I listened to the news this morning and learned with sadness of former racing driver Michael Schumacher’s skiing accident. Mr Schumacher sustained a serious head injury and currently lies in a medically induced coma, fighting for his life. Fortunately, prompt medical assistance and evacuation to the hospital saved his life.
The incident put me in mind of a riding accident I had several years ago. The young horse I was riding bolted, and I was left with no alternative but to bail out or risk both of us crashing to the ground. Although I fell correctly, I still broke my arm very badly and walked the half mile back to the stables with my fractured arm in a makeshift sling. I was riding alone at 7am; I saw no-one and my mobile phone was useless as there was no signal in the area where I was riding. I wondered what would have happened to me if I’d broken my back, been knocked unconscious or suffered a serious head injury, like poor Mr Schumacher.
Many of us ride alone, either out hacking or at home in the arena and trust to luck that someone will be on-hand to call the emergency services if we were to need them. In fact, statistics produced by the British Horse Society show that there are way upwards of 200 serious horse-related accidents every year. But now a new safety device can send riders’ vital information direct to emergency responders without the need for a phone call.
The device is called the ‘PAL’ Emergency and comes in the form of a card which can be carried in your pocket or as a pair of stickers you can attach to your riding hat. Both the card and the stickers contain your details and medical history. This information can be transmitted straight to any type of mobile or cell phone via a microchip or bar code, which can actually be read by a Smartphone! You can also load your horse’s details onto the card too if you wish. The technology is remarkably affordable too at around £19.75.
The bar (or QR) code will safely deliver your information even without a mobile phone signal or internet connection; crucial if you are riding alone in a remote location. There are similar items on the market, but all are reliant on someone at the accident scene calling a number on the rider’s sticker, saddle tag or wrist band.
For more information, visit www.emergencypal.com.