Think Safe, Unique Life-saving Iowa Company, Receives Patent

June 12, 2014
US Patent 8,647,123B1 Issued to Iowa Company and Founders Paula Wickham & Annette Carter

US Patent 8,647,123B1 Issued to Iowa Company and Founders Paula Wickham & Annette Carter

Think Safe, a Cedar Rapids, IA based company and homegrown Iowa business that started from scratch, based upon the idea of an Iowa citizen, received its first patent in early 2014.  The idea formed what is now known as an Emergency Instruction Device (EID), a technology product being marketed all over the US and in other countries. On February 11, 2014, US Patent8,647,123 was issued and assigned to Retrac, Inc. (now doing business as Think Safe Inc. in Cedar Rapids, Iowa) and company founders and inventors.

Emergency Instruction Device (EID)

Emergency Instruction Device (EID)

The EID patent is a major milestone for Think Safe, which was originally founded in 2004 centrally focused on the idea of the EID.  The EID is often called a CPR & First Aid Assistance device, first aid tablet or talking first aid book and is the only dedicated technology device on the market today that offers first aid and CPR instructions to minimally trained or even untrained people during workplace or public rescue situations.  Key details of product functionality include American Heart Association compliance to cognitive feedback device recommendations, as seen here:

The idea behind the EID  product was conceived by Annette Carter, a former flight nurse for St. Luke’s Hospital, to bring resources and knowledge during critical gaps in time between when a trauma occurs and when advanced medical help arrives.  Annette, during her long career of pre-hospital trauma care, saw how such a device could  help make a difference. Today, the Think Safe logo is “Making Minutes Matter” to emphasize the foundation values that remain important to the company going forward.

Dr. Donald Linder with the Emergency Instruction Device outside his hospital in Cedar Rapids, IA.

Dr. Donald Linder with the Emergency Instruction Device outside his hospital in Cedar Rapids, IA

The EID and responder kit systems that can be bundled with the EID provide not only essential and organized medical supplies,  but also audio and text instructions to coach people through emergency situations until help arrives.  Annette’s vision became a reality with the help of several co-inventors listed on the patent: Paula Wickham , Kirk Dighton, and Troy Mundt, who all served various roles in pre-market research or market introduction and sales or distribution of the EID.  The device has been beneficial during many lifesaving situations and testimonials shared by clients, and has had key endorsements in its short lifespan to date (click here for more details). 

The EID or “first aid tablet” can guide people through any major or minor first aid emergency and giving reminders or when to: call 911, check scene safety, use personal protection, provide treatment instructions including information on what not to do,  or what to do after the incident, including key tips on information record keeping or scene cleanup procedures.  Since its’ invention, the EID functionality has been converted to software that can work with any computer or technology device with WiFi access or downloaded software (ResQr) developed by Think Safe.  However, the EID continues to be Think Safe’s signature technology product and the company is proud of the lives it has helped to save as well as the awards we have received that showcase the innovation of the company.

First Voice Systems include an EID and other equipment such as an AED or first aid kit

First Voice Systems include an EID and other equipment such as an AED or first aid kit

The EID is often paired with various specialty first aid or responder kits or an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), depending on risks that exist at the client’s organization or workplace.  Think Safe is an established manufacturer, wholesaler, training services provider, and overall integrator, bringing clients the products and services packages that they need or want to help mitigate risks, decrease panic, and provide confidence during emergency, first aid, or medical illness situations.  The device even allows for users to switch languages mid-instruction for translation of instructions to any other languages also on the EID.  In the United States, the device is sold with English and Spanish as the key default languages.

Think Safe has other patents that are in process and has already filed continuations on the existing patent that protects additional product developments and other unique features of the technology offering.  “You can expect to see more patents issued to Think Safe as the company matures and our product offerings mature and grow in popularity and change based upon customer needs or desires”, states Paula Wickham, Think Safe President.

