Key information in a Flash drive with Survival on a Stick

The best way survive a natural disaster or tragedy is to prepare now. Waiting for the hurricane, fire or accident to hit could cost you dearly, or even leave you dead.

Everyone has information that, put in the right hands, will keep them alive or help them rebuild if they're wiped out. Those files and bits of knowledge should be gathered, stored securely, and kept within arm's reach. Gene Klein has just the thing to make this possible.

"If I can get people to think about where all this paperwork is, and put it all together, I've won," Klein said from his Huntley, Ill., home.

Instead of having people transcribe everything into a spreadsheet or tote a satchel of documents, Klein and his partners at Enlightenment Inc., created Survival on a Stick (

The universal serial bus Flash memory drive has room to store vital information about an individual, including medical records; current medications; banking, insurance and credit card information; work history; family and emergency contacts; and vehicle and pet records. They're the data someone would need to begin re-establishing a functional life if everything were lost in a catastrophic event. There's room to add photos and other information, too.

The information is encrypted and password-protected. Only the owner of the drive has access to the bulk of the data. A hypertext markup language file -- "EMT-SOS-ICE-Owner" -- is intended for use by emergency medical technicians and contains vital medical and insurance information. It works on any PC, Macintosh or Unix computer, although a PC is required for initial data entry. An Internet connection is not required to use the Survival on a Stick drive, also known as an SOS drive.

"It's all about preparedness," said Enlightenment Chief Technical Officer Rick Clemons, who produced the program used for data collection and encryption. "In the EMT business, they say there is one hour (after a trauma) that will decide if a person is going to live or not.

"A lot of EMTs have the equivalent of a laptop computer. All they need is a browser. There is no software to install," Clemons, of Las Vegas, said about the SOS stick, which is intended to be carried on a key chain.

"If someone said, 'There's a tornado, flood, fire or tank coming down the street,' what's the first thing you'd grab? Your keys," Clemons said.

Klein got the idea for the SOS drive after Hurricane Katrina. The SOS drive costs $34.99 and is available on the site or by calling 877-552-0323.

Enlightenment ( is an American Service Disabled Veteran company. Klein, Clemons and partner and webmaster Eric Wahl are all disabled veterans.

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