Urban Personal Protection Equipment - Apps, Clothing and Accessories
Safe in the City with Advanced Urban Personal Protection!
I don't mean to scare you (well, maybe a bit), but the city is a dangerous place to live. Its also a dangerous place to work. In many ways, its an even more dangerous place to visit if you are a stranger and don't know the area you are in.
From traffic and pollution to violent street thugs, urban citizens face a wide range of threats to their health, well-being and even to their life on a regular basis. Fortunately there is plenty of technology out there which will help to protect you as well!
This hub is dedicated to anything that is:
- High-tech and 'state of the art'
- Offers advanced protection useful for urban citizens
- Is practical to use on a daily basis without making you look like a paranoid freak in a suit of armour.
I've picked out a few of the very best pieces of what I call 'Urban Personal Protective Equipment' or UPPE - my take on the Personal Protective Equipment or PPE which is compulsory in hazardous work places.
Be Safe! Urban Risk-O-Meter
If you are the kind of person who is conscious of personal security, and you are very knowledgeable indeed, then perhaps you may know that there are as many as 70 known criminal gangs operating in Paris, an even scarier 120 operating in London, and a massive 200 known criminal gangs currently operating in America's New York City. But what you will almost certainly not know (unless you are a police officer) is the full list of the exact locations, down to street level, where they are known to operate. But you could...
The Be Safe! app for iPhones covers more than 230 of the world's major metropolises and features danger maps, updated in real time, to show you hotspots for various kinds of criminal activity. It will tell you where pickpocketing.gangs operate, the areas where women should not walk alone, and the common haunts of violent street gangs.
It also comes with a funky little 'Risk-O-Meter', which tracks your current location by GPS and displays the relevant risk by assigning it one of six different risk levels, from 'minimum' to 'extreme'.
There is a free version available, which is nice, or you can get the full paid app which includes the full range of locations and street level reporting for a very reasonable $0.99.
While falling victim to a gang of pickpockets is undoubtedly a distressing event, it is fortunately not the kind of thing that happens everyday. Air pollution, however, is a serious threat to your health which city dwellers do face everyday.
Air pollution can cause, contribute to the causation of, or aggravate a wide range of health conditions from minor allergies to serious lung and cardiac conditions up to and including fatal cancer or heart disease. This has become a really serious issue in many Asian cities, where the use of pollution masks for personal protection has become common practice, but even in western countries where tighter environmental controls on industry have improved air quality, pollution is still a killer. This is doubly the case if you go running, or even worse if you cycle in heavy traffic.
Pollution masks protect you by filtering out particles from the air you breathe, and if you are willing to spend a little extra on a high quality mask with proper airflow technology they are surprisingly comfortable to wear (or at least not as uncomfortable as you might think).
A Respro Pollution Mask
Personal Security Alarm Apps
Personal security alarms have evolved. Just making a loud noise is no longer enough. Today's personal security alarms are downloaded to your phone as an app.
With a couple of taps to the screen you can stream audio and video of exactly what is happening to friends and family, or in an alert sent to a private security firm or to police. You can record audio secretly from your pocket. Satellite tracking technology will pinpoint your exact position and sent the coordinates along with your alert, and will continue tracking your location until you tell it to stop.
You can even set up a 'virtual escort' which will alert your chosen 'responders' if you do not reach a certain location by a set time. This is designed for people to use if they are taking a journey which makes them feel unsafe (such as through a hotspot you've been alerted to by Be Safe!), so that if anything happens an alarm will be sent out without the 'escorted' person having to do a thing to trigger it.
Emergensee Personal Security Alarm App
Impact Resistant Photochromatic Sunglasses
Ultraviolet radiation can cause serious damage to your eyesight, with prolonged exposure significantly increasing the chances of developing eye problems which could lead to blindness. Of course you can just wear regular UV protection sunglasses to prevent this, but I for one don't want to be wearing sunglasses all the time. Some days there may only be a short period when I need them, and even on sunny days you may be going in and out of vehicles and buildings. Also the sun may be going behind the clouds from time to time. Having sunglasses on all of the time can block out too much light when you don't want them too.
Photochromatic glasses are the perfect solution. When you are in bright conditions they will darken, but in darker condition they will be completely clear - and all of the time they will be blocking harmful UV radiation, which can cause damage even when it doesn't feel bright. A good pair of performance glasses will also be impact resistant, giving you an extra level of protection.
You don't need to walk around in a hard hat looking like you are on a construction site to get advanced head protection capable of shielding the most important organ in your body from most impacts!
A bump cap is a regular baseball cap with a hard plastic insert which offers excellent protection against bumps, knocks and falling objects.
Is The Music Too Loud?
Prolonged exposure to loud noise can be a serious health hazard. Noise levels over around 85 decibels can cause tinnitus or deafness. Tinnitus (a constant ringing in your ears) may not sound too scary - but it drives people crazy and has been the cause of a number of suicides.
But how do you know if the music in the bar you are drinking, for example, is causing you serious harm? Its easy - get an app to measure it of course! There are loads of sound meters available as apps, so just head over to your usual app store and search for 'decibel' or 'sound meter'.
Foot protection doesn't have to mean bulky and ugly looking work boots!
You can buy safety sneakers which look just like any other pair of fashion footwear, but which come with the added protection of steel toecaps, steel mesh or Kevlar soles and other features that will make your feet almost invincible!
With these babies on you can stand on nails and drop heavy objects on your feet without even feeling it.
The Bulletproof Hoodie and Beyond
If you want the ultimate in urban protection, then you will want to be bulletproof. There is a wide range of 'covert' bullet proof or stab and slash proof clothing out there, which looks like regular clothing but offers amazing levels of protection. The jacket in the picture to the right, for example, uses Aramid fibre to offer ballistic protection from anything up to a .44 handgun.
The same company also offers a nice range of slash and stab proof t-shirts.