As a parent of two small children, my SHTF fears have nothing to do with pandemics, roving hordes of marauders or an EMP taking out my iPhone. My biggest SHTF fear is that “something” could happen while my kids are not with me that could put them into harm’s way.
I think a lot of parents in the preparedness community share this same fear. As preppers we diligently prepare for disasters of all sizes by storing supplies, practicing skills and always being aware of our surroundings so that we can be prepared for any potential threats that may come our way…but is a 5, 10 or 15 year old child capable of understanding practical preparedness?
We’re adults. We have the maturity to think long-term and be prepared for disasters. However, when I look at my 4 year old son and his 3 year old sister going off to school every day, I always get uneasy about what “could” potentially happen when they’re away. There are several alternatives for traditional schools, but most of us are not in a position to homeschool or explore alternative schooling.
In today’s post we’re going to discuss why it is OUR responsibility to prepare our kids for school emergencies (not the school’s), how to put together a child’s everyday carry school emergency kit and a few tips that can help you breathe a little easier while your kids are away.
Isn’t the school supposed to be keeping my kids safe?
First and foremost, it’s not the school’s responsibility to keep your kids safe…it’s yours.
Yes, the school has a legal obligation to look after your kids while they are in school, but as any parent will tell you, schools aren’t perfect and no plan is full-proof. Ultimately it is your responsibility to prepare your children to respond to school-place disasters.
Think about all the disaster scenarios that could come up during the school day; Lock-downs, weather emergencies, bus accidents, delays in transportation and even the most terrifying of all, an active shooter inside your child’s school.
Yes, it is the school’s legal obligation to care for your kids, but if you think every school’s emergency plan (if they even have a plan) to handle these situations are full-proof… you’re delusional.
As parents we have to take an active role in our kids school safety, no matter how prepared the school may seem or how redundant our preparations may seem.
Everyday Carry (EDC) School Emergency Kit
I’ve seen a lot of School emergency kits posted in the past. Many of them include knives, paracord, fire-starting implements… basically everything they need to get expelled from school.
Guys and Gals… this isn’t the kids’ version of Man vs. Wild. The chances of your young one ever needing any of these things is next to nothing and the chances that your child will be caught with these items and face disciplinary action is extremely high.
Be smart about what you’re sending with them to school. Always keep in mind Risk vs. Reward.
Before putting together your child’s EDC school emergency kit, take the time to send an email or make a phone call to their school. Explain to them that you are simply a concerned parent who would like their child to be more prepared for emergencies and that you’re putting together an emergency kit that will be in your child’s possession every day, will rarely (if ever) be used and that you just want to make sure there will be no problems.
Include all the items you believe your child should have every day and ask what the official policy is on these items. Many schools have banned any sort of bladed instrument, any sort of medications (even over the counter) and some even believe that your child shouldn’t have a way to contact his or her parents in the case of an emergency and have banned cell phones completely.
Regarding cell phones in school – A lot of schools have banned cell phones altogether. I adamantly oppose this policy. Cell phones are a link to your child when you aren’t there. I won’t publically suggest that anyone break school policies, but cell phones can be turned off and there shouldn’t be any reason for anyone to know your child has a cell phone in their backpack unless it is an emergency.
In a nutshell…when my kids are old enough to have a cell phone, they’re going to have a cell phone, school policy be damned. However this choice is obviously completely up to you.
What to Include In your Child’s EDC School Emergency Kit
- Various sized Band aids (including finger bandages)
- Gauze and tape
- Burn cream
- Children’s pain meds / fever reducer
- Children’s allergy medication
- Disinfectant wipes
- Water bottle
- Trail mix
- Change of clothes
- Cell phone & charger
- Medical information card – Include any known allergies, blood type and any important medical history.
- ID card with parents full contact information as well as contact information for at least 3 other trusted parties
- Photographs of child, parents, and any other parties listed in the ID card
Tips for the prepared parent
- Take time to visit with your school’s principle and discuss all possible emergency contingency plans. If you are unsatisfied with the answers you receive, escalate the situation to the school’s superintendent. Even if you have to involve the media to get this information, you deserve to know the school’s procedures for keeping your child out of harm’s way in an emergency.
- Talk to your children about how to respond to various school emergencies. Drill them on the exits in their class, what to do in the case of a fire or other weather emergencies. Make them as ready as possible to respond responsibly to various threats that they could encounter.
- Teach your children to respect their teachers and administrators, but be sure to teach them that ultimately they need to do whatever it takes to stay safe in a disaster scenario, whether they are following the rules or not.
- Even if you are uncomfortable with your child having a cell phone, be sure that they know how to use one and know all important contact numbers by heart.
- Teach your children to pay very close attention to and listen to law enforcement and first responders. Teach them to use their EDC ID cards to help responders reconnect them to you as soon as possible.
A lot of us weren’t born preppers. At some point, most of us had some sort of “Wake Up” moment that opened our eyes to how fragile the modern world is and we decided that we needed to take a little more responsibility and control over our lives to prepare for all the bumps and roadblocks it has to throw at us.
A lot of us resent the time before our “awakening”, wondering how we could have been so blind to everything around us. Well, the reason is because you probably weren’t taught preparedness from an early age.
This needs to change.
We all need to be teaching our children what to do when things go wrong. We need to teach them to accept responsibility over themselves and to not rely on others to take care of them.
In short… we need to teach them how to survive.
Thanks for visiting everyone…Until next time,