After I graduated college and started working for the Red Cross I realized how dumb some of my college antics had been. I don’t mean pulling an all-nighter or staying in the dining hall just to see how long it took until we got kicked out.
I mean in terms of disaster preparedness. We had no kits, plans, smoke detectors, and certainly no idea what we would do during a disaster. College students have a variety of circumstances that they should prepare for.
For a disaster supply kit you need to factor in your roommates, as well as their pets (even if your not supposed to have them) and anyone who regularly stays at your home. You need food, water, and basic essentials that each person will need for 3 days. click here to see our list.
Unlike most family homes, students frequently live with roommates, and often people you didn’t realize you were living with when you signed your lease (i.e. roommates’ girlfriend, friend, guy on the couch no one knows, etc.). When preparing for any disaster it is important that everyone knows the plan, including the guy on the couch. Everyone should know how to exit and where to go in the event of an emergency. See our disaster plans here.
While you may have your roommate’s mom’s phone number scrawled on a piece of paper he handed you once, you need to discuss with your roommates who to contact in the event of a disaster or an emergency. Ensuring that each roommate has emergency contact info for your family as well as instructions for whom to contact can greatly help reduce panic and worry during a disaster at school, or when you get a panicked call from their family asking “where is he!!!” Don’t forget to get familiar with the types of disasters that can happen where you attend college by being informed and make sure your roomates know this as well.
The most important thing you can do is talk about disaster preparedness with your roommates, while making a plan you might even figure out that no one knows the couch guy and he has just been living in your house for a month! This discussion will help you prepare for a disaster and respond keeping everyone’s safety in mind. Have fun and be safe this school year!