Quick Opinion: Wear a Watch
JUST WEAR A WATCH
It’s really that simple. Just wear a watch.
If you’re still not convinced, read on. Our world is becoming more technologically dependent by the week. The number of tasks we ask our personal devices to tackle pile on continuously. Our phone is great with many time-related tasks, so why wouldn’t we? It’s an alarm, a stopwatch, and can be a clock for every time zone in the world. What it isn’t, however, is good for the situations detailed below.
Disclaimer: This is not the official stance of The Kommando Blog. This is an opinion that represents the author alone.
YOU CAN’T TAKE VITAL SIGNS WITHOUT A WATCH
I’m going to tackle the main objection here: Yes, you can use your phone’s clock or timer. It’s a great option for unprepared or stupid people.
Those of us who’ve trained for medical scenarios have learned that a watch is just simply necessary. Not convenient, not “nice to have,” but purely necessary. Credentialed folk will tell you that vital signs (the common 3 being heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure) are absolutely vital data points. Hence the name “vitals.” In EMT training, if you don’t take vitals, you fail. Full stop.
When working with someone who is having an emergency, such as a heart attack or having suffered a nasty fall, you won’t want to go about adding loose devices to keep track of. I’ve instructed Combat Lifesaver for thousands, and Combat Medic and EMT-B re-certification training for dozens. I’ve seen countless individuals try and whip their phones out to take vital signs. It’s how I’ve seen the most screens cracked by far. It’s also how I’ve seen multiple phones fall into drainage covers or get their case ruined from being stepped on.
Besides, how much do you trust your fine motor skills to work a touch screen when your blood is pumping? If you said, “a lot”, you’re either a grizzled veteran or you don’t train enough. Even the most intuitive apps and menus become obstacles when you are between rescue breaths.
Finally, when you call 911, the dispatcher is trained to help you take vitals. If you have to use the phone to talk to dispatch, you sure as hell won’t also want to use it to watch numbers on a screen.
PHONES DON’T LIKE LIQUID
Sure, some are water-resistant. Some cases even make them waterproof. However, our concern here isn’t submersion, it’s use. When it’s raining or snowing, your phone screen becomes hard to use. That’s due to the moisture that’s on the screen. Even just coming out of the shower and trying to change the song can be difficult with some condensation.
If you’re the sort of dude that likes to carry a tourniquet, then you’re the kind of guy that needs to be prepared to have blood on his hands.
I’ll save the story for the sake of brevity, but I have certainly had to wipe the blood off my phone screen on more than one occasion. It doesn’t like to clean nicely out of your speaker or headphone jack if some gets in there, either. Most importantly is that your screen just doesn’t want to work. Many phone screens work on a temperature and pressure sensing mechanism. Warm blood straight from your friend is going to interfere with that function.
APPEARANCE AND AWARENESS
A watch is a jewelry item as much as it is a tool. You can go super commando and wear something a few hundred dollars with the ability to laser designate tomahawk missiles, or you can buy a $5 mickey mouse watch. In fact, I have several mickey mouse watches. I used to have a bulk around to give out to other ill-prepared medics during training events. It let everyone else know that you were an unprepared dillweed, which was a great side-benefit. Most everyone acquired a new watch within 24 hours if they were able to. A watch can say a lot about you if chosen correctly (or incorrectly).
Profile and awareness can be another benefit. This is a gun blog, and I would be remiss to not bring up the concept of “situational awareness” at least once every 2,500 words. Not staring at your phone for information absolutely aids in this goal. If you need to tell the time, just look down. No need to go pocket diving while you’re on your bicycle commute or on a crowded subway.
Here’s a hypothetical: You’re waiting for a ride in a rough area. There are some less-than-savory characters loitering outside a gas station across the street. You wonder if your friend will be on time, so you want to see what the current hour is. Do you simply glance at your watch, or do you pull out the shiny new iPhone that ran you a few hundred bucks for the world to behold?
If your goal is to avoid being robbed, perhaps that $10 Casio from the local Wal-Mart could aid in your endeavors.
They’re cheap, they’re helpful, and they make you look like you’re a functional person with the ability to keep their shit together. I have a handful, but the ones I showed you were both $20 specials at a mall closeout that I wouldn’t mind too much if they got lost or damaged while wearing daily.
As far as I’m concerned, you’d have a harder time arguing why you shouldn’t wear a watch. Perhaps that can be a task for some other poor sap in a future Quick Opinion. That is if they can find the time.