Safety Match


No one wants to risk going without basic necessities during a natural or man-made disaster, but you don’t have to be a “prepper” to be concerned about emergency preparedness.

Prepper is a term used to describe people who believe a major catastrophe will occur and actively prepare for it by stockpiling food, ammunition and other supplies. Though the term is often associated with dark, apocalyptic scenarios and deep-seated distrust of government, the reality is everyone needs to plan for a rainy day—or blizzard, or earthquake, etc.

To fight the perception that preparing for an emergency requires one to wear camouflage and experience an overwhelming sense of panic, the founders of wanted to create emergency kits that were approachable, educational and streamlined. Their target market wasn’t preppers but “alpha families,” a term they coined to describe everyday families concerned with keeping their loved ones safe during an unexpected event.

“Boltwell was created in response to a new class of consumers spawned from several newsworthy natural and man-made disasters in the U.S. and abroad,” says Gwen Ryan, a promotional consultant from New York, New York-based distributor Axis Promotions (UPIC: axispromo) who helped Boltwell launch their safety kits.

Ryan helped Boltwell select more than 15 industry products for its kits, which are sold online to consumers. The items selected include: hand-sanitizer pens, ponchos, body wipes, custom strainers, eyemasks, reflective pet leads, collapsible pet bowls, pet bandannas, permanent markers, chamois, pet waste bags, drawstring bags, utensil kits, lighted dog tags and flexible spotlights.

A stand-out product in the kit was the “This is Not a Maxi Pad,” which surprises consumers when they realize that a maxi pad can be used for wound dressing, cleaning and even kindling.

Research and development for the kits took two years and involved a team that included an emergency professor from the University of Washington, EMTs and general preparedness enthusiasts. launched in 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri, as an online e-commerce retailer shipping internationally, with plans to be in stores soon.

Since its 2014 launch, Boltwell has garnered over 1,800 follows on social media networks, held an average time on website of 4-plus minutes, sold 100 assorted kits and recorded more than 40 press mentions, including Redbook magazine. It also won a 2015 PPAI Pyramid Award.

“It’s a method of preparedness that every individual and family at some point has to think about,” says Ryan. “Businesses born out of need are an entrepreneur’s (and promotional merchandiser’s) dream.”


This PPAI Pyramid Award-winning promotion includes more than 15 industry products ideal for use during an emergency or disaster.


>>Everyday Promotional Items You Can Use In An Emergency

By Kermit Jones, Jr.

Lip balm People get dehydrated in emergencies, which results in chapped lips, but a petroleum-based balm aids in starting a fire, too. Use the balm to saturate lint or any other fine, flammable product before lighting.

Plastic bag Garbage or produce bags—without holes!—are great for storing water. And clear bags can be used as magnifying glasses to start fires. Big bags make good emergency ponchos.

Sharpie These are ideal for leaving messages, etc. My kids know to draw a specific symbol on their hands if they become lost and hold them in the air as they walk around. It makes it easier to find them if we get separated.

Duct tape Build shelters with some tarps and duct tape, or repair a ripped tent. Reseal food and water containers, secure bandages or make a sling.

Basic pocket knife I’m amazed at how many people don’t carry something so basic.

Books/games These distract kids or keep them busy—something very useful at times. Try Rubik’s cube, coloring books or blank pads of paper, which are essential and multi-purpose.

Pre-paid phone Or keep a SIM card on-hand to plug into any phone. Be sure to pre-load phone numbers.

Address book Most people rely on their phone’s contact list—how many people could you call without it?

Kermit Jones, Jr. is a graduate of the Naval Academy, a chaplain and author of four children’s books on emergency preparedness. He is also an instructor at





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