Preparedness is... 

Utilizing Educational Facilities Storage to Organize and Maintain Emergency Supplies

 After a damaging earthquake, your students and staff may need to stay on site for several days until parents and emergency responders can arrive. Two important factors must be considered for emergency supplies: a secure storage location and an adequate amount of supplies. School officials should be prepared to be self-sustaining for a minimum of 3 days in times of an emergency. The assigned team (as delegated in the NIMS Command System) is responsible for the procurement, storage, and maintenance of specific supplies for earthquake preparedness. Their team responsibilities further include keeping supplies fresh, especially first aid, food and water, and maintaining an accurate, on-going inventory of supplies.


Basic List of Necessary Emergency Supplies

Adequate First Aid Supplies

Sufficient Water

Food Supplies

Flashlights and Extra Batteries

Battery Powered Radios and Extra Batteries

Space Blankets, Heavy Duty Plastic Bags or Regular Blankets

Sanitation Supplies

Useful Nonprescription Drugs

Extra Fire Extinguishers

Emergency Search and Rescue Tools


However your teams will need additional supplies and equipment according to their required tasks. The Arkansas School Earthquake Preparedness Guidebook has an excellent list of equipment and supplies for various teams. The Guidebook also has thorough recommendations for storing and providing food, with formulas and tables for determining needed quantities. These guidelines will likely be sufficient for any emergency situation.

Cargo containers are a great solution for storing supplies

Where your supplies are stored should depend on your needs and facilities. Because earthquakes may damage buildings, ideally your storage location should be outside. For example, a cargo container of emergency supplies is on every school campus in Los Angeles Unified School District. Each can be locked, is waterproof, and can hold a large amount of supplies and equipment.

You can also store supplies in multiple locations that will be accessible. Some schools use (new) trash barrels with wheels (see first aid kit photos below). Classrooms should also have a "go kit" with student information (names, special needs, etc.), basic first aid supplies, whistle and hat (for identifying the teacher), and more. Many schools also require each student to have personal "go kits" as well, such as a backpack with supplies, extra clothing, prescriptions, etc.





Water Supplies

Because your school's water supply may be out of service for many days, emergency water is a very important item to consider when preparing for an emergency. It may require the most storage space, but is essential for drinking and also needed for sanitation and perhaps cooling. Depending on your region's climate, you may need more or less water. Use this formula to calculate the amount of water needed for a 3-day emergency:

(# of students and staff) x (1/2 gallon each person) x (3 days) = # of gallons of water needed

55 gallon water barrels inside a storage area

For a school with 1000 students and staff, this means 1,500 gallons of water are needed. (You might reduce this amount by assuming that some portion of students will be picked up by parents within one day, more within two days, etc.) Special 55-gallon water drums are a typical storage solution, and are designed to store water for 5 years. They do not require power to pump water and are unlikely to be damaged by shaking. Use this formula to determine the number of water drums needed: 

Also, be sure to store enough paper cups for everyone to use for several days. You should encourage students and staff to keep and reuse their cup.


First Aid Supplies

Large commercial first aid kits should also be stored in each cargo container. Such kits are typically sufficient for up to 400 people, though this does not mean 400 injuries. The kits assume only a portion of the people will require first aid.

First aid materials inside wheeled containers In addition to the standard first aid kit, you may want to supplement with additional supplies:



Make sure your first aid kits are maintained on a regular schedule:


 Another example for storing first aid kit materialsKeep perishable items separate so they are easier to replace, such as in a quart-size plastic bag

This bucket-style portable toilet has a bucket, a liner, and a special seat designed for fitting on top of the bucket

In an emergency, you will need an area for a latrine if toilets are not working because the water supply is out or if bathrooms are not accessible. Simple "bucket" toilets can be used to store supplies until needed. The ideal ratio is 1 bucket for every 30 people. In addition to the bucket itself, be sure to store toilet paper, a privacy partition (such as a tarp or large cardboard enclosures), hand sanitizer gel, and other related items.