Think Safe is committed to using technology to develop, manufacture and provide innovative products and solutions which improve training and access to CPR, First Aid, and other essential care during emergency situations, setting new standards for comprehensive emergency readiness and response.  We manufacture innovative products for first aid technology and are a major wholesaler for devices like our First Voice Emergency Instruction Device (EID) and all brands/makes/models of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), including services that make things easier for our dealers and customers.  Think Safe’s products are available under the First Voice product line brand name, ResQr, or RescueMate brand name in various countries today.  Think Safe primarily sells the First Voice product line through established distributors or dealers and continues to selectively add new dealers, based upon geographic area or industry focus of the dealer.

Check out our or websites for more information on the products outlined on this blog post or other products and services developed by Think Safe to include: First Voice AED online web-based program management software and First Voice Compliance Management System Software (SaaS offerings);  First Voice AED program medical oversight services;  First Voice or American Heart Association First aid & CPR training (online Elearning, blended learning, or in-person instruction); and other safety-related products and services.

Think Safe won a SAXCIES award for "Best New Safety Product" for the Emergency Instruction Device (EID) invention

Think Safe won a SAXCIES award for “Best New Safety Product” for the Emergency Instruction Device (EID) invention

For more information on the Think Safe EID, check out the product on our website or fill out the form below!

Starry Elementary receives lifesaving donation of Automated External Defibrillator (AED)

May 1, 2014

Marion, IA- April 29, 2014- The students of Starry Elementary School in Marion, Iowa are celebrating the addition of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) device to their school. This addition was made possible from a donation made by the children of Jean Ross, a former nurse and friend of the Marion Independent School District.

Jean Ross during her nursing years at Marion Independent School District

Jean Ross during her nursing years at Marion Independent School District

Ross attended the event with her husband, George, and children, Patricia (Karl) Knutson, Nancy (Donald) Christensen, and David (Cheryl) Ross. Not able to attend the celebration was another son, Lachlan (Mary) Ross from North Carolina. The AED funding was provided by the family of Ross to celebrate Ross’s dedication and commitment to children. Starry Elementary has placed a special plaque to honor Ross next to the AED storage cabinet. Ross provided a simple yet appropriate statement during the event, “School is about the kids and it is great the Ross family can do something to help these kids [at Starry Elementary].”

AED devices are a critical component in increasing survival rates among sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) victims. SCA is the leading killer in the United States and does not discriminate based on age. An estimated 5,000-7,000 students under the age of 21 die as a result of SCA every year in the United States. Most of these students never had prior symptoms and were unaware of any heart-related medical condition that may have resulted in SCA. SCA annually claims over 300,000 lives alone in the United States; more people every year are killed by SCA than by cancer and strokes combined. The key to fighting SCA is defibrillation (use of an AED) within a very short period of time from the onset of SCA. The statistics show that for every minute that passes there is a 10% decreased chance of survival. AEDs allow for defibrillation during the initial minutes after 9-1-1 EMS has been called, those critical early minutes make all the difference between life and death during SCA events.

Nancy Alderdyce, Head Nurse for Marion Independent School District has been extremely proactive in preparing the schools for SCA emergencies. Each building in the Marion school district is now equipped with an AED device due to the hard work and diligence of Alderdyce, and several other key people. In addition, staff training for the AED devices are handling lifesaving events remains a focal point for Nancy and the school district. These devices are especially important in the Marion Independent School District because they have certain at-risk students that may have more need for an AED due to diagnosed heart conditions. Usually students that die from SCA have not been pre-diagnosed and suddenly collapse and die. The AED also helps to offset the risk of death from a student not being diagnosed in the past with any heart condition.

The device Starry Elementary is receiving is a Heartsine Samaritan 350P AED. This AED is part of a pay-it-forward program called “Forward Hearts Program”, where any person saved or responder who saves an SCA victim with a Heartsine AED gets to donate a Heartsine Samaritan AED to the organization of their choice.

The Heartsine AED was sourced from a well-established industry integrator and wholesaler, Think Safe. Think Safe has been providing life saving equipment and training for over 10 years, all over the world, and is headquartered in the Cedar Rapids metro area. Think Safe Inc. is an innovator in the first aid industry and holds various proprietary patents as a manufacturer of First Voice first aid hardware and software products.


