Assembling a “Neck Safe”
The primary goals of most peoples’ emergency preparations are to preserve life and health until “normal” is restored. Even if the new normal looks a little different from what we were used to, life eventually settles down, out of crisis and into the behaviors and routines that make up our day-to-day lives. Financial preparations tide us over until we get through the unexpected bills, period of unemployment, etc. Food storage carries us through until income streams are restored, the price of such-and-such comes down out of the stratosphere, etc. Water storage tides us over until the well pump is functioning again, the city water is safe to drink, etc. 72-hour kits provide us with the necessities of life until we can return to or reestablish home. Most of us cannot feasibly prepare to live off our storage indefinitely, but we can ease life’s challenges, losses and transitions with a little foresight and work.
A “neck safe” is also created with that goal in view. The container is a small, waterproof plastic container (the Witz Surf Safe is a good size—2.1”x3.7”x.75”) on a lanyard. It is very lightweight and can be worn around the neck, tucked under your shirt to prevent loss or theft. It contains the following:
- An extra house key
- An extra car key
- $20 cash or more depending on needs and preferences
- Personal identification sheet with name, birthdate, address, essential medical info
- Photocopy of wallet contents
- Copy of emergency contacts and emergency plan (meeting places, evacuation route, destination, etc)
- Current photo (paper copies fine) of each family member
- Any essential medications you take–can be packaged in a small piece of plastic wrap
- USB Flash drive with sufficient capacity to contain:*
- Digitized copies of all important documents (insurance, financial, ownership, tax, school, employment and vital records)
- Digital photos of all items covered by insurance
- Digital copies of family photos and videos
- Digitized copies of irreplaceable family history-journals, letters, etc
- Back-ups of other important computer data
*Documents should be scanned at a minimum of 300dpi to have sufficient data for clear printing. To protect your privacy and prevent theft of sensitive data, use data encryption and password protection.
If you have completed the preparations for the 1-hour evacuation over the last couple of months, your important documents are already collected and easily accessible. If not, refer back to those newsletter articles, buy some banker’s boxes and you’ll kill two birds with one stone this month! The price of scanners has dropped significantly over the last few years. An all-in-one printer/scanner/copier can be purchased at Walmart for under $30 today. If that is outside your budget right now, ask around and find a friend who’s willing to trade a plate of cookies for a couple of hours with her scanner. Once the gathering is done, the scanning goes pretty quickly.
Using just what is in this case you will be able to access you home and car, pay cash for needed items, establish your identity, replace your wallet items, file insurance claims, get suitable medical treatment, post pictures of family members if separated and refill your family photo albums and family history binders. Make sure that you include a current resume and work history on your drive and perhaps even as a hard copy. If you are displaced and need to find work in a new location, this will be priceless!
(I have drawn HEAVILY on the ideas and recommendations of a Hurricane Katrina survivor for the “neck safe”–including using his name for it. Unfortunately, although his website is an absolute wealth of knowledge, his language is very crude and I don’t feel great about linking directly to it. However, wanting to give credit where credit is due, if you would like to visit his site, run a search on “the place with no name Katrina” and it should be your top result.)