Emergency Medical ID Bands: A USB Drive Can Save Your Life

Dear Reader, this post is available in audio and written formats, so you can listen, download and listen later, or read – whatever works best for you.

I have dragged my feet for years in refusing to get an emergency medical ID bracelet. The older medical alert bracelets were not pretty, they had steel wristbands that I don’t like to wear, and they did not hold enough information, so what was the point?

I have a chronic medical issue and a severe allergy to latex and a standard medication, so this should have been a no-brainer for me to get some kind of emergency id bracelet to wear. I just didn’t want to think there would ever be a time when I couldn’t speak for myself. I held on tight to this belief, despite the fact that I drive alone all over the Eastern seaboard and fly alone nationally and internationally.

In my defense, denial is an extremely comfortable place to hang out.

In researching personal safety issues for this blog, however, I came across an advertisement for a USB Emergency ID wrist band (no longer called bracelets!) and I became interested. Maybe emergency/medical ID bands had evolved?

So I ordered a USB emergency id band (EPICid.com) to see what these are all about. After all, it’s around $30 and could save my life one day, so why not give it a try?

My id band arrived within a day or so of ordering, and it came with limited instructions because it is so easy to use. The packaging told me to just plug the USB drive into a laptop and fill in the forms that popped up on the screen with my medical and contact information. Right.

Note to all the “not technologically gifted” people like me: when putting the USB drive end of the band into your laptop port, the side of the drive with the copper lines needs to be facing up so you can see them for the program to open automatically.

Yes, my kids and my friends can stop laughing now!

I spent close to 10 minutes trying to figure out why this simple program was not automatically opening as advertised on the insert. I finally turned the USB drive over and inserted it right side up into the port. And, like magic, the forms automatically popped opened on my laptop screen. The forms were ready for my personal info, like where do I live, who should be contacted to speak for me if I can’t speak for myself, and information on my medical history, like doctors, prescriptions, allergies to medication, and administrative (insurance) information.

After I figured out my “user error,” and the USB drive was properly inserted into the computer and the forms were there on my screen, it took all of 15 minutes to type my information into the forms and save them. Another 5 minutes to cut the plastic band down to size to fit my wrist and I was good to go.

On the forms provided by the EPIC-id band I purchased there is plenty of room for notes so you can alert emergency providers to other issues of concern to you. I’m thinking that most brands allow room for these notes as well.

In my case, there are two pets in my home that need care if I’m in an accident and hospitalized. In my notes area I added the names and phone numbers of the people who would care for my cat and dog, and my veterinarian’s contact information as well.

The forms are easy to use, and easy to edit over time. The great advantage here is that as your personal information or medical issues change, you can easily update your forms on the USB drive.

I have been wearing my emergency id band when I leave the house and it’s comfortable and I barely notice I’m wearing it. It looks like many of the charity bands so it’s quite unobtrusive to wear. In fact, two people have asked me if it is a fitness band!

The USB emergency id band is waterproof too, so you don’t have to worry about getting it wet, a huge plus for me. Between washing my hands constantly (no, not OCD, but CVID), washing out and refilling the dog and cat’s water bowls 5 times a day, and routinely wrangling my large, wet Rhodesian Ridgeback out of the lake at the dog park, this band is going to get wet and has to hold up.

The emergency id band also serves as a type of portable Advance Medical Directive. The forms let you add a note that you have an Advance Medical Directive in effect, and you can list the names of your health care Agents and their phone numbers, and the doctors and/or hospitals that have your Advance Medical Directive form on file.

If you live alone, travel alone, especially to foreign countries, or have significant medical issues or know someone who does, then I suggest you check into the new USB Emergency id bands for added safety. That should cover just about everyone on the planet – are you getting that I think these are a necessity for everyone?

I think about it this way: EMTs and Emergency Room staff are going to show up to help you if you need them, and wearing a USB emergency id band helps them to help you.




  1. Is there any sort of notification on the USB band itself so that EMT or Emergency Room staff are not just going to view it as jewelry?
    I have an S.O.S. locket from England which I do not wear for fear the information inside would not be looked at. (And due to not wearing it, I have misplaced it.)

    1. Hi Jane, yes, the USB clasp on the band has a big red cross on one side and the international symbol for USB drive on the other side, really can’t be mistaken for jewelry. Hope that helps!

  2. Thanks for your answer. I may try to interest my mother in getting one. She cannot wear metal against her skin (you wrote that it is a plastic band). She has such a long list of allergies that it will be impossible for a family member to remember,

  3. Finally, an article that is clear and concise on this subject. Great article! Thanks.

    1. Hello Harry – thank you for taking a look at the article! I hope it helps http://www.onelifeid.com spread the word about how each of us can help emergency medical workers quickly identify and treat patients in crisis.

  4. The idea of having a USB drive band which stores your medical information is good, but what if there’s no sort of facility available at that particular moment. At that time having a medical id tag in your band or having a medical id card is also a good option which carriers your medical information.

  5. OMG. Do not count on this. The USB dies shortly after purchase. If I had not checked mine regularly and counted on it in an emergency, I would be dead. Get a MY ID instead. I talked to several hospitals and emergency services. THEY WOULD NEVER PUT A USB DRIVE IN THEIR COMPUTER FOR FEAR OF VIRUS. This is a complete waste of money and you cannot depend on it.

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