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Show HN: Emergency Wallet Cards (hutson.gy)
113 points by wilrnh on Dec 13, 2021 | hide | past | favorite | 47 comments

Eh, I've just written stuff with a pen on a slip of paper and stuffed it in my wallet for the last n decades.

I also do innovative high tech things like tape a piece of paper with my email on it to the back of my kindle. That came in handy when I left it on the airplane, and the airline staff emailed me so I could get it back.

I suppose credit should go to my mom who'd sew a name tag into my clothes before dispatching me off to camp.

The FEMA PDF that the author refers to but does not link to can be found at [1]. Other resources at [2] and [3].

[1] https://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/2021-10/family-com...

[2] https://www.ready.gov/plan

[3] https://www.ready.gov/kids/make-a-plan

Thank you for finding and sharing these links. [1] seems to be an updated version of the PDF. The original inspiration for EWC seems to be gone from ready.gov, but there's a picture of it in my post. If anyone comes across the person/s who designed it, please give them my sincere regards, its genius.

Hey HN, EmergencyWalletCards.com is a website I built with the help of my old friend @oedmarap to help bring Emergency Wallet Cards to everyone by making it super easy for anyone to quickly fill, print and fold a card for their wallet, purse, or anywhere you can slip a credit-card into. Check out the intro blog post, try the app out, and let me know what you think!

This is really cool. I've worked in the Emergency Management space for a decade, and this is a clear win - great idea well executed, so kudos. Even if people never look at them, the process of creating them and thinking through personal disaster responses is hugely valuable (plans are nothing, planning is everything). Well done.

It's scope creep for sure, but I'd love have a version of this for international travel that populates local consulate/embassy offices, visa numbers, airline, hotel numbers, and personal emergency medical info in the local language. I had a coworker that would make international travel wallet cards for folks traveling abroad - it was pretty cool.

I've been surprised how many people don't know the number of their doctor, lawyer, siblings, even partners. So even a minor problem like a dead/broken phone becomes a much bigger problem. While not a real emergency the EWC can help, there's extra fields for whatever.

> I've been surprised how many people don't know the number of their doctor, lawyer, siblings, even partners.

How many people…

a.) Have a personal lawyer?

b.) Need to have said lawyer on speed dial?

c.) Also need to have the lawyer’s phone number memorized in case they don’t have some way to look up the number?

Ive kicked the idea around to start a company that would attack this issue in a few different ways..

get an app or on the site, enter in some info..

an easy to remember 800 number that is answered 24/7..

the person who answers can unlock the info you saved via the app or web site - and call numbers for your X or your Y and even do it three-way / conference call.. and even call your Z or V after you hang up - to notify you've been detained or whatever.

I think people would pay for this, and it would be easy to freemium - as you could pre-roll a local bail bonds ad when called if freemium user..

I have some other ways to make this work even better with some added tech things.

could even have a set of info that is made available to paramedics / hospitals should they find your emergency card in wallet and such.

now I want to build this more, I'm guessing a premium phone number is not cheap these days, so keeping this in the ideas phase.

Re: c). You only get one phone call, right?

A few years ago, I borrowed a combination lock from my wife while I went to the Y to work out in the pool. When I finished my swim, I realized I'd forgotten the combination. I called her from the pool office phone. It took several calls and a couple messages for her to pick up and answer.

I too will often not answer the phone if it's an unfamiliar number, but I do answer if it's the local area code which is not the area code of my wife's and my phone numbers since I figure it's more likely to be something legitimate like a call from a school or a local business where maybe I've forgotten I had placed an order or left dry cleaning and my stuff is now ready. If she had this policy, I would have spent less time waiting to get the combination.

My policy for calls from unknown numbers:

1 call: very likely spam; let it go to voicemail.

2 calls: Someone genuine is trying to reach me; let it go to voicemail. Listen to voicemail as soon as it arrives.

3 calls: emergency, pick up right away.

Exception: PagerDuty calls; pick up on first ring.

My wife is aware of this policy of mine. And I store kids’ school numbers in contacts.

Because no one dials the numbers anymore -- they just select the entry in their contacts list. And the contact's name (and possibly picture) is displayed more prominently than the phone number.

Before speed dial, I used to have everyone's number memorized because it had to be hand dialed.

A couple numbers I don't put in speed dial so I will remember them.

International travel strikes me as the sort of thing where you'd want a paid enterprise subscription instead of an offline JS app, since you'd want numbers kept up-to-date. (Just look at all the airlines integrating entry/exit test/quarantine requirement iframes.)

$dayjob gives us a mobile app from International SOS, although certainly I think there's room to make the app prettier / faster / more tolerant of spotty internet.

Thank you :)

And this is a great idea (please consider adding an issue on GH); I think many will benefit from EWC using them in unfamiliar conditions such as traveling. I wonder what would be a good way to remind users to print an updated EWC before traveling.

I have a few suggestions that might make this more useful for an international audience.

- I suggest that you offer people the option to use long dates; 7th June 1980. When reading in a hurry a little redundancy can be helpful.

- abbreviations like DOB, ZIP, etc., are not necessarily universally understood.

- the address should be a free text multiline field to allow addresses to be written in the customary form in different countries. Not everyone has a house number or postal code.

