How to Stay Safe on the Go with Road ID

Road ID Cover for BCRN

I’ve always been cautious and tend to worry about things I can’t always control – things like the weather, my health and plane crashes. I’ve always been a what-ifer, and I tend to worry more about what could happen rather than what actually did. I was on my way to decreasing my time spent worrying and improving my self-confidence until my DVT and PE in June of 2012 that began a long, downhill landslide of shattered confidence, broken dreams and more anxiety than I had ever faced before. With the prognosis of being on blood thinners – at 31 years old – for the rest of my life, I suddenly found I was worried about almost everything. What if I fall? What if I get in a car accident? Cut myself? Hit my head? Can’t speak for myself in an accident? The thoughts started flooding in and my anxiety increased, mostly when I left the house or when I was home alone. Sure, I can wear a medical alert bracelet and carry a wallet card, but what if I don’t have these things with me when the worst happens? I quickly realized I had to do something to ease my mind and feel safe about living life (even normal, everyday activates like going to the grocery store made me nervous) and soon discovered how to stay safe on the go with Road ID.

You may have heard of Road ID. If you are a runner, cyclist, triathlete or just an active person, Road ID is for you! They make emergency medical alert bracelets that I recommend. Plus, I love what they say about their products, “It’s not just a piece of gear – it’s peace of mind.”

What you may not have heard of is the Road ID App.

I first found out about this app in an online awareness support group and decided after using it, it is too good not to pass on to you. It is completely free, easy to use and delivers a whole lot of peace of mine.

Not all of my medical bracelets have the space to put In Case of Emergency (ICE) contacts on them and even then, there are some days that I just don’t wear one. However, I don’t think there has ever been a day when I have forgotten to take my phone with me. The first feature of the Road ID APP is to provide a pace to put your pertinent medical information, ICE contacts and who you are – right where any first responder would see them, on your lock screen. I have ICE in my phone, like many people, but that won’t do any good since my phone is password protected at all times. The screen has a place to put who you are, your city, important medical info and up to three contacts with phone numbers of your choosing. You can customize it with as little or as much information as you want. The app also provides easy instructions as to how to set your ICE info as the front lock screen. Mine looks something like this:

lock screen

Having my screen set to this has provided me a great sense of relief ever since I put it on my phone about a week ago. You could set the screen to look like this at all times (like I have) or you could set it to lock like this when you go out for a workout. Being on blood thinners and having the medical history I do, the only solution that works for me is to leave it there all the time.  ICE is in important, so if you don’t already have it in your phone, please put it there or consider using this app! I know for a fact first responders will check your phone if you have no other identification with you. Three years ago, my mother was running in a park close to home and had something happen. She had no known medical conditions that would have caused her to wear ID so she did not. A police officer on the scene was able to contact me (one of her ICE contacts) from her phone and let me know which hospital to go to. Sadly, my mother did not survive what happened to her. And while we did not make it to the hospital before she passed, we knew where to go, what details were available about what happened, and I also have the peace of mind believing that everything that could have been done to save her life, was done that day and as quickly as possible.

The second thing the app does is provide a service called eCrumb (or electronic breadcrumb) feature that I also find invaluable if you are going to be out on a workout (run or bike) or even out taking a walk. This feature tells someone (via text directly from the app) that you are going for a run or workout. YOU set a timer for how long you anticipate being out (you can add time as you go right from your phone or cancel the crumb at any time). You can notify up to five people of your workout and they can track you in real time via a text link that is sent to them. They do not need to have the app. While out on your workout, if you stop moving for more than five minutes, the app will send the person (or people) on your list a notification. If you have been inactive for five minutes, a very loud alarm goes off on your phone so you can extend the time (or disable the alarm, for example, if you needed to rest for more than five minutes) before the message goes out. Road ID suggests you customize the alert message to say something like, “Please call or text me to see if I’m okay” in case an unintentional alert is sent out. If the stationary alert is issued, the app sends a link to your contacts (that you sent the “I’m going for workout” message to in the first place) with the last known location and tracks your phone for the next 30 minutes after the alert is sent out. The eCrumb tracking location services update about every minute while you are using the app according to Road ID.

ecrumb set up

Currently the Road ID App is only available for iPhone, although Road ID is working on an Android version. It’s completely free and Road ID will send you a coupon for a physical Road ID after your download it!

Share your story. Would people be able to access your ICE contacts in an emergency? Have you used this app or a similar one? Will you? Do you have a Road ID or will you consider getting one? Do you tell someone when you are going for a walk or run?

