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Off-Campus Living Preparedness

Off-Campus Living Preparedness

Having a few essentials on hand can make a huge difference in an emergency. Making a kit that you can grab quickly during an evacuation or turn to for crucial supplies during a secure-in-place or shelter-in-place will not only help keep you safe but also comfortable.

An emergency kit is personal. As you build your kit, think about the items you may need in the first few hours to days after a disaster and customize your kit to meet your needs.

Start with the basics

  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • 3-day supply of water
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Battery-powered or hand-cranked radio
  • 3-day supply of food
  • Copies of important documents
  • Cellphone charger
  • First aid kit
  • Emergency blanket
  • Extra cash
  • Moist towelettes or hand sanitizer for sanitation
  • Dust mask
  • Safety whistle


Take time to personalize it

  • What do you personally need to help you survive in a disaster?
  • Daily medications needed (7-day supply)
  • Supplies for your pet
  • Feminine supplies
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Complete change of clothes
  • Spare eyewear (don't forget extra contacts and solution)
  • Activities to occupy your mind (book, card game, drawing pad, etc)
  • Maps and area-specific resources


Do you know more than one way out of the buildings you visit on a regular basis? Where would you meet up with your roommates if your apartment building was evacuated? How would you let your family know that you're okay if you didn't have access to a cell phone? If you can't answer these questions, then it's time to start developing your emergency plan.

An emergency plan provides you with guidance during an incident, can reconnect you with loved ones, and helps you recognize possible hazards in your area. Knowing this information offers you the best chance to safely evacuate your building, and not lose anyone in the process.

Collecting and communicating information

  • Complete a contact card to carry regularly, be sure that the card identifies yourself; any special health, diet, or medical needs; and en emergency contact. Your cellphone should have an In Case of Emergency (ICE) application to store important medical and emergency contact information. If you are unconscious or unable to call, responders may look for this information on your phone.
  • Establish a roommate emergency contact sheet. Write down the emergency contact information for each person living in your apartment.
  • Decide how the members of your apartment will communicate, including alternatives. Choose a contact to call who can relay messages even if local phones are out.

Plan what to do if you have to evacuate

Establish a few locations where you and your roommates could reunite after an emergency or evacuation. Decide where you would go and what route you would take to get there.

  • In your neighborhood: This is a location that would work best if you have to evacuate your home. It should be near enough that you can get there as soon as you exit your building, but far enough away to account for possible hazards.
  • Outside of your neighborhood: This is a location that would work best if a disaster occurs while you are not at home and you are unable to return home. This could be a library, community center, family member, or friend's house.
  • Outside of town: This is a location that would work best if you cannot get home or to your outside-of-neighborhood meeting place, or if the entire community is instructed to evacuate. An out-of-town family member, a friend's house, or a hotel/motel would work well. Make sure everyone in your household knows the address of the meeting location, as well as basic driving directions.

Other things to consider:

  • Consider the routes you take to common locations such as classes, work, your home, or a friend's home. Make sure you know more than one path to-and-from these locations in case an incident should prevent you from taking your regular route.
  • Consider the buildings you visit daily and the way that you enter and exit them. Make sure you know more than one route in-and-out of these buildings, in case an incident should prevent you from taking your regular path.
  • Plan ahead for your pets: Keep a phone list of kennels, pet-friendly hotels/motels, and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes.
  • Exercise your plans: Practice evacuating your home, if you can, twice a year. Travel your planned evacuation route, and plot alternate routes in case roads are closed.