While no one likes to think they’re going to be the target of an attack, unfortunately, it must be a daily concern for real estate agents. As a people-centric job, a real estate career often requires agents to be alone with strangers in empty homes or in unfamiliar places — so the need to be constantly vigilant is necessary. It just takes one time. The one time you arrive at a viewing without your phone fully charged or forget to let someone in the office know where you’re going, that could be the one time when your life is put in danger.
While it’s necessary to always have and adhere to a personal safety protocol it never hurts to have a back up in place. A great option is to utilize a Smartphone app or safety device. This technology allows you to connect you with emergency services if you need help, providing an extra layer of safety.
To help you assess what’s best for you, here’s our rundown of the technology real estate agents can use to stay safe.
Situations can unfold rapidly and you may not be able to use your mobile to dial 911. The Nimb is a ring you can use to silently and discreetly alert a pre-selected list of contacts on your phone, as well as first responders. Press a concealed button on the ring for 3 seconds using your thumb and it will send emergency alerts via Bluetooth and also your GPS location and profile details.
The button is recessed and unlikely to go off with normal pressure, which means you don’t run the risk of accidentally sending an alert but even if you do accidentally set it off, you have 30 seconds to cancel the alert using a passcode. There is also a secret passcode that you can use if someone is forcing you to cancel it.
The Nimb ring costs $249 USD to purchase and anywhere from $0 to $20 USD per month for a communication subscription. At present, the Nimb ring only works for First Responders in America and Canada.However, the ring is currently sold out. If interested, sign up Nimb’s email list and you can 10% off the ring.
Working in a similar way to the Nimb ring, the Safelet is a safety bracelet that works when you press two buttons on either side of the device. When pressed, this alert is sent to the police and a set of designated contacts letting them know you’re in an emergency situation. Connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth, the Safelet sends through your location details and triggers an audio recording.
The Safelet looks like jewellery so it won’t stand out as a safety device and comes in a few different styles and colours. Plus, the Safelet works regardless of whether you live in the U.S. or not. All you need is an Internet connection. Prices start at $35 USD and go up to $80 USD for the product.
Apple Watch’s SOS messaging feature can lend you a feeling of security, even if you never have to use it. The feature can be activated by a single-press which notifies your area’s emergency services department and texts your pre-selected emergency contacts with your location. It sends updates as your location changes.
To use the feature simply press the watch’s side button. By default, the watch is set up activate after you swipe right on the emergency SOS toggle, but it can be enabled to activate after a single press. Prices start at $249 CDN and go up and the watch and the SOS feature can be used anywhere.
Bmonitored is a personal safety Smartphone app designed for people who meet with strangers on a regular basis, such as Realtors. Before each meeting you enter data about the person you’re meeting and where you’re meeting them. You select a designated time interval and the app checks in on you. To signal that everything is alright, you have to enter an ‘I’m ok’ pin — a 1 digit number. Once this is entered the system clock resets until the next safety alert interval.
If you fail to put in your ‘I’m ok’ pin it sends messages to your three emergency contacts and opens up a call to 911 with your last GPS coordinates. To get all this you pay a one-time fee of $4.99 USD or you can use the free version of the app (but it won’t send your latest GPS coordinates to emergency personnel).
The BSafe is a free app that is easily accessed from your Smartphone and has a number of features to keep you safe, whether you’re meeting with someone, walking to your car at night or alerting people that you need help. It lets you choose an unlimited amount of people as emergency contacts and one primary contact will receive a text and call if the SOS button is tapped. It even has a timer function that allows you to put down your mobile device and conduct business; if you aren’t back to stop the timer a message is automatically sent to your emergency contacts.
While these apps and devices are all great tools, and handy to have, they’ll only work if you have a fully charged phone and mobile signal. Avoiding a potentially dangerous situation is your first line of defence, so always keep your wits about you and trust your instincts.