contact information. Many cellphones now have sections for "ICE" contacts and instructions. This "In Case of Emergency" information may be your lifeline, if you're unable to communicate and need assistance. In that spirit, DESMO provides Emergency Contact cards to our membership, and encourages that they be used and kept on the rider at all times.

Please note that your phone's ICE functionality may be inaccessible if you lock your cellphone. Keep this in mind if you password-protect your phone for security, and plan accordingly.

If you don't have access to one of our cards (but these are available in the DESMO Shop), you can simply type your information on a piece of paper, and seal it in an envelope (marked ICE, of course) to keep on your person at all times. This doesn't have to be fancy, but should include your name and your contacts (your spouse, your children, your parents), as well as information on your medical condition. Allergies, medications, chronic illnesses, pacemakers - whatever a paramedic or emergency room doctor may need to know to treat you safely should be included. There are many companies that offer similar products - from emergency bracelets and dogtags, to helmet pouches. There are benefits and risks associated with each product (and method), of course, but providing this information in some way beats not providing this information at all.

Riding within your limits is important, too, but sometimes there are things that impact us that are out of our control. Wearing proper safety gear is of utmost importance here. This also means that the gear should be comfortable, so that it's worn regularly, and doesn't cause distractions. It does no good hanging in your closet or garage.

Many of us enjoy riding solo - the call of the open road and the solitude of leaving everything behind may even be why you primarily ride. No one wants to be tied down, but someone should always know roughly where you are - you don't need to check in everyday (although with cellphones, it's cheaper and easier than ever), but leave an itinerary (even if it's approximate) just in case.

Remember, cellphones are not infallible, service may be spotty (or nonexistent) in the areas we most yearn to ride, and battery life is limited. And batteries tend to drain faster than normal when your phone is constantly searching for a signal. Bring a DC charger. If you don't want to cannibalize your car charger, and don't want to buy another one, you can buy an inexpensive cigarette lighter adapter or extension (the female side) and wire it to your battery. This is a simple way to charge your battery on the go, which should be especially handy for those who are camping.

For you off-road riders, you may consider procuring a GPS beacon device, that sends an emergency signal if you need assistance. These are available by monthly subscription, and rely on satelites (not cell towers) for triangulation.

These are just a few simple suggestions designed to keep you safe. No doubt there are other things that you can do - and there are classes that you can take on first aid, first response, and managing accident scenes, that are full of knowledge, tips, and suggestions. This is by no means intended to provide comprehensive information; just to provide some common-sense advice.

Ride Safe.

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