Emergency Preparedness Kit Recommendations Compare Survival Kits

Back to School Emergency Preparedness

does each classroom have an emergency kit

A school emergency doesn’t have to be a terrorist attack. It can be the flu spreading like wildfire through the school, it can be a tornado drill or it can be a bad ice storm that knocks out power. But no matter what kind of emergency strikes your child’s school, they should have an emergency plan.

Does your child’s school have an emergency plan in place? Have you asked? If not, find out if the school has a crisis team. You may be able to volunteer to help establish one if there isn’t one already in place.

A school crisis team should be responsible for teaching staff how to handle various disaster situations including:

  • Natural disasters
  • Severe weather
  • Fires
  • Chemical or hazardous material spills
  • Bus crashes
  • School shootings
  • Bomb threats
  • Medical emergencies
  • Student or staff deaths (suicide, homicide,
  • unintentional, or natural)
  • Acts of terror or war
  • Outbreaks of disease or infections

According to the Department of Education, each event can be handled by breaking it down into the following sequence of crisis management.

1. Mitigation/Prevention addresses what schools and districts can do to reduce or eliminate risk to life and property.

2. Preparedness focuses on the process of planning for the worst-case scenario.

3. Response is devoted to the steps to take during a crisis.

4. Recovery deals with how to restore the learning and teaching environment after a crisis.

While you may not be involved in the actual crisis management planning, it is good to ask about these things for your own peace of mind. Find out how the school will handle various situations and how parents will be notified of disasters. Also make sure each classroom has a disaster kit and each teacher knows how to use it.

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Do You See the Storm Coming?


If you saw a tornado headed toward you, would you ignore it or would you take cover?

If you were told a severe hurricane was going to hit, would you take precautions to protect your family and property, or would you just go about your day?

Sadly, we don’t always get warnings about impending disasters until it is too late. Shouldn’t you prepare now, just in case you don’t get that critical early warning?

Have a kit for you and for any pets you may have. get a first aid kit and be ready. Just in case.

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Why Do You Need Potassium Iodide?

Map of nuclear plants

Do you keep potassium iodide in your emergency kit? If not, you may want to consider it, especially if you live near a nuclear plant. And you may be surprised to know that nearly 3 million Americans live within 10 miles of a nuclear plant. Many of these plants are pretty old, and the older they are, the greater the chance of an accident.

Nuclear Dangers

Some may think it paranoid, but you really should take some extra precautions if you are close to a nuclear plant. Not sure how close you are? Use this handy tool that allows you to put in your zip code and then tells you the distance to the nearest nuclear plant. The results may surprise you.

Even if you are as far as 50 miles away from a nuclear plant, if there is an accident, the water, crops and livestock could be rendered unusable because of radioactive iodine. If you ingest food or even breathe air that has been contaminated with radioactive iodine, which is then absorbed by the thyroid gland, the thyroid is damaged, which could lead to life-long thyroid issues.

If someone exposed to contaminated food or air takes potassium iodide, it gets absorbed by the thyroid instead of the radioactive iodine in contaminated food, thereby protecting the thyroid from damage.

When Should You Take It?

According to the CDC, Emergency Management officials will notify the public if it is necessary to take potassium iodide. You may also be told not to consume certain foods or drinks.

How Much Do You Take?

Adults, including breastfeeding women, should take 130 mg of potassium iodide. Children between 3 and 18 should take 65 mg, and infants that are 1 month old up to 3 years old should take 32 mg. Newborns up to one month old should take 16 mg.


You should find out if you are allergic to iodine or if you have certain skin conditions that are sensitive to iodine. Side effects can include stomach upset, allergic reactions, rashes and inflammation of the salivary glands.

The government only has enough potassium iodide for people within a 10 mile range of a nuclear plant, however, damage can occur as far as 50 miles from a plant.

Because it may be difficult to get potassium iodide in an emergency, it is a good idea to keep some on hand. It is available as a tablet that can be cut to tailor dosing.

