DISASTER ADVICE

Travel essentials: The one safety item I always travel with

When you're on the road, the Road iD is a passive safety net — batteries never required. By Jason H. Harper

Contact & medical info that travels on your wirst; shot in Gobi desert, 2018

I’m a traveler. As a journalist who specializes in the outdoors, travel, and automotive worlds, I’m often on a plane to some out-of-bounds location at least twice a month. Places like Mongolia's Gobi desert (where the photo above was taken), or the Arctic Circle, or the Alps.


And while I’m there? I’m usually doing something slightly dangerous, like cycling down iffy mountain descents in Turkey or driving supercars on a racetrack. Hell, I've been thrown off a horse in Mongolia, Morocco, and (twice) in South America!


So I consider packing an art. And part of that art is keeping safe. There’s one safety item that I carry with me on a trip, always. Actually, it's an item I wear: The Road iD safety bracelet.


The 101 on Road iD

The beauty of the Road iD is its simplicity. It's a nylon or silicon band that goes around your wrist. If you get hurt, emergency personnel can access contact, medical, and insurance information from a code on the band. If you're hurt and can't speak, the iD will speak for you. Best of all, the iD is completely passive and never needs a battery or to be recharged. A low-tech solution for an overly complicated world.


Here's how it works. The band has a metallic tag on it, made especially for you. The outward face has your name and a few personal details. In my case that is the name of my wife and her phone number.

The emergency profile has all kinds of information, from family contact information to blood type. There's even a profile photo so they can verify that you are indeed you

The inside of that tag has a PIN number, only accessible if you pull it up and out. (In other words, you have to physically have access to the bracelet to access the PIN.)


First responders can go to the website — https://www.myroadid.com — or call 800-345-6335, and type in the access pin, and will then get access to your Emergency Response Profile.

Days I'm testing a supercar on a racetrack? Good day to wear the ID

The emergency profile has all kinds of information, from family contact information, insurance information, primary and secondary doctors, pertinent medical information and conditions. Blood type is on there. There's even a profile photo so they can verify that you are you.

The killer app here of course (though I hesitate to use the word, “kill” in this context), is that if I am hurt and am not able to speak, a first responder or emergency doctor would be able to easily access all kinds of pertinent information. You could get some of that information from my wallet, one supposes, but that’s only if I have my wallet on me.


It started with biking, but…

When I first started cycling, I didn’t want to carry my wallet with me, so every time I went out I’d extract my license, credit card, and insurance information and put it inside my jersey, just in case. A hassle, and a good way to lose your cards.


And then I came across the Road I ordered two: One for my apartment in NYC (#NYCTestApartment) and which I travel with, and that I leave in our country house (#PoconosTestHouse).

On a trip to remote Mongolia, three separate members of our expedition had to be medically evacuated. (Concussion, scorpion sting, broken leg, in that order.) Any of those injuries could have just as easily happened to me

But then I realized I should wear one when I run, as well. And seeing that I take a long run every time I’m on the road in a foreign country, I began to take my Road iD on trips.


Doing those dangerous things

A large part of my regular job is to drive fast cars fast. Usually on a race track. A race track is a surprisingly safe place, but still. I began to wear it under my fire-resistant race suit when I was actually racing, and then on any day when I was testing a car. Often enough I’m on some lonely road in southern Spain or Portugal with a colleague, and envision what would happen if we went off the road. I don’t want to carry my passport in my pocket. With the Road iD, I don’t have to.


Fashion Sense

I’ll admit to a streak of vanity. The nice thing is the iD that I travel with looks good with most watches, somewhat akin to the thin bangles and bracelets that Italian men in suits sometimes wear. I bought both a colored silicon strap with a watch-style claps, and a black nylon strap with a Velcro closure. I find the second the most comfortable and easy to use.


(Oh, and a quick note on watches: The ones in the pics with the orange band is the Suunto Spartan HR Multisport GPS. I'm obsessed with it, too, as it picks up a GPS signal everywhere I've traveled in the last year and a half. I run, bike, and hike with it, and the GPS function will get you back to your stating point if you get lost. It's a wonderful travel companion.)

There's also a Road iD specifically for pets, which is genius, especially in conjunction with micro-chipping (see more pet advice here). There's another one for kids. If a band isn't your thing, you can buy a tag that fits onto the laces of your shoes or a tag specifically designed for an Apple Watch.


No matter, when I put on a watch while I’m on the road, I put on the iD, too. I had it with me on a 2018 trip to remote Mongolia with the Hong Kong Explorer’s Club, when three separate members of our expedition had to be medically evacuated. (Concussion, scorpion sting, broken leg, in that order.) Any of those injuries could have just as easily happened to be me.


In that case, the Mongolian doctors could have gone online and got all the information they needed, and then reached out to contact my wife. That’s an assurance I really like on the road — whichever road that happens to be.

On a trail run in the Sonoran desert, Arizona; 2019

About us: Preparation Concierge is devoted to emergency planning and disaster preparation. We offer users level 101 information and advice, and a smartly curated list of gear, food, and water solutions. We take a particular interest in urban and suburban areas — these populations are especially fragile and susceptible to disasters, and are often the most unprepared.

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