Know-How: Security

May 1, 2006
Schools should have emergency supplies at the ready so students and staff can evacuate a classroom quickly and safely.

A crisis erupts, and students and teachers must leave their classrooms as quickly as possible. What should they take with them to keep them safe and occupy their time until the crisis ends?

The Arizona Department of Education has put together a planning questionnaire and supplies checklist that can help schools compile the supplies and equipment each classroom should have to get through the crisis. The critical response kit, sometimes known as a “classroom go kit,” should include:

  • A bright-colored bucket with a lid. The bucket should be stenciled with the classroom number to aid identification.

  • First-aid kit.

  • A hat, vest or other unique apparel that will identify teachers and aides.

  • A whistle.

  • Student-accounting paperwork (class lists, contact information).

  • A tarp or ground cover.

  • Age-appropriate materials to help students pass the time (i.e., cards, crayons).

The Texas School Safety Center, which has a similar list for classroom go kits, suggests these ways to supplement the kits:

  • Consider using a backpack instead of a bucket so that teachers can have their hands free in an evacuation. The backpack can be hung on a hook or Velcro strip inside the classroom door.

  • Ask teachers at each grade level to suggest age-appropriate books and games. Make activity cards with four to six suggested quiet games (such as word games) that do not require additional supplies.

  • Include latex-free rubber gloves, sunscreen, a small flashlight and batteries, and a pad of paper and pen for the teacher.

The Arizona checklist also recommends that schools have a storage container with critical materials. It should be kept outside the school if the area is at high risk for earthquakes.

The storage container should have:

  • Medical equipment.

  • Food and water (remember to accommodate those with special dietary needs).

  • Sanitary supplies (toilet paper, plastic sheeting for privacy, disinfectant spray).

  • Spare batteries.

  • Blankets.

  • Search-and-rescue backpacks with medical supplies.

  • A search-and-rescue bucket that contains flashlights, a crowbar, masking tape, large chalk, a door restraint, a lanyard with a snap hook, a whistle, keys, a portable radio, a pen and clipboard (for noting victims' locations and conditions), and a site map.


1 to 2

Number of gallons of water per person per day that a school should have on hand for drinking needs in a crisis situation.


Number of toilet kits per 100 students that a school should have on hand in the event of a crisis.


Number of days of nonperishable food supplies per student and staff that a school should have on hand in the event of a crisis.

Source: Arizona Department of Education, Emergency Planning Questionnaire and Response Supplies Checklist

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