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An example is a freak snow storm that hit Alabama in 2014 pelting the region with unexpected levels of deep snow. The severe weather forced 4,500 students to spend the night in school buildings as roads became extremely dangerous. School staff stayed to care for the children involved and because they were well prepared – the children felt like they were having an extended play date (source: http://ktla.com/2014/01/28/children-trapped-at-schools-and-on-buses-in-rare-atlanta-snow-storm/)
Not only do you want to keep your students safe, but also it is your responsibility to take appropriate measures to protect your students from foreseeable dangers such as natural disasters. Failure to maintain standards of protection opens administrators up to liability if losses or injuries occur because of their failure to act.
Lunch boxes simply will not cover your student’s needs during a widespread emergency. Students and staff should have access to a minimum of three days worth of food. The food bars included in the School Survival Kits are US Coast Guard approved that have a five (5) year shelf life. Canned goods and granola bars just are not manufactured for long term storage. Purchase shelf-stable food that is specifically designed for surviving a disaster to avoid the risk of food spoilage and gain the peace of mind knowing you have those basic food needs prepared.
As a minimum survival recommendation your school should plan to provide a gallon of water per person per day during an emergency. It is important to remember that running water may not be available or become contaminated and unsafe to drink after a disaster. Storing fresh water means you have instant guaranteed access to fresh supplies when you need them. A good backup is to also pack water purification tablets to allow you to sanitize the water supply on hand in case the emergency continues longer than expected, or if you have concerns about the safety of your supply.
Electricity often fails during natural disasters leaving you with no lighting. This can escalate an emergency situation when there may be debris littering the floor, or damage to the building that you cannot see. Younger children may also become afraid in the darkness. Storing flashlights and batteries in your school's emergency preparedness kit is a good start but batteries have limitations such as the fact they might only last a few hours if they are old. Keep other light sources at hand as well like the emergency light sticks that produce a glow for up to 12 hours.
Emergency Sanitation Supplies
Plumbing can be disrupted in an emergency so basic sanitation can quickly become an issue. Preparing your kit with the appropriate supplies will help you provide a safe and clean environment. These kits come complete with a portable bucket toilet with liners, toilet paper, and moist towelettes. The Guardian kit contains a bonus air freshener and hand sanitizer to make the experience more pleasant.
Emergency First Aid Kits
Unfortunately injuries will happen during a crisis so it pays to be prepared. The School Survival kits include first aid supplies to assist with minor injuries and illness. The kits are self contained, portable units so easily mobilized during a disaster.
The Emergency Broadcast System is in place to deliver messages from authorities, national, state or local emergency information like evacuation and sheltering plans as well as warnings for continuing severe weather. You will need a device to access this important information so the kits include a portable, handheld radio.
- It’s a good idea to keep copies of important information inside the kits so you have access to all the information even during a hasty evacuation. These are known as “grab and go” folders that contain emergency contact information, individual health plans, name tags, and other critical information for all students, particularly the youngest ones.
- Take into account any special needs in the classroom. Potentially you can store extra medications and equipment in with your survival supplies.
- Consider entering into a youth preparedness program to give young people confidence during an actual emergency as well as encouraging them to spread the message of preparedness to their families and communities.
- Ensure Teachers or Support staff are practiced in taking portable survival kits along during disaster drills like fires, evacuations or lock downs.