This article is intended to provide some ideas of things that can be included in any backpack or daypack that may help the owner increase their odds of survival in an emergency. We will primarily focus on schools since they are primarily Gun Free Zones (Gun Free School Zone Act) but broadly speaking this can apply to many of us.
A large number of us leave the house with a bag of some sort each day. Be it your backpack, purse, briefcase, portfolio bag, etc. It is growing increasingly common for us to transport a laptop to and from school/work and it makes sense to have a bag to protect it. Millions of children and college enrolled young adults use a backpack every day to transport books and other school supplies.
It makes sense to include some simple things in those bags that increase our odds of surviving any sort of disaster or crime. While this article is focused on school backpacks I would encourage you to not tune out if you are not a student because:
- You probably have family members who are students. Kids, grandkids, nieces/nephews, etc.
- A lot of the below ideas very easily apply to whatever bag you use regularly in your vocation or daily activity.
- Since the things you are allowed to take on a plane are comparable to things kids can take to school these days you could at very least apply this to your carry-on next time you fly.
The Two Things I Think Are Most Paramount
First Aid and Trauma Kit
In life, there are a lot of things we want to be prepared for. Crime, natural disaster, etc but of all the things that I can think of the most likely to occur is some sort of medical emergency. Every day people get cuts, get into car accidents, have heart attacks, and need medical attention. Having a first aid kit of some form makes complete sense. In my 8-year-old kid's backpack that first aid kit is going to be fairly simple mostly made up of band-aids.
Ballistic Soft Panel Insert
There are a lot of places where my children and I may not be able to have a firearm but something I can take anywhere is a ballistic “bulletproof” panel. There is a large market for these things these days because it is such an easy way to add a layer of protection. Just insert the panel into a backpack and you now have something that will stop all handgun ammunition. Add a textbook or 2 to the bag and you may be able to stop rifle rounds also.
These are not inexpensive, with quality inserts running close to $100 each but it is a one time purchase that will last many years (and arguably forever). My young children can very easily understand the concept and practice of hiding behind their backpack or putting it between them and the shooter should they ever be involved in an Active Shooter situation. For me, it is an easy and effective solution that can be universally applied anywhere.
Recently I took ballistic soft panel inserts from 6 different competitors to the range and did some testing. While we sell several of them in our online store the one I personally recommend, based both on performance, convenience, and cost, is from Citizen Armor (Click Here to see it). (Shop All Body Armor Products)
Here are Other Things to Consider:
Things that are TSA Approved and Would Be Allowed in Any School
- Good Flashlight (Shop Us | Shop Amazon)
- Paracord (I like the “Grenades” that include various survival gear like these on Amazon)
- Flex Cuffs (Our favorite)
- Whistle (Amazon)
- Medical Information (Suggestion on Amazon.com)
- Contact Information Should the Bag Be Lost (Shop on Amazon)
Things that May or May Not Be Allowed Depending on the School or Local Laws
- Pepper Spray / Mace / Stun-gun
- Knife / Multi-Tool
What are other things you put into your child's backpack or you find are useful or valuable in being prepared for a worst case scenario? Let us know in the comments below.