My oldest stepson is graduating from high school this year and it got me thinking about sending kids off to college and what we, as their parents, could do to help them be as prepared as they can be in a dorm. I thought posting this now was a good idea. That way any of you who are sending your kids off to school or to join the service, have time to put some of this together.
I originally started writing this article for the college student, then realized that it would work for active duty military that are stationed stateside. I didn’t go to college but I did live in a barracks and I’m guessing they’re similar.
First off, there is limited space and even less privacy. If they’re willing to take any preps with them, they’ll need to be fairly innocuous so as to not draw a lot of attention. Rubbermaid has a series of rugged, lockable storage boxes called Rubbermaid ActionPacker. This could be used to store their preps and valuables.
I think setting the goal to get them stocked with a solid 3 day kit should be the goal. For many, that will give them enough to get home, or at least to safety. If they have to hunker down, it should still give them what they need until the campus can bring in aid.
They likely won’t be able to store multiple gallons of water but getting them a water purifier might suffice. A sport type water filter doesn’t have a large capacity but is relatively inexpensive. They would need to find a source of water but that shouldn’t be terribly difficult. It could be done for them and marked on a map they keep with their kit.
Food should be easier than water to store unless it is raided. Since most colleges don’t allow cooking in rooms, things that can be eaten without needing to cook would be ideal. MRE’s last longer and have a built in heating unit. Power bars might not be filling but they have plenty of calories. Hormel has a line of products that just need to be microwaved and can be stored on a shelf or in the Rubbermaid ActionPacker.
Their dorm/barracks will do for shelter, except for the fact it’s a dorm or barracks. As far as providing their energy needs, a decent flashlight and extra batteries should suffice. Security is going to be limited since they’re on campus. You can help them get their mindset right by getting them a copy of The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence. I really think all young women should read this book. If they’re allowed to carry pepper spray, I recommend Cold Steel Inferno Pepper Spray. A Kubaton might be another possibility, again, if it is allowed on campus.
Consider the Rubbermaid ActionPacker their 3 day kit, but there are other kits they can supplement it with. A First Aid Kit is a good idea. If they’re bringing a vehicle, I recommend a car kit. They can also use the trunk for extra storage of things that aren’t subject to the elements. Keeping a documentation package in the trunk, with a map and alternative routes home is a good idea as well.
If you would rather not send cash but want to make sure their needs are met if they get in a bind, you could always send a prepaid cell, calling cards and/or gas card. You could also get them AAA to cover any breakdowns and make sure they can get a tow, jump start or the like.
You might not be there to help them out of a jam, but with some of these things, you can help them help themselves out of one.