Disaster Preparedness for College Students

A disaster can occur when we least expect it and regardless of where we happen to be at the time, home, work, or school. Most universities and colleges encourage students and faculty to develop an emergency plan. Developing an action plan and disaster supply kit is the first step in preparing for the unexpected. Practicing your plan and knowing how to respond can save time and lives.

Here are a few tips for developing your disaster plan:

  • Be aware of the types of emergencies/hazards that can potentially affect your area of residence.
  • Plan a meeting with your family, roommates, and co-workers to discuss disaster preparedness.
  • Discuss what to do in an evacuation: driving routes, meeting places, list of contacts.
  • Determine how you will exit your apartment, dorm, or house in case of an evacuation. Know at least two ways to get out.
  • Plan for several different meeting places. One place should be directly outside of your apartment, dorm, or house. The other should be a site away from your neighborhood in the event you cannot return home. Give your family members and roommates a copy of this information.
  • Choose an out-of-state contact person. It is often easier to call long distance than locally during an emergency situation. As soon as possible, let the designated person know that you are safe. Share this contact person’s information with your family and roommates.
  • Discuss how to “shelter in place.” The type of incident will determine how you should shelter.
  • Discuss and practice how to turn off electricity, water, heating, cooling systems, and gas.
  • Assemble a disaster supply kit for at home, at work, and in your vehicle.
  • Take a course in first aid and CPR.

Emergency Supply Kit for College Students

Let’s face it, your first time away from home can be a frightening experience, and even more so when your parents can’t be there for you in a time of emergency. Therefore, it’s up to you to be prepared before, during, and after a crisis. One way you can be prepared is by putting together an emergency supplies kit. Below is a list of essential items that will add to your safety while away at college.

The Essentials

  • Water ­ – Pack a three-day supply of one gallon per person per day.
  • Water purification tablets.
  • First aid kit ­ It should contain ibuprofen, aspirin, adhesive bandages, antibiotic/ burn ointment, sterile gauze pads, etc.
  • A first aid handbook.
  • Prescription medications.
  • Extra clothing.
  • Food ­ Make sure to choose items with a long shelf life, the ability to eat without preparation, and a good nutritional value.
  • Extra blankets or pillows.
  • Flashlight with extra batteries.
  • Extra pair of contacts or eyeglasses.
  • Fire extinguisher.
  • Out-of-state contact person’s phone number.
  • Extra set of car keys.
  • Cash and change.
  • Waterproof matches and candles.
  • Some form of personal identification.

Safety & Comfort

  • Sturdy shoes.
  • Heavy-duty gloves for clearing glass or debris.
  • Face mask ­- N95 rating.
  • Change of clothing.
  • Knife, razor blades, scissors.
  • Matches in a waterproof container.
  • Tent/tarp.
  • Area map.
  • Cell phone.
  • Address/phone directory for friends and family.
  • Books and playing cards.
  • Communication kits: paper, pens/pencils/markers.

Sanitation Supplies

  • Toilet paper.
  • Antibacterial hand sanitizer.
  • Bar soap/liquid detergent.
  • Paper towels
  • Toothpaste and toothbrushes.
  • Feminine hygiene products.
  • Trash can/large trash bags.
  • Bath towels.

Cooking

  • Plates, cups, bowls.
  • Paper towels.
  • Aluminum foil.
  • Utensils (knife, fork, spoon).
  • If possible, a camping stove and fuel. Remember to never use a camping stove indoors.

Tools & Supplies

  • Adjustable wrench (for shutting off gas).
  • Shovel, broom, saw, axe.
  • Duct tape.
  • Chalk (to mark search areas).
  • Tool kit: screwdrivers, pliers, hammer, crowbar.

Reminders

  • These items can be kept in large plastic storage container.
  • Store water in a separate area to avoid damaging dry items in case of leakage.
  • Also check your Emergency Supplies Kit every six months to ensure that none of your items have expired.

View printer-friendly version: Emergency Supply Kit & List for College Students

To purchase a ready-made, emergency preparedness kit, please visit: www.redcrossstore.org

Please visit the following websites for more information on developing an emergency plan and building a disaster supply kit: http://www.ready.gov/ and http://www.redcross.org/.