How to Prepare for Emergencies While Living in a Dorm

Spread the love

This post is by Bernie Carr,

This year, we have a number of kids in our family who will be going to college in the fall.  In a few weeks, they will be leaving their homes to move to their dorm rooms, causing additional stress to their parents.  So I thought I’d write a post offering some quick tips about how to prepare for emergencies while living in a dorm.

The best way to deal with this worry is consider the most likely emergencies that can happen, and try to prepare for them.

Medical Emergencies

Colds, flu, minor cuts and scrapes are very likely to happen – thankfully, most will be minor, but should still be dealt with.  Pack a first aid kit, including the following:

  • adhesive bandages of various sizes
  • antiseptic spray such as Bactine
  • antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin
  • pain relievers such as Tylenol, Motrin or Advil
  • anti-diarrhea medicine
  • cold and flu relievers
  • allergy medicine
  • extra glasses or contacts
  • thermometer
  • personal prescriptions such as asthma inhaler etc.
  • first aid manual
  • antibacterial gel

Don’t forget to pack your medical insurance card.  Also look for a list of doctors and hospitals who belong to your insurance network in your college town – having this list in advance this will save you time, money and effort when looking for one in case you are sick or injured.

Power outage

A storm or even excessive heat can overburden the power grid, can potentially cause an occasional power outage.  Pack a power outage supply kit:

  • three days (or more) worth of water bottles
  • water purifier
  • food bars such as Mainstay Energy Bar, high energy snacks such as peanuts
  • flashlight/radio/charger and batteries
  • solar charger
  • emergency radio with batteries
  • flashlight
  • chips and candy to make you feel better
  • deck or cards or small board games for entertainment

Car survival kit

Include an emergency kit in the car, you never know when an emergency can happen on the road.  See Survive being Stranded

Cash emergencies

Prepare for a financial emergency in case access to credit or debit machines is interrupted, by having a cash emergency stash.  Tuck a few $20 bills in the car, or in a book, to be used in case of emergency.

Get home bag

In an extreme emergency, a “get home” bag may be needed to make it back home.  See this article or details on how to assemble a get home bag for college.

Final tips:

Keep a backup hard copy of all frequently called and emergency numbers in case your cell phone is lost, damaged or stolen.  Keep this list of numbers in a safe place that is easy to remember.

Dorm rooms are small – use spaces under the bed and make use vertical space for extra storage.

Be aware of all emergency exits to your building, as well as exits out of school grounds.

Have an alternate traffic route home in case main roads are backed up.

Hopefully, you’ll never need any of these tips or emergency supplies – but it is better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.


© Apartment Prepper 2015

For advice on how to prep on a budget:

Bernie's Latest Book

Spread the love


  1. I love the idea about writing down phone numbers in case of cell loss/theft/damage. I wrote my handful of essential numbers on a post-it and keep it tucked in my wallet.

    1. Hi Jessica, I learned that lesson to write down phone numbers the hard way- my phone charge ran out as I was talking to my daughter-could not dial her back and I did not have her phone number handy at the time. Now I keep the important numbers written down. 🙂 Thanks for the comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *