3 Preparedness Tips for Your College Student
Your baby’s off to college. You’ve prepared, the classes are picked, and you can practically hear Pomp and Circumstance – but what if? Two terrible words that, as a parent, you know too well.
You’re ready for her to go to college. Is she? Especially for an emergency? Time for Preparedness 101. We have three preparedness steps in case your baby accidentally enrolls in the school of hard knocks.
1. Be Informed
Colleges are getting better at developing emergency plans. They’ve often already determined where students should go in case of a severe weather event and which communication channels to use for various emergencies. Make sure you and your child read up on those plans.
2. Establish a communication plan.
Who should your college student call first when there’s an emergency? You, of course. But which number? What if she can’t reach you immediately? Should she call a neighbor or close relative?
Develop your plan together, type it up and make sure she has a printed copy in her emergency kit. Better yet, print it on business-card stationery from the office-supply store and have her keep it in her wallet. Prepare for the conversation with this list of family emergency communication tips.
3. Create an emergency kit.
You can’t cram for emergencies like weather disasters and fires – except when it comes to an emergency kit. Make sure your student has the following essentials in one easy-to-find place:
- Bottled water
- Nonperishable food
- Manual can opener
- Cooking tools and fuel
- Paper plates and plastic utensils
- Toiletries and hygiene items
- First-aid kit and prescribed medicine
- Blankets and pillows
- Battery-operated weather radio
- Backup batteries
- Important documents in a safe, secure location
- Tarps, plastic sheeting and bags
- Extra cellphone battery
Bonus tip 1: The Red Cross suggests keeping many of these items in an easy-to-carry bag that your college student can take with her in case she needs to evacuate the dorms. Read more about the Go Kit or Survival Kit.
Bonus tip 2: When assembling the first-aid portion of the kit, remember things like flu medications and thermometers. We like this packing list from About.com. It even includes instructions so your student knows when to go it alone and when to visit the campus health center. Nothing like too much advice, right?
Bonus Tip 3: Stock up on batteries, flashlights and other power-out kit supplies at Interstate All Battery Center. We can help you start a kit that will give you peace of mind.
Here’s your starter course on emergency preparedness for your college student. What would you add? Tell us in the comments below.