Ten Things You Should Never Leave Home Without: #8: Vehicle Escape Tool

ResQMeWhat is it: This is an interesting entry, as for me it is really for a single product – the ResQMe manufactured by NOV8 – a smaller version of their LifeHammer.  And it really has no purpose or utility on a daily basis, outside of the peace of mind it will bring you.

This little device will get you out of a car by doing two things: (1) slicing through your seat belt and (2) breaking a side window so you can get out of the vehicle.  Chances are, you will never ever need to use a ResQMe, but if you do, you’d better have one with you – that works – and that is easily accessible.

From their website: “ResQMeTM attaches to your keychain with a detachable clip. Pull the clip away from the product to reveal the cutter (blade). Hook over seatbelt and pull. To activate the window breaker, simply push the black head against a side window until the concealed spring-loaded spike releases and shatters window.”

It’s pretty easy to use.  I recommend testing the window breaker against a piece of scrap wood (if you don’t have access on a junkyard so you can try it out on real automotive glass) so you understand how it works and the force required to activate the spike.  You should note a pretty noticeable hole in the wood.  Be careful, as it will also put a pretty sizeable dent in your skin if you activate it against yourself or someone else.

Victorinox makes a “Rescue Tool” – that includes a glass breaker and a seat belt cutter, as well as a locking blade and some other nifty features, but it doesn’t include everything I want out of my Swiss Army Knife/multi-tool (see previous entry).  However, I’d love to be able to combine these two items (then you’d only have 9 items to bring with you) – but I have read that the Victorinox Rescue Tool is a sizeable item – not considered a “pocket knife” so may be better suited for a glove box or go bag.  It may be an option for you based on your own requirements for a multi-tool.  I’ll let you know after mine is delivered in a few days.

There are also a couple of models manufactured by Swiss Tech, for more money than the ResQMe, but the consumer reviews I have read about it on Amazon.com makes me want to steer clear of this ResQMe imitator.

And even if the Rescue Tool works out, there is no reason not to get a ResQMe for your keychain as well.  Redundancy is good.  And remembering that for items that you should never leave home without, they should be easily carried.  The ResQMe is keychain sized, and for me that makes it easy to carry and impossible to leave home without.

Utility on a Daily Basis: Not really.  Carried on a keychain, it can serve as the keychain itself.  But other than that, it doesn’t serve much purpose unless you find yourself needing to cut a lot of straps.  For the purpose it may serve you after an accident, however, I believe it is worth carrying with you at all times.

My Keys

My Keys with ResQMe (upper left)

Personal Report – Is Mark Living Prepared? Yes.  I carry a ResQMe as a part of my keychain.  You will note it in blue in my posting about keys.  It is always with me.

Criticality after a disaster: Most of the people who are fanatical about this product – including the manufacturers – are worried about being in a car that falls off a bridge or otherwise into the ocean or a river, or is caught in a flash flood.  And sure, it works for that and there are some cool videos on the ResQMe website with rescue workers using this tool to break windows on a submerged schoolbus.  That certainly pulls all the right heartstrings.  But for me, I think it just as likely to be needed in the event of a more conventional vehicular accident, where damage to the vehicle prevents you from unfastening your seatbelt and with the risk of fire – FIRE – making you want to make a quick exit from the vehicle.

As you will note from the video – after breaking the window, you will likely need to remove the broken glass, which if you don’t have anything to protect your hands, might lead to some cuts, but if you need to get out of the car quickly, that’s a small price to pay.

The LifeHammer serves the same purpose as the ResQMe – it has a seatbelt cutter and a hammer designed to break automotive side window glass.  (Windshields are coated with a coating that prevents them from shattering – thus never try to get out of a car that way – use the side or rear windows.  This is where the Victorinox Rescue Tool – with its glass saw – may have a place).  But a LifeHammer is too large to carry around with you everywhere.  Keep one in the glove box or other easily accessible storage compartment reachable from the driver’s seat.

Again, redundancy is a very good thing, especially in an emergency.  You may be travelling in someone else’s car, a taxi, or may be unable to open the glove box.  So having a ResQMe on your keychain improves the chances that you’ll have this lifesaving device when you need it.  The ResQMe comes in two- and three-packs and costs under $10 each.  Pick up a bunch and give them to everyone in your family and others that you care about.  They make great gifts.

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The Living Prepared Scorecard:  Vehicle Escape Tool

  • Easily Carried: YES
  • Not too heavy: YES
  • Practical Purpose on a Daily basis: Not Really
  • Critical Purpose when Disaster Strikes: YES

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So, carry a ResQMe Vehicle Escape Tool with you. If you do, you will be Living Prepared.

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