When you enter college, you start living an adult life and take responsibility for yourself. And that “responsibility” goes beyond the cooking, bill paying, house chores, and upkeep – it also includes preparing and disaster planning.
Since you are going to live far from your parents, you can’t expect them to come and save you in case of an emergency. You should be ready to deal with disasters and other unpredictable events on your own.
Is it a completely new thing for you? No worries! We’ve got you covered. Here is a complete guide for college students to preparing and disaster planning.
Join the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program (if available)
The first thing you should do is to check whether Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program is available in your area. Visit the FEMA’s CERT page, enter your neighborhood or city, and browse the list of the 20 closest CERTs.
What is the CERT program? It’s a program that educates volunteers like you about disaster preparedness for the hazards that may impact the area you live and study in. If you enter this program, you will learn basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, team organization, light search and rescue, and disaster medical operations.
The best thing about this program is that it will allow you to join the preparedness community and meet like-minded people. These people will help you learn preparing tips and tricks and motivate you to keep developing your skills.
Take a first-aid course on disaster planning
Can you tell the difference between a venous and arterial bleed? Do you know how to put on a tourniquet correctly? If your answers are “no”, we highly encourage you to take a first-aid course. You need to learn the basics of first aid to be able to save your life and life of other people.
This knowledge will be helpful not only in case of disaster but also in case of car incidents, incidents on campus, and other emergencies. Modern life is unpredictable, and you never know how and where you may get injured. So it will be wise of you to learn what you should do in an emergency before the ambulance arrives.
Make a first aid kit
A first aid kit is essential. You should keep one kit in your room, and one kit in your car. Find a place where it can be securely stored and easily reachable. For instance, don’t store your first aid kit in a spare tire storage compartment – it will be difficult for you to access it in an emergency.
- Roller bandage, triangular bandages, gauze roll (roller) bandage, adhesive bandages
- Absorbent compress dressings
- Antibiotic ointment packets
- Antiseptic wipe packets
- Hydrocortisone ointment packets
- Adhesive cloth tape
- Packets of aspirin
- Emergency blanket
- Breathing barrier
- Instant cold compress
- Non-latex gloves
- Sterile gauze pads
- Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
- The First Aid Only 312 Piece First Aid Kit will have you prepared for any potential emergency at home, in the office or on the go.
- Contains 312 pieces of essential first aid supplies for use at home, in the office, or on the go.
- Clear Pockets in the fabric pouch keep the 312 first aid supplies organized and easy to locate.
- This kit is the ideal size, fitting nicely into a backpack, vehicle compartment or desk drawer.
- First Aid Only 312 pcs First Aid Kit will have you prepared for any potential emergency at home, in the office or on the go.
Since the COVID pandemic endgame isn’t here yet, you can also add hand sanitizer and face masks to this list. If you use some medications on a regular basis, for instance, if you are asthmatic and use inhalers, make sure to include this medication in your personalized first aid kit.
Don’t forget to check expiration dates regularly and replace out-of-date items with new ones.
Get ready for a power outage
Storms and hurricanes cause massive power outages. It means if a disaster takes place, you will be unable to charge your phone, call your parents, watch the news on TV, or connect with other people online. You will be kept home alone in the dark. To be prepared for a power outage, you should get equipped with the following items.
A flashlight is an essential tool for surviving power outages. Choose a flashlight that comes with both a wall and car charger, so you can charge it from anywhere. Also, you can opt for a flashlight that comes with spare batteries.
A headlamp is another lighting tool you need in case the power goes out. You can wear it indoors and outdoors to light your way and signal an emergency. Choose water- and drop-resistant headlamp to ensure that it will work in whatever weather conditions.
Many college students don’t understand how radio can help them survive a disaster. But we can assure you that it’s a useful thing and you will greatly benefit from having it.
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Using radio, you can get relevant, locally customized information, such as information about aftershocks. Local authorities utilize FM radio to inform citizens about where they can get food and water and how they get medical or other help.
Using a solar charger, you can charge your phone and potentially more.
