There are prep schools that prepare students academically to succeed at a university, but how well are students prepared in case their campus becomes part of an emergency scenario – such as an ice storm in New England, a hurricane in the gulf, a tornado in the Midwest, an earthquake on the West Coast, or a volcanic eruption, tsunami, or earthquake in Hawaii?
For LDS students at church-owned campuses, there are great emergency plans in place at each BYU campus, yet it will still be impossible to meet all student and staff needs during a crisis without some personal preparation by each individual.
Benjamin Franklin said: “Diligence is the mother of good luck”. Our individual diligence helps to assure that for ourselves and our students, a little preparation ahead of an emergency will secure the safety and confidence we will need in a bad situation.
First: Expand your 72 Hour Kit to a full-fledged Survival Kit
We should all understand by now that 72 hours is not enough time to provide for our needs in a severe emergency scenario. Help may still be a day or two off, after three days, or we may need to share those limited resources with deserving friends or visitors. Whether you prepare for 72 hours or for the 120 hours that is now recommended by many authorities, the important thing is to prepare, and then to do a little more. All the campus emergency co-coordinators I spoke with agreed that every student should have their own kit. I suggest you design a kit that doubles as an auto kit for those summer and winter drives from campus to home and back again to campus.
Backpack: All great survival kits begin with a great backpack. Make sure the pack is large enough for everything on your list. Your pack should have padded shoulder straps for comfort and should be supported from the waist when it is carried, for optimum support. A pack with several compartments will allow you to separate items and organize your kit enabling you to find things quickly. Purchase a backpack that is a bright color which can easily be found in a cluttered closet or car trunk.
Water: The most important item in your pack is water. Three gallons of water per person is optimum, however it is impossible to carry this amount in a backpack. Purchase mylar water pouches or boxed water with a five year shelf life for inside your pack, and use storage bottles for an additional supply (not the cheap jugs from the supermarket, but something much more durable). Remember that having too much water is better than not enough, even though most of your water supply will be stored separately from your backpack.
Food: The best choices for food are those specially designed for survival. These have a minimum shelf life of three to five years which allows you to forget about them for longer periods of time – MREs, energy bars or carb bars are all good choices. For students, forget granola bars, nuts, trail mix, foil packed tuna, and individual servings of canned fruit. Being realistic, your student will not remember to rotate them, so store things with a longer shelf life, which are much more forgiving when they ignored until they are needed.
Multifunction tool or pocket knife: These provide everything from can openers to knife blades, pliers, saw blades and screw drivers. Must-have tools!
Flashlight and Communications: Store flashlight and batteries separately in your pack on the top or in a front pocket where they can be accessed quickly. Don’t forget glow sticks as well. I love glow sticks because they will provide light all night long without running down the batteries in a flashlight. They are safe in all situations including gas leaks and auto accidents, when a flame or just a spark from a flashlight battery could be dangerous. A crank radio/flashlight provides not only battery free light, but also broadcast information in a power outage.
Mylar survival blankets: These have dozens of uses including warmth, shelter from sun and weather, and have uses as a signaling device. They are compact, inexpensive and light weight.
Whistle: A must if your student should become stranded or buried in rubble, and rescue workers are looking for them.
First Aid Kit: Be sure your first aid kit includes a first aid guide or purchase one separately. The guides are usually less than $2.
Second: Food Storage
Every student should have a two week supply of food on hand. Those who are living outside a dorm should have at least one month. That would be a great graduation gift, a one month supply of food. If done correctly, this would cost about $150.00, and would be well worth the peace of mind for mom and dad, assuming it is not eaten before a real emergency arrives.
A two week supply should include: 10 14oz. cans fruit, 10 14oz. cans vegetables, 6 pounds protein, 6 pounds grains, 1.2 pounds dairy and the equivalent of 128 oz. of 100% juice. All these numbers are based on a balanced diet using the familiar food pyramid.
Food should include those which can be eaten without heating, just in case there is no power. Of course you can send them with directions for making a “stove” out of items around the apartment, but just in case, plan for no way to cook.
We talked about the importance of water… having canned foods in stock provides another “water” source. As you stock your student’s shelves, remind them the water from green beans can be used to cook pasta and the juice from canned peaches can be used to make oatmeal. Naturally, you will want to also leave them with several containers of water.
