Guide to Safe Calls

What is a "safe call"?

A safe call is a security blanket to bring attention to a situation after things have gone bad. The premise of a safe call, is to check in with someone that is not present at that same location with you at one or more prearranged times. If you fail to check in or you indicate that you are in distress, the person you are checking in with is supposed to send assistance to you. The objective of the safe call is to deter bad things from happening in the first place, and if bad things do happen they are intended to provide for a speedier rescue effort than being left to chance.

Safe calls are used in many situations and are not unique to the kinky community and they may be known by other names.

  • Health and welfare – weekly phone call to family members.
  • Bad date rescue call – fake emergency phone call to create the opportunity for you to leave a date.
  • Expected company – Having friends/family arrive at a specified time to provide a solid end time.
  • Lunch meeting – co-workings expect you to be back in the office by a certain time.

At the end of the day, a safe call operates on the premise that someone is expecting to hear from you and that they care enough about you to figure out why they didn't hear from you.

 

Why should you use a safe call?

A safe call won't prevent bad thing from happening. The do two positive things for you. First, they discourage many people from doing the bad things in the first place. If someone bails on a date after you tell them you have a safe call, consider yourself lucky. Secondly, if bad things do happen the safecall means help will be coming sooner. Without the safecall, help won't know where to start and won't start until someone misses you enough to get involved.

The safecall is your last rescue line. If there is a possibility that harm may come to you, you should have as many safety systems in place as possible while still being able to function.

Types of safe calls:

  • Periodic Checkins – Call in at set intervals and give a "code" phrase. This is my preferred safe call.
  • Arrive/Depart – This is the most basic of safecalls. There is a call to say that you arrived and the date has started. At the end of the date there is another call to say the date is over and everything is ok. If either call is missed, help is sent.
  • Schedule a visit and leave a note – Make plans to have someone come over after your date and leave a not with the detail of your date, and how to send help.
  • Schedule a visit and keep the date at home – Leaving a note is a better idea. If you're not home when they come over, you might just be an asshole. Or worse, your visitor becomes another victim.
  • Mail a letter to yourself – It may be slow, but it leaves a trail when someone comes looking for you.
  • Send a delayed email/ecard/etc – This is like leaving a letter. But the recipient doesn't physcally need to come over.
  • Bring a spotter –
  • Double date – ideally the other couple(s) are your friends. The downside is your date may feel cornered or attacked.
  • If I don't call by sometime, open this letter –

 

Tips for more reliable use of a safe call?

  • Find someone that you can rely on. Someone that is punctual, and will perform the required action. If your safe call person would say, "I assumed they were having a good time and I didn't want to interrupt it so I was giving them another hour, " that is not the person you want as your safe call.
  • Share your itinerary and details about what you are doing. If they don't know where you are at they cannot send help to you. They also need to know what you are doing so they can inform the help being sent. Typical missing persons reports require that the person be missing for more than a day before anything is done. However, if there is evidence to suspect an abuction with malicious intent action can be taken immediately. You also don't want to have the wrong type of help show up. Having a paramedics show up to a suspected heart attack or drug overdose and they run into a hostile hostage situation is just going to end badly for a lot of people.
  • Be punctual. Don't check in 9:02 if you said you'd check in by 9:00. At that point help should have already been notified and it be enroute to help you.
  • Keep it simple. Keep your code phrases simple, and write them down. I'd suggest only having a code for "Everything is good, no help is needed," and if that code is not given, help is to be sent.
  • Don't use the same code for each call if multiple calls are being used.
  • Tell your "date" you have a safe call set up. Don't disclose your plan, or your check in times, just that you . The exception is if you are going to be unable to checkin while doing something, like going to watch a movie that doesn't end before your check in time. Or you will be in the middle of a scene.
  • Practice your call with your safe call person before you go out. Can you work your codes into the call? Can you make your call for help sound like everything is alright. Does your safe call understand what to do if you call for help of fail to make a call?

 

Are there times to not use a safe call?

I would personally say no. I would say there is no reason that would justify not using a safe call. I may change the rules of the safe call to either be more relaxed, or to provide alternative intervention methods. The pessimist in me says that no matter how much you and others may trust someone, that does not may them trustworthy or safe.