Well, it’s highly likely that the mobile phone network will also fail, and you will not be able to use your phone to make calls for a few hours or even a few days. But still, a solar charger will allow you to use your gadgets for entertainment (you can read an eBook, listen to favorite music, etc.) or for a practical purpose (for instance, you may use your phone as an additional flashlight).
Add more items to your “emergency kit”
A first aid kit and flashlights are not the only things you may need in case of a natural or technological disaster. There are some other tools you should add to your “emergency kits”.
A disaster may bring you to a situation where you need to cut the wire or cloth, open a can, or use a screwdriver. To complete these tasks, you need to use lots of different tools or one emergency multi-tool.
- Everything you need: A compact 5-ounce multitool with a combo knife, bit driver, pliers and more; Light enough to use as your everyday carry, strong enough to tackle tough jobs
- 7 tools in 1: Includes a knife, pliers, a large exchangeable bit driver, wire-cutters and a carabiner/bottle opener; Includes an extra bit stored right in the handle
- Our guarantee: We’re proud to stand behind every product that leaves our factory in Portland, Oregon; That’s why we offer our 25-year warranty, so you can be confident your Leatherman lasts a lifetime
- One-hand access: Skeletool only requires one hand to open and use all the tools, even the ones that aren't accessible from the outside; And with a locking blade, you can cut with confidence
- Always on hand: The Skeletool weighs just 5 ounces and is equipped with a removable pocket clip so it's always within reach and ready to work
Don’t have a multi-tool yet? Here is advice for you: opt for an item of higher quality rather than an item with more tools included. You need to buy a reliable multi-tool that will not get easily broken in an emergency situation.
Whistles provide an excellent way for close-distance signaling. The whistle cuts through the noise and alerts people that someone is in danger or distress. Whistles saved lots of lives, so make sure to get one while in college.
Using duct tape, you can fix a broken window in your room or temporarily repair other things you urgently need to use. Just make sure to choose a high-quality duct tape that can stick to rough and uneven indoor and outdoor surfaces, including stone, plaster, wood, brick, and metal.
Have non-perishable food in stock
If a natural or technological disaster takes place, you may get locked in your room for a few days or even a few weeks. To survive, you need to have enough non-perishable food in stock. Here is a list of food items you may want to buy:
- Canned meats
- Canned tuna and salmon
- Canned or dry soups
- Canned stews and chili
- Canned gravy
- Canned vegetables and fruit
- Rice and pasta
- Tea and coffee
- Peanut butter
- Cake and pancake mixes
- Powdered milk
- Condensed milk
- Juice in boxes or cans
- Granola and protein bars
How much food should you have in stock? You should keep a three-day supply (minimum) or seven-day supply (preferably). If you have pets, you should have pet food in stock as well.
Stock up on water
Naturally, you need to stock up not only on non-perishable food but also water. You need to store at least one gallon per day for drinking and cooking—the more water you store, the better.
You can buy bottled water, or you can use clean containers to collect and store your water. Just make sure to follow these simple rules:
- Replace stored non-store-bought water every six months
- Check the expiration date for store-bought water.
- Do not store water containers in direct sunlight and places with a hot temperature (70°F+).
- Sanitize the water container with a solution made of unscented liquid household chlorine bleach and water.
Well, it might be challenging for you to find enough storage space in your room, especially if you live in a dorm. But there is always a spare you can use, even if you live in a tiny place and share it with a roommate. You can keep water bottles under your bed, or any other “vacant spot”.
Preparing and disaster planning will help you to develop skills that you will use throughout your lifetime. New skills will boost your self-confidence, improve your self-efficiency, and help you to survive in whatever dangerous situation.
We hope you will use this article as a guide and become a true prepper. Wish you good luck with study and enjoy disaster-free college life!
About the Author: Jessica Fender is a researcher and academic content creator. Her job is to facilitate student learning – she creates educational content that aligns with search queries “write my research paper” and “hire writer”. When Jessica has free time, she enjoys reading, blogging, and hiking.