Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Emergency Kits for School Kids

When we lived in southern California, each year I was asked to put together an emergency kit for my elementary school kids. The kits were kept in a trash can in the classroom and returned to us at the end of the school year. Since moving to Utah, I have not been asked to do that. After receiving the following letter from one of my readers, I decided to take action.

"I am wondering if you have ever sent emergency supplies to keep at school for children who may be away from home during an emergency?  I feel like I have prepared pretty well at home for an emergency, but it is very possible that my children won't even be home to use their 72-hour kits.  What can I do to help them at school until I can get to them?  I have asked at my children's school about emergency preparedness plans, but they didn't seem to know if they had any plans- which kind of scares me.  Any suggestions?" Melissa, Utah

Well, Melissa, because of your letter I decided to put together a kit for my 1st-grader to keep in her backpack the entire school year. We've also had some interesting conversations about "what could happen." Can you imagine a child not being prepared at least a little? What's the backup plan if Mommy or Daddy can't pick me up right away?

There are enough comfort foods for a day; maybe two. But most schools will try to disburse children as quickly as possible. Glad I have several friends on her emergency card. She is most concerned about her food getting burned up in case of a fire. :) The kit fits easily into the bottom of her backpack. Here is what I put in kit -

Comfort letter with pictures of our family
Mini first aid kit
Copy of family disaster plan and emergency phone numbers
2 Capri Suns
2 Granola bars
2 PopTarts (a rare treat in this house)
2 Fruit Roll-ups
12-hour light stick (Halloween clearance)
Space blanket
Rain poncho

We put everything in a small canvas bag (see above pic) that I found at the local Deseret Industries Thrift Store for a whopping .75¢. After I washed it, she helped draw her name on it with glitter glue. That was important to her. Here are some other container ideas:

Pencil pouch
Pencil box (4KidsPartyz.com)

Useful links:
FEMA Ready Kids
Hickory Elementary School, Torrance, CA
Emergency Comfort Kit for School Age Child YouTube video
Emergency Preparedness for Work and School

"A person's a person no matter how small." Dr. Suess


  1. What a great idea Valerie! I'm going to work on a car kit and now school kits. Thank you for sharing your family preparedness knowledge! I'm going to start a board on Pinterest for Emergency Preparedness with some of your ideas.

  2. I live in UT and I know my kids school has a plan and they have water and food, but I love the idea of my kids having family pics and a letter. Thanks for the tips.

  3. Hi Valerie,

    It looks like a couple of the links are busted. I assume one shoudl go the Emergency Essentials site that has the same name as the link text. The other FEMA page seems to be broken as well. I haven't poked around their site to find the new page though.

    Mike @ UtahPreppers.com

  4. Thank you for looking into my question! I know I'll feel better knowing my children have something to help them in case of an emergency at school.

  5. School kits. Who would have ever thought.

  6. What an amazing idea. I am totally doing this!

  7. Thanks, everyone. I fixed the broken links. Check out those sites because they have great information.

  8. Wonderful idea. I'm tucking this away for when my kids go to school! Love your blog.

  9. Such a great idea! I had never even thought about my kids needing something like this. Thanks so much!

  10. I'm also in Ut and at my Childrens School the PTA sends home a quart size baggie with a note asking parents to fill it with some snacks and a letter and family picture if desired to tide the kids over until parents can reach them. I really like it. The parents just have a big bucket they put the kids kits into. I think it's great that they ask all parents to do it, I'm sure not everyone does, but I wonder if more Schools would be willing to do something similar.

  11. That's great your PTA is on top of things!

  12. What a fabulous idea! Unfortunately, my kid is 17, and he would probably eat everything in the bag before there was an emergency. I'd have to find stuff that he really wouldn't eat unless he had nothing else ... but I am going to pass this on to my niece, who has three little ones under six. Thank you!

  13. The elementary school my children attend (in Utah) has had emergency preparedness buckets in each classroom every year I know of (my oldest is in 5th grade this year). Some supplies are donated by businesses, some have been provided by the PTA, and some are donated. This year they are asking each parent to send a quart bag (to manage size) of personal things for each of their children. I think it's brilliant! Glad ot see what you've done!

  14. Poking through Pinterest and stumbled into this... I LOVE this! My kids went through a lock down once right before dismissal time (apparently we had an FBI felon hiding 2 blocks from the school) the kids were stuck there for 3 hours with nothing but the water fountains and a few teachers had popcorn makers and tried to share. The kids were scared and very hungry when we were able to get them out about dinner time. The situation was resolved but if it had gone on longer they would not have let them out and the kitchen staff was gone and has very little stored at the school and almost none of it is accessible to teachers. I let my kids keep a water bottle in their backpacks and a granola bar now (which they are allowed to eat on Friday after school and its replaced over the weekend) but I like this idea better!
    My question is will they allow the kids to have it if not everyone has a kit? And other than band aids my kids school outlawed anything remotely considered medication, antibiotic ointment, cough drops and medicated chap stick included.

  15. Hi, I also stumbled upon this on Pinterest (while, ironically, being stuck in the middle of the Valentine's Day Blizzard of 2015!). I work at a treatment program for Deaf/Hard of Hearing kids, and some of the kids have food allergies (especially nuts). Many of the food items for most emergency kits contain nuts. Also, like the other post (Munchkin Momma), the school has outlawed for the kids to carry any medication, antibiotic ointment, chap stick, etc. What are your suggestions for other ideas to carry in these kits instead?

    lcg842 (at) comcast (dot) net

    1. I would suggest sending quart sized bags home with the kids, remind parents of allergies in the classroom and ask them to fill the bag with nut free snacks, parents tend to get creative when their kid has allergies, a suggestion for nut free would be a letter of comfort, a family photo, individual cereal packs, goldfish crackers, jerky, and I personally love the crackers with canned chicken salad you can pick up at the dollar store.

      Parents are usually easy to cooperate if they know there are allergies. However, your firstaid.(stored with the kits) should have any medication (epipen or inhalors) needed. For a child's needs.

  16. Out PTA asks for emergency kits from home every year. Each school is a bit different. In our district in the last 10 years we've had kids snowed in at school until midnight once, we've had a district wide bomb threat a few years back. We've even had kids shelter in place for a lockdown. Things happen, if PTA isn't doing this, someone needs to attend a meeting and bring it to their attention. In our schools, PTA provides a backpack for each class, ziplock bags for each student and a letter home asking parents to fill it with a comfort letter, family photo, and snacks. School provides water.

  17. We did something similar for our girls at school. But, theirs are not in one bag. They have a few granola bars, fruit snacks, protein bars, etc. in a pouch in their backpack. They also both have their own first aid kits, as well as a flashlight and a card game. Both always have a sweatshirt that stays in their lockers. Luckily, my two know that if anything happens, they are to hike home ASAP. My parents are also on the kids' speed dial in case of anything and every thing. We had an incident this past Fall with a report of an active shooter. My oldest immediately called me and had me talk to the teacher she was in lockdown with. Then, she called my Dad who grabbed them both from the high school. It turned out to be a misheard conversation, but they knew what to do. I think knowledge is just as important as the individual stuff you carry.
    On another note, I won a Zombie apocalypse kit in a sardine can a couple of years ago and it is amazing. It has enough in it to keep one going for 24-36 hours.


Thanks for your comments and suggestions!