Do you know how to use your Garmin safety features? If not, NOW is a great time to learn.
Yes, you certainly can use your iPhone’s SOS feature that alerts 911, but if your phone is tucked away, it will require more fumbling, and more time to activate. This could be difficult if you’re already in a stressful situation.
Some concerning statistics below underscore the need to stay safe while running, and how important it is to know how to use the Garmin safety features. Plus, if you fall, get hurt, or lost, it’s important that your emergency contacts are aware so they can get you help.
A Runner’s World survey from June, 2019 summarizes the results of 5,000 runners’ responses. It reveals concerning and startling statistics:
- 36% of women runners have been followed while running.
- 84% of women have experienced harassment while running
- 94% of women who were harassed say no one ever stepped in to help them.
- 16% of women felt threatened enough while running that they feared for their life.
This one minute tutorial below will help you set up your Garmin to use these two important features:
* Assistance Alert
* Incident Detection
How Set Up and Use Garmin Safety Features
How the Garmin safety features DIFFER:
If anything should happen when on your run, by MANUALLY activating the assistance feature, it discreetly sends a message with your real-time location to your preloaded chosen contacts (up to three), making it easier for help to find you.
With incident detection, your Garmin AUTOMATICALLY sends a message with your real-time location to your chosen contacts when an incident is detected during an outdoor run.
Garmin uses LiveTrack (their GPS system), and when it identifies unusual pace or movement, as in an abrupt stop, contacts are notified. From my personal experience, I fell during a long run on the FIRST day wearing my Garmin 645 Music, and incident detection was activated.
Incident detection automatically turns ON when you add your emergency contacts to Garmin Connect (and sync to your watch). Note, you can STOP the incident detection/assistance alert once it’s active, but only have limited time to do so, about 15 seconds.
Your phone must be WITH you, and Garmin Connect running for the safety features to work. (Note if your Garmin is tracking your run, your Garmin Connect WILL be on.)
Contacts will be notified via text and email if an incident occurs, or assistance is needed. The information includes your name, LiveTrack link, and a GPS location.
Keep in mind that if your phone loses connectivity, the LiveTrack link will have your last location, and it will update as soon as your phone is connected again.
Related topic: Most Common Runner Safety Mistakes to Avoid
Those you designate as your emergency contacts will receive an email and text initially informing them. From my experience, that communication is somewhat cryptic, so best give them a head’s up that it’s coming.
Loading Emergency Contacts on Garmin Connect:
- Open Garmin Connect on your smartphone
- Press More (iPhone: bottom right corner; Android smartphone: upper left corner)
- Press Contacts
- Press the three dots on the top right corner and then choose contacts from your address book or enter their contact information manually
- Once you have chosen your contacts, press the back arrow in the top left corner
- Go to Safety & Tracking
- Click Incident Detection & Assistance
- Click Add Emergency Contacts
- Your contact list should show up, and you can select up to three emergency contacts
- Be sure to sync your watch when you are finished
Turning on Incident Detection:
Incident detection will automatically turn on when a user adds emergency contacts to Garmin Connect (and those contacts are synced to watch)
Activating Assistance Alert on your run:
Forerunner 645 Music and fēnix 5 Plus Series:
- To activate, hold down the top left button (power button) for several seconds until the watch vibrates three times
- Another option is to hold down the top left button for 2 seconds, scroll through the icons and select the Assistance icon, although this option is a little more cumbersome/time-consuming if you’re in a stressful situation.
vívoactive 3 Music Series:
- Press and hold the device watch face
- Scroll down to Settings and press the screen
- Scroll down to Safety & Tracking and press the screen
- Press Incident Detection
- (This is a fairly long process in an emergency situation, in my opinion.)
Incident Detection and Assistance Alert are available with Vívoactive 3 Music series, Fenix 5 Plus Series, Forerunner 645 Music, Forerunner 45/45S, Forerunner 245/24 Music and Forerunner 945. Here’s link to Garmin’s page on safety set up.
I hope knowing how to use your Garmin safety features will provide you with some assurance and confidence on your next run.