If connections such as internet, cell phone and even land line phones are no longer working, how would your student get word to you if he needed to be picked up? Where would he go? Have you had THIS talk with your student? It is important that each of us knows how to survive with out these daily luxuries that we have learned to call necessities. It’s important that you’re preparing your college student for what may come!
We tell ourselves to prepare because we should not count on the government or any institution to take care of our daily needs during an emergency. We know that we need to have some food, water and essential medical first aid ready – yet, we send our young adult children off to college, expecting that the school will provide for their needs in the event of an emergency. How can we expect that this will happen?
In the last couple of years, schools, colleges and universities, have begun to stress having an alternate plan in place for your students in the event of a long term emergency. If the school is recommending that contingency plans be made, then they are aware that supplies could be cut off and the dining hall would not be preparing meals. The schools are recognizing their limitations in the event of a long term bugging in situation.
How Preparing Your College Student Will Help Them
In our family’s case, our child has a car that he takes to college. It’s nothing great – an older family car that he can use for work and errands. He isn’t too far away, but his school is in another state. Luckily for him, between his school and our home, he can pass quite a few relatives’ homes. Google maps won’t be working during many types of emergencies (and neither will the GPS in his phone so we have provided him with an old-fashioned paper map. Having a map (and knowing how to read it) is key in this type of situation. Don’t be surprised if your student has never seen one of these. Apparently, map reading isn’t being taught in all schools anymore. Being able to choose an alternate route if he encounters road closures may be life saving, in some situations.
I am not trying to be the harbinger of doom here. My point is, we spend time taking care of our homesteads but forget to plan for situations when we are not at home. Institutions like colleges can quickly lull us into a false sense of security… until that security is no longer there!
A few months after our youngest flew the coop and left us with an empty nest, we put together a bag for him to keep at school. In the bag we placed some items which would help him find his way to safety if the situation arose. He resisted at first – he didn’t want to be different. We told him, “Just put it in your closet and leave it there. Don’t show it around, use it for other things, etc. Just know where it is. In case of emergency – use it!”
Here’s a list of items we put in the bag. Use your imagination and make a bag that is right for your situation and your college student’s needs and location.
- Money (or something that can be used to barter)
- Map (or atlas) showing alternate routes to a safe location
- Dry, non perishable foods (like cereal bars, protein bars, beef jerky)
- Extra cell phone battery (in case the grid is not down)
- Sturdy shoes – flip flops will not work for long hikes!
- Extra socks
- Tarp – for sleeping on or under in case of bad weather
More Tips for Preparing Your College Student
If your college student has a car on campus, they could keep this bag in the trunk and be ready to leave. Stress the importance of keeping the gas tank half full or more at all times.
Most importantly – DO NOT supply any weapons in the bag. Most schools now have a zero tolerance policy about weapons. Don’t take the chance.
Alcohol should also not be included. It does have some value as a bartering item in our preps but should not be used in this situation.
Helping our children grow into productive adults requires that we teach then about reality and how to avoid being a victim. I hope this will help you have a serious talk with your college student before they head back to classes this fall.