Studious and Self-Sufficient
Autumn fast approaches with thousands of post-secondary students moving from home to their dorms, sometimes facing true independence for the first time away from family. With great freedom comes great responsibility. As a post-secondary student, you are responsible for keeping yourself alive whilst gaining new experiences, knowledge, and understanding of yourself. Transitioning to post-secondary is accompanied by many challenges – not limited to simple things like homesickness and time management – and can include emergencies. Different geographic regions of Canada have different natural disasters common to them, but even simple power outages can really throw off your day.
In post-secondary, you are now responsible for your own safety, suddenly self-sufficient. This isn’t limited to safety in your social life either. Many colleges will not practice emergency drills, so you need to know what to do. Explore your campus, know your routes, and be aware of multiple exits in case of evacuation. Make sure these routes include staircases! (You’ll want to stay out of elevators in case the electrical is effected.) The phrase “take care of yourself” no longer just means dressing for the weather or drinking enough water. (Drink some water now for good measure!) In the case of a major emergency, you should be prepared to be self-sufficient for 72 hours- even if you live in residence. It may sound extreme, but if you’re ready, you’ll be able to respond confidently and safely during a situation.
Campus Emergency Plans
Post-secondary campuses all have specific emergency plans including Crisis Management, Emergency Response Plans, and Seismic Resilience plans. These can usually be found on your school’s website under the services tab. It is an excellent idea to become familiar with their policies. Some institutions even have their own apps with easy access to emergency phone numbers, student wellness services, and bulletins for the latest updates and communications – for example Camosun and NSCAD, but search for your own post-secondary school. Consider also following the social media channels of your institution and the campus police for any news and events – McGill has a Twitter feed for their campus security, as does UVic. For those living on campus, it is important to get the contact of your RA/CA (Resident or Community Assistant), not only for emergency purposes but also for any questions which may come up – they are there to help and provide liaison and guidance as needed.
Some post-secondary institutions also offer free training opportunities for interested students ranging from basic emergency preparedness to CPR and NARCAN training- skills that would benefit anyone to have. These courses may be held in person, or online- Simon Fraser University offers NARCAN training online here where you can take this training at your own convenience before picking up Naloxone kits in person! Take advantage of acquiring any free knowledge you can get access to – attend lectures, seminars, and courses. You never know when you’ll use it. Some of these courses you may never want to have to use the knowledge from, but if it’s needed at all you’ll be grateful to have been able to help. Plus, free courses can save you hundreds of dollars, and look great on a resume!
As a basic life rule, you should have a emergency kit. You can buy one, put one together from scratch, or supplement a base kit.
What should an emergency kit contain?
- First aid kit
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Signal whistle
- Emergency blanket
- Emergency rain poncho
- N95 mask
- Pocket-sized pack of tissues
- Food that won’t spoil—enough for 72 hours
- Four liters of water per person per day
- Battery-powered or wind-up radio
- Cash and coins for vending machines
- Contact information for friends and family (in case your mobile device runs out of power)
Plus, include special items, such as:
- Prescription medications
- Glasses or contact lenses
- Equipment for students with disabilities
- Print outs of important documents (passports, birth certificate, etcetera)
“What post-secondary student has time to put together a kit?” you may ask! We can’t write your exams for you – but emergency kits are one area where we can make life easier.
Small budget? No Problem!
We offer a few different kits which either work well as stand-alone models or as bases to build on. The 72 Hour Individual Essentials Kit is quite budget friendly – around $30 (plus shipping and taxes) leaving you more budget for the absurd cost of textbooks! Dorm rooms are notoriously small, so the compact size of this kit is a huge bonus. It contains enough food for one person for three days. It’s also small enough that you can fit it into your backpack and carry it every day.
If you have a larger budget, The Legion Survival Kit comes in at just around $100. The Legion kit
uses our Individual Essentials Kit as a base and adds a LifeStraw Personal Water Filter, Kaito crank flashlight/radio, handwarmers, and a Mini First Aid Kit. Instead of adding additional water pouches to meet 72-hour requirements, this kit features the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter. The LifeStraw Personal Filter weighs less than 1 pound and can filter out bacteria and protozoa from fresh water sources. It will filter up to 4000 liters of water and takes about as much effort as drinking a thick milkshake. It’s even great for hiking excursions!
We’ve got your back(pack) too!
If you wanted something in a backpack for your dorm kit, or to use as your everyday campus backpack (if you don’t have to constantly carry your textbooks for your classes) – we also offer the 72 Hour Backpack Survival Kit. It’s similar in price to, but weighs a fair bit more than the Legion Survival Kit. However, it’s a more encompassing kit, even including a hygiene and sanitation kit, and a deck of cards and an extra pencil. (Trust me, carry an extra pencil and some paper around campus anyways – it can be real lifesaver even if you take notes on your laptop.)
For an add-on item, I’d strongly suggest checking out the Journey 300 Solar Flashlight/ Charger. You never know when campuses will have power outages, and the nights are only getting longer. Plus, if you get home from a late night of partying its more considerate to your roommates to minimize lights at 4am and a flashlight is perfect for that- don’t be that guy! This nifty flashlight is the most versatile, multifunctional, and rugged flashlight from HybridLight yet. It can shine for up to 50 hours, is waterproof, floats, and is lightweight. It can be charged either via solar or with a standard micro-USB cable, and arguably most importantly- even functions as a charger in and of itself!
Thanks for reading! Let us know how you or students in your life are prepared in the comments!