Before even sitting down inside his San Dimas, Calif., office, Chris Neag can’t stop rattling off facts about the public’s lack of emergency preparedness.
In the wake of superstorm Sandy, the alarm in his voice is pitched several decibels higher than the usual urgency in his voice when the topic turns to preparing for a natural disaster.
“Less than 17% of Americans are prepared for a natural disaster,” he says. “The USGS tells us that within the next 20 years, there is a 99% certainty that California will experience a major 7.1 earthquake or greater.
“These are facts, not predictions. That’s why you and I have to be prepared.”
Oddly, Neag, isn’t a FEMA or disaster preparedness official; he’s a father with a wife and three children, two of whom now drive.
That’s why about a year ago, he began talking to earthquake and emergency management experts about his idea to create a grab-and-go survival kit that contained the absolute essentials to help people ride out a natural disaster until help and greater resources could arrive on the scene.
He also talked to people standing in line at Starbucks, the post office and the grocery check-out to learn if they carried any sort of emergency supplies in their car. “Only about one in 10 said they carried some water or a pair of running shoes, but that was the extent of it,” Neag said.
His random, unscientific survey – and urging from his wife Loretta — convinced him that he should go forward with his idea.
From scores of potential emergency items, Neag pared his list to a critical dozen. They are water, food bars, a self-charging flashlight with an SOS light, a compass, matches in a waterproof case, a candle, thermal blanket, safety whistle, AM/FM radio with two AAA batteries, antiseptic, band-aids and peace of mind.
Although he had winnowed dcown the critical items for his kit, he didn’t want the container to be bulky, unwieldy or unattractive. Rather, he wanted it to be sleek, light, compact and easy to store under your office desk or the seat of your car.
“If a survival kit isn’t convenient and easily accessible –- if it’s not something you can reach in a second — you’re not going to use it,” he noted.
Neag found the perfect solution in a clear plastic, compact tube into which he was able to stuff his dozen indispensable emergency items.
“It took some practice to get everything into the tube, but we did it,” Neag said, adding that the kit should only be opened in a real emergency. Like a rainy-day fund, it’s not to be touched or opened until needed simply because like a genie, once sprung, it would be hard to stuff everything back inside the kit. That’s how tightly compact it is.
Perhaps, the kit’s best quality is the fact that you can see many of the emergency items, from the water pouches and the food bars to the AM/FM radio and the AAA batteries.
“Again, that’s the way we designed it,” Neag said. “You can see everything you need. You won’t have to fumble around looking for stuff when seconds are critical. It’s all right there for you.”
Neag’s hope now is to get his survival kits into the hands of school officials, small businesses, church groups, and other organizations that truly care about the safety of their members or employees.
“I don’t care if you’re a teenager or a trucker with years of experience behind the wheel, you need this product,” Neag said. “In the event, a natural disaster strikes and help can’t you reach you for a two or three days, it’s nice to know you’ve got a survival kit to get you through the crisis.” Indeed, his two teenage drivers now have one.
Neag doesn’t like playing on the fears of people, but he is a realist. Too many times he’s heard stories of people breaking down in the desert or being caught in a blizzard and dying simply because they weren’t carrying a simple survival kit.
Neag thinks he has that kit. It’s no bigger than a liter-sized Pepsi or 7-Up. But it’s contents offer more than mere refreshment, it offers the chance to survive a major disaster.
NEAG (National Emergency Agency Group) survival kits normally retail for $34.95, but now through the holidays, they retail for $24.95.
That’s a price that offers both unbeatable value and peace of mind. For more information, please call (888) 520-NEAG or visit www.911Neag.com.