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5 Criteria for Perfect Survival Food

survival food bar

Survival food is available is a wide variety of forms. For one person it may simply be stockpiling extra groceries. For another it may be buying cases of freeze dried food. But what happens if you are stranded in your vehicle or get lost hiking? What happens if you are out in your boat and can’t get back in? Those stockpiles of food won’t help you much.

What makes the ideal survival food?

A perfect survival food should meet these 5 criteria:

1. It should provide plenty of calories – The average adult needs around 2000 calories per day, give or take depending on age, gender and activity level. However, according to the U.S. Army Survival Handbook, 600 to 1000 calories per day are enough to survive with a minimal activity level. This level of calories will force your body to use its stores to keep you alive, which may not be a bad thing if you have a little extra around the middle.

2. It should provide maximum nutrition – Even if you have plenty of calories, 2000 calories of candy isn’t going to help you as much as 2000 calories of nutritious food. Your body needs certain nutrients to function properly. Deprive it of what it needs and you could have real problems.

3. It should be compact, easy to carry and ready to eat – If you are going backpacking or boating, you aren’t going to want to carry around cans or pouches of food, water to hydrate it and a way to cook it. You want something you can just throw in your gear bag and have it when you need it.

4. It should have a long shelf life – Ideally, you will want to keep emergency survival food in your car, on your boat or in your backpack. You don’t want to check it every couple of weeks to make sure it hasn’t spoiled.

5. It should taste good – Seriously, if your life depends on it, you may be willing to eat anything you have to in order to survive. But wouldn’t you prefer to have something you actually like?

This may seem like a tall order, but really it isn’t. ER Bars are the perfect survival food because each pouch gives you a 3-day ration of food that gives you enough calories to survive. It is easy to carry anywhere and is good for 5 years, even if stored in extreme temperatures (like in your car), so you don’t have to keep replacing it every few months.

ER Bars are nutrient dense so your body will get what it needs while you ride out the emergency. They actually taste good and it won’t make you thirsty. (Of course, you should also have some emergency water on hand – you can’t live without water.) And they are affordable, so it is easy to get a supply to keep everywhere – car, backpack, home, office, etc.

ER Bars are approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, so you can feel confident with your purchase.

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Your Winter Car Disaster Kit

You probably don’t need anyone to tell you, winter is here. This time of year can be dangerous, so it is a good idea to add a few extra items to your emergency kit.

  • Rock salt or something similar should be kept on hand to melt icy walkways and prevent falls.
  • Keep cat litter or sand in your vehicle to aid with traction if you get stuck.
  • Keep a shovel and ice scraper in your vehicle.
  • Keep extra clothing and blanket in your vehicle.
  • Be sure you add a tow rope, jumper cables and emergency flares to your vehicle roadside kit.

FEMA recommends that you check these things on your car:

  1. Ensure antifreeze levels are sufficient to avoid freezing.
  2. Be sure your battery and ignition system is in top condition and battery terminals should be clean.
  3. Check brakes for wear and fluid levels.
  4. Check your exhaust system for leaks and crimped pipes and repair or replace as necessary.
  5. Replace your fuel and air filters and keep water out of the system by using additives and maintaining a full tank of gas. A full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
  6. Ensure your heater and defroster work properly.
  7. Check to be sure all lights, including hazard lights, are working properly.
  8. Check your vehicle’s oil level and weight. Heavier oils congeal more at low temperatures and do not lubricate as well.
  9. Ensure your thermostat works properly.
  10. Ensure your windshield wiper equipment works properly and maintain proper washer fluid level. Consider using a washer fluid that is also a deicer.
  11. Install good winter tires. Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions. However, some areas require chains or snow tires with studs.

Most of these things may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t think of them until it is too late. Make sure your car is ready for a winter emergency and feel safer this winter. Get a car disaster kit for each vehicle you own.

Remember, if the weather is bad, it is better to stay home than risk a disaster while traveling.

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