There is hope for healing and you are not alone,


How to Engrave Your Medical ID

How to Engrave your medical IDAfter spending a week in the hospital, whether or not I needed to wear a medical ID bracelet was the last thing on my mind when I was finally discharged. In a matter of days, my entire world was turned upside down when I was diagnosed with blood clots in my leg (DVT or deep vein thrombosis) and lung (PE or pulmonary embolism).

I was worried about the new job I was supposed to start, what an INR was, when I could run again. I also wondered why this happened when I was doing my best to take care of myself for first time in my entire adult life. I felt scared, alone, sad, overwhelmed and I decided it would just be better for me to stay indoors rather than worry about what would happen outside where I could fall and hit my head on concrete or – my worst fear – get in a car accident. It was then that I realized that without a medical ID, no one would be able to help me if one of these accidents occurred.

Why You Need a Medical ID if You are Taking Blood Thinners

Blood thinning medications or anticoagulants save lives because they treat or prevent potentially life-threatening blood clots. However, they also pose one possible and very serious side effect: Bleeding. Since blood thinners slow the clotting of blood, unwanted and sometimes dangerous bleeding can occur with the use of these medications – especially with a fall, a head injury or a traumatic accident.

A medical ID or medical alert bracelet or necklace is a very important tool that could save your life in an emergency situation. If you are ever hurt or injured – and not able to speak for yourself – a medial ID may be the only way first responders or doctors know how to begin treating you. If you are taking blood thinners – especially warfarin for which vitamin K exists to slow or reverse bleeding – medical professionals need to know immediately. If you are taking a new oral anticoagulant  for which there are no reversal agents,  doctors still need to know so they can care for you to the best of their abilities.

How to Engrave Your Medical ID

Medical IDs do not need to be elaborate and must be able to convey life-saving information as quickly and clearly as possible. A medical ID must be immediately recognizable as a medical ID – if it’s too pretty or cute, it might not get notice in an emergency.

Information that should be included on your medical ID (in order of importance or room you have to engrave):
  • Specific name of the medication(s) you are taking that affect life-saving treatments (i.e. anticoagulants, heart medications, aspirin, insulin, etc.)
  • Allergies (especially to medications like penicillin)
  • Whether or not you are diabetic
  • Name
Information that can also be included on a medical ID:
  • History of medical conditions (i.e. DVT, PE, heart attack, stroke)
  • Date of birth
  • Doctor name and phone number
  • Emergency contact name and phone number
  • Your address
  • Your phone number
  • Your blood type
Where to Get Your Medical ID

There are countless places to order a medical ID. They range in price from free (a wallet card or mobile app) to a few dollars (i.e. silicone bands) to hundreds of dollars (i.e. gold charms and bracelets). Here are a few of my favorites:

  • BCRN’s Shop on Amazon – My shop has some of my personal recommendations for a variety of styles (not personalized), for almost any budget, including silicone IDs that are great for quick ID and outdoor activities.
  • American Medical ID – A variety of styles, which you can personalize with your information, and prices. I wear an American Medical ID daily. Read my complete review of my American Medical ID here.
  • Road ID – Perfect for sports and outdoor activities, and displays a lot of information.
  • My MedicAlert Foundation – A classically designed medical ID that comes with a virtual subscription to a 24/7 Live Emergency Response Team for delivering accurate and clear health information securely to first responders and healthcare professionals during an emergency. This is where I ordered the medical ID that I wear when a lot when traveling.
  • Stay safe on the go with the Road ID mobile medical ID
  • You can also carry important medical information on a written or typed card in your wallet
  • You can order medical IDs from pharmacies
Medical ID Quick Tips
  • Be specific in what you engrave on your medical ID. An ID that says “blood thinner,” “anticoagulant,” “medical condition” or just displays a medical or red cross symbols is not specific enough.
  • Your ID, at a minimum, must say what anticoagulant you are on.
  • Make sure your medical ID looks like a medical ID. The purpose is functionality, not fashion.
  • You can carry multiple ID’s. I have one that I wear (bracelet or necklace), one on my keychain and the mobile app on my phone.
  • More reasons why you should wear a medical ID.

Share your story. Do you wear a medical ID? Are you planning on ordering one? Where is your medical ID from? Has it saved your life in an emergency? Do you think you need one? Why or why not?

There is hope for healing and you are not alone,