Nancy Alderdyce installing the AED with Jean and George Ross at Starry Elementary

Nancy Alderdyce installing the AED with Jean and George Ross at Starry Elementary

Think Safe has seen the value of implementing AEDs and the lives that can be saved by them. New lifesaving stories can be regularly viewed on their website or Think Safe Blog. Think Safe is dedicated to the fight against SCA and gladly offers AED grants or contributing donations to help offset the costs of lifesaving devices. “Every school, like Starry Elementary, should have or should make plans on how to purchase an AED. It is a rewarding experience when a survivor gets to tell their story and pay-it-forward and is certainly a better outcome than being one of the 300,000 victims. The family of Jean Ross should feel really good about what they have contributed to this school in honor of their mother; this gift will keep giving for decades into the future,” states Think Safe President, Paula Wickham.

Jean Ross, her family, and members of Marion School District staff posing with their new AED

Jean Ross, her family, and members of Marion School District staff posing with their new AED

Another Life Saved, Another AED Donated

January 22, 2014

Newtown, PA – January 6, 2014 –As a result of a recommendation by a responder who saved a man’s life using CPR and an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), the Flamingo Cocktail Bar in Redlands, as well as other nearby businesses, will have access to a HeartSine AED.  The donation is part of HeartSine’s Forward Hearts program that enables a saved person or his/her responder to donate an AED to the organization of their choice.

The AED being donated by Anytime Fitness's Noel Basilides to bar owner Michael Plunkett

The AED being donated by Anytime Fitness’s Noel Basilides to bar owner Michael Plunkett.

Noel Basilides, an assistant manager at Anytime Fitness in Riverside, was able to use his recent CPR training to save the life of a 75-year old man with a heart condition.  The man, who wishes only to be known as Thomas, had just finished his daily four-mile run on the treadmill when Noel noticed that he didn’t look well.  Before Basilides could react, Thomas suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and fell on to the moving treadmill before being tossed to the cement floor.

Says Basilides, “When Thomas collapsed on the treadmill, he hit his head and passed out.  I thought he was unconscious due to his head injury, but realized it was more serious when he didn’t wake up and then stopped breathing.”

Fortunately for the stricken man, Basilides had just attended a mandatory CPR class the previous week, and knew to call for help, perform CPR and use the AED.

“I have to admit that I was really scared to press that shock button, but was very glad I did.  After the shock, we followed the AED prompts to perform more chest compressions and thankfully Thomas started breathing.”

The paramedics arrived a full nine minutes after the call was placed.  Thomas’ doctors told Basilides that he survived due to the quick response to use the AED.  After a short stay in the hospital, Thomas has made a full recovery.

Adds Basilides, “After being able to save a life because the gym had the AED, I can’t talk enough about the importance of having these devices in all businesses.  Frankly I can’t understand why AEDs are not required by law.“

Due to his lifesaving efforts, Basilides was asked by Thomas to choose the recipient of the new HeartSine AED.  He chose the Flamingo Cocktail Bar, a popular local family-run bar in Redlands where he also works as a security guard.

Owner of the business, Michael Plunkett is pleased about the donation.  “After hearing from Noel about his experience with an AED, we are grateful that he selected our business to receive the donated AED.  We intend to provide our staff with CPR training, and will make other businesses near us aware of the AED should they ever need to use it.”

Noel Basilides with the AED that saved a man's life.

Noel Basilides with the AED that saved a man’s life.

HeartSine joins Think Safe, the distributor who sold the AED to Anytime Fitness, to make the Forward Hearts AED donation on behalf of Thomas and Noel.  Think Safe President, Paula Wickham adds, “This is the way things should work.  The Pay It Forward Program allows recognition of a life saving event and enables others to share their story and life saving victory over the disease that is the nation’s leading killer.  Another life may be saved in the future, outside the gym, due to Anytime Fitness doing the right thing for their club members. Our congratulations go out to HeartSine and Anytime Fitness for another valuable life saved!”

For more information on The Pay It Forward Program or how to get an AED grant or AED donation, fill out the form below. 

More Lifesaving Stories… (Giving Thanks)

December 5, 2013

The Think Safe online marketing team just had a meeting and decided that we are long overdue for a recent blog post.  Topic: Being Thankful.

