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Shelter-in-Place Suggested Supplies

In recent news we have seen shelter-in-place orders for all kinds of weather events.

Are we prepared on the school level to shelter-in-place with a school full of children for an extended period of time? What shelter-in-place supplies will we need?

Sanitary Supplies

Thank goodness most schools are fully stocked with toilet paper, cleaners, personal hygiene items, paper towels and plastic bags. These are items used every day and in bulk in most schools, so there is little danger in running out of them in a pinch. But what else should we have on site, stored as our designated shelter-in-place supplies and ready to go should the need arise?

  • Cleaners

  • Bleach

  • Plastic Bags

  • Duct Tape

  • Plastic Sheeting

  • Toilet Paper

  • Paper Towels

  • Some lists include chemical toilets but we’re going on the assumption that plumbing still works!

  • Trash bags and trash bins.

Communication Equipment

Communication equipment is paramount. That goes without saying. But what do we actually need?

  • Phones, both land line (hard wired) and cell phones.

  • Cell phone chargers.

  • Portable generators with vented systems ready to go. How else will we plug in those cell phone chargers?

  • A public address system or some type of system to communicate to staff members. (Replace this with the Active Defender System)

  • Walkie-talkies (Replace these with the Active Defender System)

Emergency Equipment

  • Light sources, battery powered or hand-crank flashlights, light sticks, the kind you crack and they glow different colors.

  • Fire extinguishers

  • Blankets

  • Pry-bars to open blocked doors, cabinets or chests with supplies.

  • Stretchers to transport wounded

  • Automatic External Defibrillator(s)

First-Aid Supplies


  • Adhesive tapes and bandages in assorted sizes

  • Safety pins in multiple sizes

  • Latex gloves

  • Scissors and Tweezers

  • Antiseptic

  • Antibiotic Ointment

  • Moistened Towelettes

  • Splints

  • Crutches

  • Folding cots

  • First aid Handbook

OTC (Over the Counter) Drugs to include

  • Pain relievers

  • Antacids

  • Ipecac Syrups

  • Anti-diarrheal Medications (Stop)

  • Laxatives(& Go)

  • Thermometers

  • Petroleum Jelly

  • Eye Drops

  • Allergy medications

  • EPI Pens

  • Any medication that the school nurse stores for students should be transported to the shelter in an emergency situation.

  • Food

  • This is a tough one because no everyone can eat everything. Be sure to keep some shelter-in-place supplies that are nut-free, gluten-free and egg-free. Other supplies that keep well and provide a decent amount of nourishment are:

  • Protein bars

  • Crackers

  • Peanut Butter

  • Shelf-stable Milk

  • Candy (Low blood sugar in children is very common. They may not even recognize the signs during times of stress, so be prepared. Hard candies are best as they are normally just sugar.)

  • Water

That is a lot of stuff to store! You can order kits from suppliers or make your own. Stock your shelters wisely and then review the items for expiration dates and replenishment every six months and after every use of your designated shelter-in-place room. The task may seem daunting, but having everything in place before it is ever needed is part of emergency preparedness.


These are merely suggestions. Think about your school and decide what should be stored, rotated in and out of storage and kept indefinitely. Cots don’t expire! Keep in mind that not everyone needs a cot. For most a gym pad on the floor is enough.


Most shelter-in-place warnings issued do not last very long, but just this past Thursday evening, November 15, 2018 School children in West Orange; New Jersey had to spend the night sheltering-in-place. See the full story here: https://patch.com/new-jersey/westorange/crash-west-orange-amid-snow-school-bus-delays-expected


Some New Jersey parents were not happy with the situation. Others were thankful that their children remained safe during a dangerous storm.


To understand more about shelter-in-place and what is involved, read more:

Active Defender remains committed to keeping your children and their teachers’ safe every day.

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495 Campbell Road, Carthage, NC 28327

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