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Preparing for the unthinkable

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My school is implementing ALICE. As the nurse, I am thinking what supplies can I leave in the classroom should the unthinkable happen. We are a small private school so fortunately I have a budget for these items.

Do any of you have "Go Buckets?" What do you put in each room?


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We gave go bags, with not a lot...gloves, bandaids, gauze, a tarp, duct tape...not sure what else as I have my own bag

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Nope. We talked about GO buckets at my school (We did the training this year) but they really didn't have much more in them then my first aid kit. Expect you can use the bucket as a toilet if needed.

I did invest in awesome triage kit for me and a couple of teacher volunteers that will man my emergency response team. But the team itself is much an in progress thing I'm working on this year to fully implement next year.

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I mentioned these buckets at the start of the year inservice when we were talking about our emergency situations. Our FCCLA has decided to make this one of their big projects and the admin recently asked me for my input on what to put in these buckets. Here is what I sent them:

Suggestions for Bucket items:

Clipboard with list of students in each class and any special health concerns

First Aide supplies:

Bandaids, various sizes

Gauze pads



Instant ice pack


Feminine hygiene items for MS/HS areas

Snacks such as granola bars, graham crackers, fruit snacks, goldfish

Battery powered flashlight

Extra batteries

Water bottles

Toilet paper

Wet wipes

Duct tape

Work gloves

Time passers - deck of cards, dominos, flash cards, games

Tarp (used for privacy or cover open area/broken windows)

Blanket (if room)

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i didn't make up bags for each room. The officer in charge of training us had me get a trauma bag and include some extra items such a quick clot and tourniquets. He also sent me to a combat casualty training so I could break my old dog thinking of how verboten tourniquets are. They are pretty much front line treatment in this type of training. We did Alice training as a group later on in the year then had a optional practical portion. I was disappointed in how many opted out of the practical.

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I have bags for each classroom with basic first aid stuff but am adding a whistle, a few rolls of gauze, & a crank flashlight.

I have my go bag...which honestly I don't remember what's in it. Haven't looked in it since I started here a few years ago. :o

If you've got a really generous budget you might consider hemostatic dressings and good tourniquets. I was at a conference last year and the lady recommended this type:

Combat Application Tourniquet (C-A-T) - School Health - Emergency Kits - Emergency Supplies - Emergency Response & Safety - Early Childhood

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If purchasing CAT tourniquets, make sure they are from a legit vendor. Counterfeit ones are floating on the market, especially on Amazon/eBay.

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Our district provided backpacks to all rooms. Active shooter scenarios drove their purchase but they are for all hazards. (weather, fire, etc) They were pre-made and stocked with: (in no particular order)

light rope (in training one group used it to help secure a door)


playing cards

ponchos (6 each?)

foil blankets (10?)



pad, sharpie, and pencils

baggie of bandaids, towelettes, gloves, hand gel, safety pins, and an ABD.


surgical/dust masks


*We added a small tube of glucose tablets to each bag for our diabetics who could end up sheltering anywhere*

I sorted many things into pouches, so if I need something, I don't have to dig under 10 individually wrapped foil blankets. They are all together. PPE is together. The whistle is tied to the strap. At the least, encourage the guardian of each bag to open things. I'm at a different building today and the masks, rope, and flashlight are all sealed in hard plastic packaing. Does the light work? Can I get a mask if I need it? There are no scissors in this kit!

We've tossed some extras into ours:

more ABDs

Bags (to be bags or to use on chest wounds)


more gloves


kerlix and ace



CPR face mask clipped to outside

in addition, we have a trauma bag (which is similar to my camp trauma bag):

ACE, kerlix

various gauze, ABD, pads (pads are for mensis or heavily bleeding wounds)


trauma shears, smaller scissors, forceps kit

small pad, pen, sharpie

petroleum jelly

bags (baggies, grocery, trash)

SAM splints, sling

tongue depressors

paper cups


juice boxes


CPR mask (I'd like to add an extra ambu bag)


BP cuffs (I think this is just my camp kit. I'm not near my own school kit)

eye wash

burn gel

ice packs



I take one or the other bag out on fire drills. We must have a go bag. If the drill is while we have two nurses, we'd take both. In the real event of fire or fleeing a shooter, one nurse would take it all if necessary but I don't go out to every drill like a pack mule. I also have a large, empty tote bag ready for me to do a 2 second sweep of the med cabinet on my way out and collect epi-pens and inhalers. Inhalers would especially be needed in case of smoke, chemicals, or panic. In a crisis, I'd share if we needed to (If I didn't "sweep" them all)

I'd like to add hemostatic dressings. Preferably to teacher bags... because odds are, I will be locked away from the precise location that needs me and my supplies! (and that kills me)

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Everything is in a big orange home depot bucket (can be used for BR)






alcohol preps

duct tape

toilet paper


first aid kit

dust mask


plastic tarp

And we are getting tourniquet kits soon, as well.

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We have go bags and, honestly, I don't know what is in them. I am not seeing kids day to day so another nurse that I supervise is in charge of that.

I hate to think about these things. In the last two weeks, there have been threats at 3 schools in my district (including my oldest daughter's) as well as a couple arrests related to those threats. I feel so helpless and scared. I have no idea how we would keep any sense of order at the preschool I work at if there were an active shooter. 250+ 3-5 year olds in the building at a time, many with significant developmental delays. None of them could be quiet in an emergency situation.

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I wish we had Go buckets in our classrooms. I'm gonna have to build up stock slowly, I think. The districts around here don't seem to put much emphasis on classroom prep for emergencies. I've recently made "first aid kits" for every classroom, that is basically bandaids, gauze, and gloves. I just realized after passing them out yesterday that I need to put emergency carbs/glucose in every classroom, as we have three diabetics at our middle school. We are about to do our first passing period lock down drill and lord knows our brand new diabetic is going to go low. (I do encourage the kids to carry fast acting glucose AND snacks with them, but they are all middle school boys so that doesn't happen.)

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I have suggested this, but they said our classrooms are too small to have buckets. I wonder if there's a way we can still implement that?

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