Emergency Preparedness

Many students find it challenging to be away from their friends and family members for the first time. That sense of unease can deepen during a major emergency such as a large earthquake or wildfire.

Preparedness helps provide mental grounding (for both you and them) and additional physical safety. As such, we recommend that every student keep a sturdy, mobile emergency kit in their college "home", whether they live on or off-campus. Ideally the contents of the kit can help support your student's comfort and health for up to three days.

[ Diagram of Evacuation Backpack ]

Stocking Your Emergency Kit

To purchase ready-made preparedness kits, visit www.redcrossstore.org.

If you make your own kit, we recommend that you include:

  • First Aid Kit — Several stores carry pre-assembled first-aid kits; make sure you check the contents, and augment it with additional items you think your student might need. If you'd prefer to make your own, FEMA offers a comprehensive shopping list.
  • Water — Store-bought, sealed water is the easiest option; consider purchasing enough small bottles to provide one gallon of water per day, for three days.
  • Food — Choose nutritious, non-perishable, ready-to-eat goods, avoiding (if possible) foods that induce thirst. Trail mix, granola bars, canned milk and juices, and crackers are all good options.
  • Tools — basic essentials:
    • Flashlight
    • Extra batteries
    • Portable radio
    • Pocket knife
    • Waterproof matches
    • Plastic Shovel
    • Face mask - N95 rating
    • Additional items...
  • Personal Care Items — Pack items they would need (but might not grab from their rooms):
    • Prescription medications
    • Eyeglasses or contact lenses and supplies
    • Travel-size toothbrush and toothpaste
    • Soap
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Toilet Paper
    • Feminine Hygiene products
    • Trash bags
  • Clothing and Bedding — Santa Cruz can be cold and wet! Consider stocking:
    • An extra jacket
    • Rain gear
    • A warm hat
    • Gloves
    • One change of clothes
    • Emergency (or non-cotton) blanket
    • Plastic tarp
  • An Emergency Plan — Phone and cell service may be down for some time after an earthquake or similar emergency. Discuss "what-if" scenarios and make plans for what each of you might do until you can be in contact. Write this down. Pack a list of important phone numbers (family members, doctors, etc), any critical insurance or financial information, and anything else you'd want your student to know.