It is a good time to be thankful with Thanksgiving just having past us by and the Christmas holiday upcoming.  Life is precious and in just minutes, can be taken away….or, given back.  Three examples:

Think Safe Client Location – Life Saved:  Riverside CA Anytime Fitness …read all about it at:

Think Safe Client Location – Life Saved:  Plainfield, IN Skyzone Franchise.  A man in his 50’s is successfully saved at trampoline part and PAYS IT FORWARD by donating AED to Indianapolis Children’s Museum

Think Safe Client Location – Successful AED use event:  New Jersey Fitness facility – AED is used to successfully shock man in his 50’s that collapses from sudden cardiac arrest. 


SCA Survivor Sue Young


SCA Survivor Patti Farrell

These are just a few of the successes we have had in recent months.  How prepared are you for these types of emergencies?  As the year comes to a close, the Think Safe marketing team wishes all of our clients and associates a safe and prepared New Year to come! Thank you for your business and for your trust.  

Contact Think Safe at:

4080 1st Avenue NE

Main Office 110

Cedar Rapids, IA 52402


Making Minutes Matter!

Our apologies.

October 5, 2009

On September 24th we had an email leave our offices with news of the Rugged+AED SET System and how it can save you or your organization money, time, and provide a great sense of security.

I made a mistake. To this day I am not sure how it happened, but everyone that received that press release email also saw the other people that received it too.

I fully realize how amateur this mistake was.  I am taking this seriously and would like to say that  it will not happen again. I will not make any excuses for what happened; – I believe it was an honest (yet detrimental) mistake that will not happen again – but I will say that we are doing everything in our power to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

For anyone that saw the email and is upset about it, I am sorry. I, like you, get annoyed by spam email and understand how easy it might be to claim that we spammed you. Frustration is understandable. We have learned and are moving forward stronger than ever to bring you innovative life-saving tools and training in emergency first aid.

Thank you for your understanding and time.


Press Release: First Voice Handling the Elements with Rugged First Aid System

September 25, 2009


Leading the way in multilingual workplace technology-aided first aid response

Hiawatha, Iowa, August 24, 2009 – Think Safe delivers state-of-the art upgraded first aid innovations consistently, while maintaining its track record of meeting and exceeding industry standards. The Rugged+AED Self-contained Emergency Treatment (SET) System is one of those innovations, providing a compact and low cost-of-ownership rugged AED, color-coded first aid supply bags, and the highly endorsed Emergency Instruction Device (EID) all packaged in a rugged, waterproof Pelican case made to handle the toughest situations.

Donald Linder, doctor of emergency medicine at St. Luke’s Hospital – one of the nation’s

Dr. Donald Linder with the Emergency Instruction Device outside his hospital in Cedar Rapids, IA.
Dr. Donald Linder with the Emergency Instruction Device outside his hospital in Cedar Rapids, IA.

Top 100 Heart Hospitals – says that the system is comprehensive and a key first aid tool to supplement CPR and first aid training. “With over 3.8 million disabling workplace injuries and over 250,000 Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) deaths in the US annually, and first aid and CPR skills studies showing only a six-week retention, First Voice provides a quality solution for the retention problem and the failure to have the right supplies immediately accessible.” In a SCA event, studies show that a 4-minute or less time to defibrillation is one of the keys to survival and recovery of the victim.

“Our Rugged+AED SET System adds high value by its tough versatility and easy to find color-coded supplies matching our First Voice EID’s audible and visual coaching prompts,” says CEO/President of Think Safe Paula Wickham. “This system is designed for any rough environment that is subject to the elements, or venue that is expected to comply with OSHA’s general industry and workplace first aid and AED requirements or recommendations.”

First Voice Rugged+AED SET System
First Voice Rugged+AED SET System

The Rugged+AED SET System steps a responder through all major and minor first aid events with clear and calm multi-step instructions utilizing the EID and the coordinating first aid supplies, all housed (including the rugged AED**) in the Pelican case. The system is available from select distributors including CPR and First Aid Training Centers or first aid supplies and safety distributors nationally. More information can be found online.

