College prep: Send students off with tools for survival
Ada City-County Emergency Management
September signals not only the beginning of school, but also the start of National Preparedness Month. This year’s theme is “You Can Be A Hero.” According to the Ready.gov website, “Police, fire and rescue may not always be able to reach you quickly in an emergency or disaster. The most important step you can take in helping your local responders is being able to take care of yourself and those in your care; the more people who are prepared, the quicker the community will recover.”
Be a hero to the college student in your life, teach him or her to be prepared in the new environment.
Students understand the importance of preparing for an exam. This is great time to expand this principle to all parts of their lives. Before leaving for college, they were part of the family disaster plan. Now that they are on their own, they need their own 72-hour kit and a plan that will integrate with their family’s plan to keep them safe at school.
72-hour emergency kit
Occasionally, students may borrow items out of the pack for everyday use. For this reason, it is important to keep the contents affordable so that anything taken out can be replaced easily.
Integrate preparedness plans
The student should read the plan so that he or she will understand what to expect during an event.
Many colleges have emergency notification systems that contact students through text, email and or voice message for campus-related issues. Make sure your student is registered for this service. Additionally, if there is an emergency notification system in the community, sign the student up for that notification. For any location in Idaho, the emergency notification system managed by the state can be found at: www.isaws.org
If the student is going to a school in a different town or state, he or she can act as an out-of-area contact in the family’s disaster plan and visa-versa. The family also will need to add social media to its communication plan. College students will use this form of communication during an event if it is available, and it may be the easiest way for all to stay in touch.
Whether it is a major event or a power outage, being prepared will help students handle whatever life throws at them. They might even be in a better position to become heroes by helping others.