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School desks

Emergencies can be very scary for children, especially when they happen while the child is away from home. At school they have periodic emergency drills, but it can be a whole different thing when the emergency is real. Have you ever wondered what happens to your children if they are at school when an emergency happens? Here’s what I found in the classroom at my local school.

Each classroom has a red backpack hanging by the door that is used as an emergency exit onto the field. This is the backpack that the teacher is supposed to grab on the way out of the classroom with the children, in the event that they need to evacuate – for a fire, earthquake, etc. Inside, there are a number of things:

  1. Red notebook with several papers. They have the names for all the students in the homeroom class. There are a few pages of first aid instructions.
  2. Two signs with the teacher’s name on it – a red one and a green one. Green means “all is good” and red means “we need help”.
  3. Two 23.7 oz packages of water.
  4. One silver thermal blanket labeled as a “Rescue Blanket”. It is 69” x 72” and claims to be “reusable, waterproof, reflective”.
  5. One gallon-sized zippered plastic bag with first aid supplies in it. It includes adhesive bandages of various sizes, a triangle bandage for a sling (35” x 50” x 35”), 25 small paper cups, one pair of blue medical gloves, medical tape, and scissors.
  6. Two rolls of lifesavers, 5 flavors in a pack.

So, what do you think? Here are my thoughts: It’s good there is a listing of the children in homeroom (but if the emergency happens later in the day, there’s no listing of who should be there). It’s good that they have a red/green sign system so that the responders know who needs help. The first aid kit could be useful for small, basic, first aid needs. The lifesavers may be a temporary, very short-term distraction, for the lucky kids who get one (there aren’t enough for everyone to even get one). That isn’t much water for a group of 25 kids (I’m assuming they are preparing for 25 since they included 25 paper cups) – it’s not even an ounce apiece.

Frankly, I wasn’t impressed. Hopefully, there are some school-wide supplies, that could fill in the gaps that this small backpack left. In some schools, the children are to bring a gallon-sized plastic bag from home with their “disaster kit” items in it, and these are stored at the school for the duration of the school year. Parents fill the bag with things their child will eat. Typically, items sent include juice or water, granola bars, fruit snacks or fruit rollups, crackers and cheese, etc. it can be anything that stores well, and caters to the tastes of the child.

There are plenty of things parents can do to help their child be prepared in case of an emergency that happens while they are at school. Take a look at this blog post for some great ideas.

There are many ways we can help our child be prepared for emergencies — an emergency that happens at school is potentially more frightening and needs extra preparation.

If you have a child in school, you should probably be aware of the emergency plans at the school. This school had backpacks that the teacher took out of the classroom with them. Some schools have other things, like the paper list of emergency procedures. I’ll cover that in a future post.

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