All protocols within the system are compliant with 2005 approved ECC/American Heart Association and American Red Cross First Aid and CPR protocols. With a recently added new EID “Language” button responders can now hear emergency instructions in Spanish or English, with the capability of 20 or more additional languages available. The contents of the color-coded first aid supply bags allow the Rugged+AED SET System to meet and exceed OSHA and ANSI’s newly updated 2008 first aid compliance standards.

**AED is optional, added to fit specific needs

To learn more about the First Voice SET Systems, visit us online or feel free to call one of our experts today at 888.473.1777 today!

September is National Emergency Preparedness Month

September 10, 2009

How you can prepare for, plan, and be informed during emergency situations

Hiawatha, Iowa, September 10, 2009 – Emergency scenarios can happen at any time, in any place, and it’s crucial that the right tools are on hand so no time is wasted in dealing with a situation. For natural disasters and mass disasters, it is interesting to look at the Top 10 Myths that exist. While organizations such as National Safety Council and focus on providing tools and promoting preparedness it is ultimately up to each individual to plan and be prepared. September marks a month-long focus on the importance of emergency preparedness, headed by FEMA.

“National Preparedness Month 2009 (September 2009) will focus on changing perceptions about emergency preparedness and will help Americans understand what it truly means to be Ready.“*

For medical emergencies, certain emergencies demand a 4-minute or less time to respond appropriately for survival and recovery of the victim. It is important to work with organizations that understand the importance of being ready and offer comprehensive medical emergency training and tools. The American Heart Association’s chain of survival for Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) – the leading killer of Americans each year – is an example of one such organization that is educating and promoting preparedness and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) placements to improve 5% survival rates out-of-hospital from SCA to over 60% due to defibrillation during those first vital minutes after the event.

Dr. Donald Linder, doctor of emergency medicine at St. Luke’s Hospital – one of the nation’s Top 100 Heart Hospitals – says that AEDs are a key tool but is quick to also support adequate training and smart devices such as the American Lifeguard endorsed First Voice Emergency Instruction Device** (EID) for total medical first aid preparedness. “With over 3.8 million disabling workplace injuries in the US annually, and first aid and CPR skills studies showing only a six-week retention, EIDs provides a quality solution for the retention problem.”

“We’re in the business of saving lives. People need to take appropriate measures to be prepared for the unexpected, and our mission is to make sure there are products out there that offer the best assistance in an emergency first aid situation,” states Paula Wickham, CEO of Think Safe – a technology newcomer to the first aid industry that provides not only protocol compliant training products but real-time devices such as the First Voice EID and ResQr iPhone first aid apps.

The recent Macworld review of the ResQr First Aid &  CPR Coach iPhone app by certified American Red Cross CPR/ lifeguard, Lisa Schmeiser, wrote, “iPhone [or iPod Touch] apps provide a handy way to refresh a memory that’s gone blank in the face of an emergency or to provide first-aid knowledge you never thought you’d need… [ResQr First Aid & CPR Coach is an app that] Red Cross card-carriers and rookies alike can appreciate.”

As National Emergency Preparedness Month enters its second week, the goal of every citizen of the United States should be to think about what they are doing to be prepared. Whether it is training, researching and purchasing survival, first aid or other disaster preparedness products the key is to go through the exercise and understand what the risks are and using the resources available through any number of organizations to better protect themselves. The key to preparedness is being prepared.

* **endorsed by the American Lifeguard Association (

About Think Safe Inc

Think Safe Inc is committed to setting new standards for comprehensive emergency readiness and response. Manufacturing products for complete injury management and providing services that improve access to first aid and CPR training, Think Safe Inc products and services are a good fit for corporate and industrial environments, parks and recreational facilities, schools, convention and sport centers, remote or high-risk locations, and a host of other public gathering places. Think Safe Inc offers its patent pending systems in a variety of models, from a dedicated portable unit to software for computers and mobile devices. A selection of lightweight, portable cases and bags is available to meet various space, use, and environmental needs. For details about Think Safe Inc and its products, call Jen Mittan at 319-377-5125 or visit