As all the information is optional it would probably be useful to include a field for things like national ID numbers, social security numbers, etc. The point is that this number give emergency medical facilities a way to quickly access a person's medical records in some countries.

Agreed: this first release was focused on mirroring the original FEMA PDF. I would love to see the card evolve to be much more internationalized.

In fact, one of the reasons I chose to build an app around the PDF, instead of simply using PDF form fields, was to open up the possibility of rich customization. Maybe something like detecting locality preferences of the browser to customize the EWC form might be interesting.

(Also these are great suggestions, please feel free to open GH issues for them!)

> Maybe something like detecting locality preferences of the browser to customize the EWC form might be interesting.

So long as the user can override them. My browser language preference is en-gb but that does not mean that I want to use dd/mm/yyyy date formats. Also someone with a non-English browser preference might nonetheless prefer to use English as the language of the form if they travel outside their home country.

> feel free to open GH issues for them! Curses, now I have to do some work! :-)

I like the idea, and appreciate the privacy statement on page. I might add - your info is not sent to our servers / the cloud - it stay in your computer memory..

I feel many people do not understand what stays in your browser does not equal the cloud.. especially since chromebooks became a thing.

Not sure they pay for sales - but a link to have it sent to a printer at the local office max.. not having a printer easily accessible p it's actually convenient to send-rmail-to-print.. I stop by there after picking up coffee and print a few sheets once in a while.. I guess some people would email it to another person for them to print for them..

> making it super easy for anyone to quickly fill, print and fold a card for their wallet, purse, or anywhere you can slip a credit-card into

This is functionality that could have been done simply by adding form fields to the PDF.

This app allows optional sections which are only included if they're filled out, which wouldn't quite work with just a PDF form

good idea. And a good reminder to prepare for emergencies.

These are old-skool-kool:


Use a "paper" made of flashspun high-density polyethylene fibers for extra credit! :-)

I couldn't find a link anywhere to some sort of 'blank' PDF example, or to a fake filled out example. Double sided printing would be nice. So would formatting the output so you could cut/fold/staple it down into a little book.

Cool idea though. At work (back in the day) we had little laminated pieces of paper crammed with important numbers, a new one every year. Came in quite handy. Having the access to the scarily high res Xerox printer I'd print out a little black book of friends phone numbers to always have around.

Making a laminated card is easy with a clothing iron and cheap lamination sheets.

My emergency wallet card also links to a web site with more details (e.g. recent photo of family)

Consider adding a QR code for that link.

Very nice idea to both save real estate and obfuscate URLs - I might steal it :)

I insist! Keep in mind permanence of the data (static vs dynamic QR codes). A QR code can store about 3kb worth of data (or ~4300 alphanumeric characters).



This is a good idea. Unfortunately it doesn't like my 6-digit postal code.

I've just submitted a PR for this on GitHub, so hopefully the system will be less American soon.

Yes, EWC needs lots of internationalization love. Please please please open lots of issues and PRs!

Doesn't like my 4-digit post code either. Guess this only for American addresses?

I briefly tried to make my own template in Google Drive. In Docs you can set a table's width and minimum height. In Sheets, column width can be set in pixels. Neither seemed great for this purpose.

I think Microsoft Publisher used to be the go-to tool for this type of document. Is there an online alternative that might be usable to make my own? Basically looking for formatting tools that can be used inside a series of rectangles of a constant height and width.

I'd normally go with Inkscape to design that kind of format, but that's just me.

If you don't carry a wallet or other ID (I rarely do myself):

Tape or p-touch your name to the back of your phone (esp handy for people like me who always have to spell it) and somebody else's phone number (the number of someone who can help if something happens to you).

I include my email address too. Then if someone finds my phone, or me prostrate with my phone, they can get in touch with help.

Always good to have a copy of this along:


Excellent idea thank you. I added this to https://github.com/wilrnh/emergencywalletcards.com/issues/1. Even if something like this cannot be included directly on the EWC, maybe a bunch of QR codes linking to stuff like this might be useful on the back.

I like this idea. But personally I wonder if during an emergency would remember I even had this?

I'd pay $5-10 for a nice waterproof info dense card with this sort of info on it.

I would too, but maybe the service with a laminator would do well enough…

Road ID is a good, more expensive option that exists too [1]. It is limited space, but they had (and May still have a URL service or phone where you enter your info online and first responders can get the full picture.


Easy: https://www.amazon.com/Personalized-Wallet-Card-Anniversary-...

Marketing seems to have anniversary gifts in mind, but you can specify any text you want, obviously.

What about <$1 for exactly this printed and laminated at a library or stationery shop?

If that's not fulfilling 'nice', it's a pretty simple job for someone that can laser engrave, I wonder what Shapeways or similar would charge for a credit card sized sheet of something, engraved with the info for example.

Not OP, but it’s cheaper in terms of time to just order it online and have it shipped to your house. One interaction and it shows up, vs going to a library or stationary shop, transferring the data or filling it out there, etc.

I know we’re on a tangent, but this seems to go against most (all?) design decisions that the original author intentionally made. By that, I mean specifically, that the data doesn’t leave the user’s browser, isn’t stored, no tracking, etc. To order something like this online, you’d effectively be sending all of your most sensitive and important information to a 3rd party. Food for thought.

OK, sure. You can do that with standard printing and laminating too though (just not for under a pound/dollar of course) - my point was the process, not the venue.

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