Off to College? What’s in your survival kit?
Pretty exciting, isn’t it? New freedom, new friends, new food (!).
And, new dangers.
We can’t deal here with all the social issues on campus. But there are some things you can do to make your life away at school a bit safer and more secure. Take the time to check these out.
1-Be Ready For An Active Shooter on Campus
The news has been full of shooter incidents lately, so perhaps you’ve spent time talking about what YOU would do in that situation. But maybe you haven’t.
People most at risk are – OBLIVIOUS!
- Walking around with their eyes glued to their cell phones.
- Chatting or goofing off with friends and not paying attention to their surroundings.
- Half asleep, waiting for somebody else to tell them what to do.
Time to change those habits!
Here’s a video put out by the University of Alberta that is pretty effective at reminding you what to do in case you hear what sounds like gunfire. The best stuff comes after the 2 minute intro.
Action item: Take 8 minutes right now and watch this video.
And then consider these actions for when you get to campus:
2-Secure Your Dorm Room or Apartment
Let’s assume that any room you are sleeping in has normal locks, and that you use them. However, if you want to be more secure – and particularly if you have been notified of danger on campus – you want to be sure you are extra safe inside.
Depending on the construction of the door, here are three things to consider.
= = > Barricade the door.
Somebody dangerous threatening you? The classic chair under the door handle really DOES work, as long as the angles are right. In an office setting, though, you may not find the stiff chair you’re looking for. So, in an emergency, don’t hesitate to pull a HEAVY piece of furniture (table, copy machine) in front of the door. Add a second heavy piece behind it.
= = > Disable the mechanism.
The working of a typical commercial door hinge may be defeated by use of a belt. Tighten it down to prevent the door from opening, as shown by Bill Stanton, safety expert.
= = > Get a door wedge.
In your bedroom or dorm room, a simple investment in a rubber door stop may be all you’ll need. (This one looks as though it will work on any surface.) Click on the image for details.
Keep intruders from coming in through a balcony with the help of a sliding glass door bar – you can place it in the track of the door, or, if you’ve bought one for that purpose, lock it across the center of the door. Obviously, a determined intruder can break a glass door if he or she has the tool to break it with.
3-Be Prepared For Evacuation or An Extended Lockdown
It’s far more likely that your college stay could be impacted by something less dramatic than an active shooter. But it might be equally serious – like a storm, flood, electrical outage, or even some sort of disease outbreak.
Be ready to respond to a call to shelter in place or to evacuate by having your own survival kit. Figure you need to take care of yourself for at least 72 hours – and remember, you will have no access to electricity, water or food. Or a toilet.
Stuff your kit (use a backpack) and have it handy so you can grab it at a moment’s notice.
What should be in your kit?
Basic Emergency Supply Checklist
- Water – 1 gallon per day. (Tough to fit in a small backpack, admittedly!)
- First Aid Kit with fresh supplies.
- Food – Canned or dried foods that you like and that don’t require cooking.
- Clothing – A set of warm, comfortable clothing. Extra sunglasses, glasses or contact lenses.
- Medicine – At least a two weeks supply of any prescription medicines.
- Sanitation – Garbage bags, including small, compactor-strength bags for waste. Sanitary supplies. Toilet paper, baby wipes, paper towels.
- Flashlights, emergency radio that operates with batteries, solar or by hand crank – NO CANDLES!
- Car – Always ready with half tank of gas.
- Cash – No electricity = no ATM, no credit card.
- Telephone numbers – Write on paper. Your cell phone and computer will run out of battery unless you have a solar charger.
You should be able to collect just about everything on this list right at home, before you leave for school. There’s one possible exception — the emergency radio.
Here’s a link to Amazon that will get you one of the best ones we’ve found. It operates using AA batteries, its own solar panel, or you can crank it for power. You can even charge it from your computer. Click on the image for details. (If you buy through Amazon we may get a small commission. It won’t impact what you pay.)
Best of luck,
Your Emergency Plan Guide Team
P.S. Please share this article with friends. It’s possible they won’t have thought of all these things, either!
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