Protein may include nut butters, tuna, and canned meats. Canned chicken mixed with a little mayo makes a great salad for a sandwich.
Grains may include pasta, rice, oatmeal and muffin mixes. All these need to be cooked, so also add crackers, cold cereal and even pretzels.
Dairy is not as hard as it may sound. Store boxed milk or soy milk, evaporated milk, powdered milk and a big brick of cheese. Cheeses which have been waxed will last on the shelf for years. You may want to add a bottle of chocolate syrup to add to the powdered or evaporated milk if you student does not appreciate these.
Remember, these are emergency supplies and should be replaced as they are used to insure they will have what they need should an emergency arise. If your student is attending one of the BYU campuses, a natural disaster is very possible during their time on campus. Earthquakes can happen in places like Provo and Hawaii. Blizzards with power outages can happen in Provo and Rexburg. Flooding can happen at all three campuses. Hurricanes can and do happen in Hawaii and wildfires frequently come near the Provo campus. Be sure your students have food and water. No campus can supply the needs of 10,000 to 30,000 students for more than a day or two at most under emergency conditions.
Third: Spiritual Preparedness
I loved stepping into a classroom at BYU for the first time and seeing a picture of the Savior. The first time we leave home is a difficult time for all of us. At this stage of life we are all trying to decide what we believe, who we are and how we want to live the rest of our lives. It is a time when we wrestle with doubts, and are busy fending off temptations that would lure us away from true principles.
Along with the popular images from their world, students want symbols of sacred things in their apartments as well – things that inspire. Temple pictures, family photos, framed scriptures and inspirational quotes are all great additions. Subscribe to the Ensign, and make sure their copy of issue finds them at school somehow.
Right now, the spiritual tool I am most excited about is the phone app. So many students have phones that operate on the popular phone platforms, like iPhone, Nokia, Android, Blackberry, and Palm WebOS. The Gospel Library is now available from the Church – in English, or the LDS standard works are now available in 15 languages on 5 platforms at www.LDSstandardworks.com. The foreign language versions are perfect for returned missionaries, those studying a foreign language, or students whose first language is not English. All foreign language purchases also include the English version of the Standard works.
These apps are perfect for students, whose lifestyle includes constant interaction with their handheld device, and who understand the many ways their apps can be used to empower their communication and study.
If your student is in a college religion class or gospel doctrine class – they will never be without their scriptures.
If they are stranded at an airport in a snowstorm at the holidays, like the one in Denver a few years ago, they will never be without their scriptures.
Apps are a great way to interact with the scriptures in an idle moment, or to take your mind away from a pressing issue while you contemplate a spiritual question.
For example if you know your child is having a difficult time making a decision, text them: “D&C 9:8”. They can then go to their copy of the standard works and read: “But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.”
For a trial of faith you could text “Alma 32:27”, and they could read: “But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.”
There are answers to all our questions, and solutions to our problems in the scriptures. Be sure that along with the many clever, useful, and amusing apps on the phone, they have the scriptures with them wherever they go. Most of us would not be caught without our phones these days, and now that means we don’t have to be without the inspiration of scripture, either.
Prepared in all things, both temporal and spiritual
The scriptures teach that as we are faithful in keeping commandments of God we are blessed in both temporal and spiritual ways, and will qualify to live in happiness both here and hereafter (Mosiah 2:41). If our small steps at preparedness create some temporal security for the college student away from home for the first time, or just leave an impression on them that endures until they establish their own homes and families, we are laying the groundwork for important blessings and family traditions that may plant seeds of preparedness in the next generation.
President Thomas S. Monson has said: “Remember the promise of the Lord: ‘If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.’ Fear is a deadly enemy of progress. Preparation is hard work but absolutely essential for our progress.”
Note: I became familiar with Appible LLC and their LDSstandardworks apps through a family member who is a designer for the company. If you know of other apps which provide the same product and service please let me know and I will be happy to make readers aware.
Carolyn is the author of Blog.TotallyReady.com where you can find a more complete list of items which should be included in a Survival Kit. She is available to answer questions and for personal consultations. Contact her at: carolyn@TotallyReady.com