School project stresses importance of 'go bags'

Elementary student's preparedness project gets fire chief's approval

Posted 3/12/18

Castle Rock Fire and Rescue personnel are well-versed in emergency preparedness, but on March 8 several members of the department including Fire Chief Art Morales gathered in a room at the agency's …

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School project stresses importance of 'go bags'

Elementary student's preparedness project gets fire chief's approval

Posted

Castle Rock Fire and Rescue personnel are well-versed in emergency preparedness, but on March 8 several members of the department including Fire Chief Art Morales gathered in a room at the agency's headquarters to take survival tips from a local 12-year-old.

Zander Eaton, a sixth-grade student at South Ridge Elementary School in Castle Rock, an authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) school, had already presented his IB project researching how to prepare go bags to the approximate 500 students at his school. This time he'd brought his presentation to the fire department to share his project with the professionals.

“I've always been really into survival,” Eaton told his audience of firefighters when explaining why he picked this as his school project.

A go bag, or an emergency preparedness kit, is filled with supplies people would need should they be forced to evacuate their homes or become stranded without access to resources. Natural disasters such as tornados, wildfires and earthquakes are but a few examples of emergency situations where people would need a go bag.

The recommendation is to pack bags with enough supplies to support each member of the family or household for at least 72 hours and to keep the bags near the home's front door or in the car.

Key items include nonperishable food and clean water, but the kits should also come with other basics, such as flashlights, first aid kits, batteries and radios. Complete checklists for packing bags are available on sites such as ready.gov or redcross.org.

Eaton arrived at the fire station with a bright orange, pre-packed go bag he and his father found at Walmart, but he added additional supplies he thought would round out the kit like a collapsible water bowl for pets and antiseptic mouthwash.

His kit could support three people for three days, he said, and cost $101 to put together. Premade bags are available at stores for less, Eaton's father, Jeremy, explained. When an audience member asked when people should prepare a go bag, Chief Morales answered.

“Today,” Morales said.

Eaton agreed — go bags can save a life, he said, and being prepared before an emergency occurs is important.

Assistant Chief Craig Rollins said the department hopes project's like Eaton's can help spread word through the community that emergency kits are a crucial household item.

“He can go out and be a voice to the community,” Rollins said. “Everything he added is a valuable tool.”

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