How to Pack Your California Earthquake Survival Kit

Northridge Earthquake Damage, 1994
Northridge Earthquake Damage, 1994

This is embarrassing, but I’ve had my “California Earthquake Survival Kit" on my “To Do” list for the past two years. Does this sound familiar? Do you think you've got time? Well, the reality is that maybe you do, but why be caught unprepared when the Big One hits? Take a quick look at the picture above taken from the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, and you're looking at what we're potentially in for. Think about all the disasters that are happening, e.g., fires, mudslides, earthquakes...this is reality in Southern California, baby!

Perhaps it's because I've got a background as a Girl Scout ("Be prepared" was their motto), I decided to get my act together and gather the items for my Earthquake Survival Kits. I also thought to myself, "Why not share the information I've gathered and put it to good use so that others can either get their California Earthquake Survival Kits together?"

Map of the many earthquakes that have occurred in California
Map of the many earthquakes that have occurred in California

HERE'S WHAT I’VE LEARNED ABOUT GETTING EARTHQUAKE KITS TOGETHER:

I got my information from those who deal with disasters every day: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Red Cross. Visit their websites for more detailed information; they hold treasures of great ideas and information.

Firstly, know that you need to have three separate earthquake kits. You should have one for work, one for your car and one for home. You never know when an earthquake will hit, and where you’ll be, so you’ve got to be prepared.

The Work Earthquake Kit: Fill a backpack with food and water for 3 days, and comfortable walking shoes.
The Car Earthquake Kit: Fill a backpack with food and water for 3 days, first aid kit, jumper cables, flashlight and blanket.
The Home Earthquake Kit: Fill a backpack with food, water and essential supplies that you’ll need for 3 days. Keep reading below for the details of the essentials you’ll need. Additionally, FEMA recommends storing an additional 2 weeks’ worth of supplies in your home.

The Red Cross Survival Backpack, $50, from the Red Cross Store
The Red Cross Survival Backpack, $50, from the Red Cross Store
Contents of the Red Cross Survival Kit
Contents of the Red Cross Survival Kit

THE EASIEST SOLUTION: The Red Cross Backpack

I was pleasantly surprised to find the convenient and very reasonably priced Red Cross Survival Kit. The investment is a mere $50 per backpack, and is great for people who don’t want to have to shop around and gather all the items. Here’s what’s included in the backpack:
• Battery Powered Flashlight (batteries included)
• Battery Powered Radio (batteries included)
• Emergency Blanket
• Food Bars (4,800 calories total)
• Work Gloves (one pair)
• 12-Hour Light Sticks (3)
• Moist Towelettes (6)
• Breathing Mask (NIOSH-N95)
• Plastic Sheeting (10' x 10')
• Rain Poncho
• Personal First Aid Kit
• Roll of Duct Tape
• Water (2 quarts)
• Water Container (2.5 gallon)
• Whistle
• First Aid and Emergency Preparedness Booklet


You can also find a host of other really cool items at the Red Cross Store. Check it out!

THE DO-IT-YOURSELF 3 Day EARTHQUAKE SURVIVAL KIT, PLUS HELPFUL SUGGESTIONS & DETAILS

Are you one of those people who like to do their own research and pack it all up your own way? If so, simply gather the same materials of the Red Cross Survival Backpack (See above). Read on about the details...

What do you need to get?Think of it this way. You’re going to be on your own, and it’s commonly recommended that you have supplies for three days or 72 hours. Imagine not having access to electricity, gas, lights, phone service, water for several days...Do you think you’re going to be able to go to the local store to buy your supplies? Is this scary enough for you? It is for me, so let’s get our bags filled and ready!

According to the Red Cross, here are the items that you will need to complete your kit for one person:

Emergency Water Pack from amazon.com
Emergency Water Pack from amazon.com

Water

One gallon per person, per day (3­ day supply for evacuation, 2 ­week supply for home).

Useful things to know about emergency water (per FEMA):

1. The BEST source for your emergency water supply is to purchase commercial bottled water, such as Arrowhead or Sparkletts.

Remember to observe the expiration date.


2. The Do It Yourself Method for Emergency Water Supplies:
• Get yourself 2-liter plastic soda bottles (they don’t have the chemical BPA which leaches out from plastic) and thoroughly wash them with soap and water.
Sanitize the bottles by swishing the insides of the bottle with a solution of 1 teaspoon non-scented liquid bleach to 1 quart of water.
Rinse the bottle with clean water. Fill the bottle with tap or filtered water.
Write the date on the outside of the bottle in a cool, dark place.
Replace this water every 6 months.

Emergency Food Bars for stocking your Earthquake Backpack. These bars last 5 years!
Emergency Food Bars for stocking your Earthquake Backpack. These bars last 5 years!

Food

Make sure to pack non-­perishable, easy-­to-­prepare items (3­ day supply for evacuation, 2­ week supply for home).


Good choices: Canned foods, dry mixes, salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals, trail mix and MREs from military surplus stores.

Avoid foods that will make you thirsty and make sure you have a manual can opener handy.

Also include food for those with special diet needs.

Other Important Things to Remember:

Make sure to use food before their expiration date, and place the older items at the front of the shelf (and new items at the back of the shelf).
Make sure to write dates when you store food items and change supplies every 6 months.

Pack These Essential Items in Your Earthquake Survival Backpack

• Flashlight
• Battery­powered or hand­crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
• Extra batteries
• First aid kit
• Medications (7­day supply) and medical items
• Multi­-purpose tool
• Sanitation and personal hygiene items (includes toilet paper, moist towelettes)
• Copies of personal documents (driver’s license, credit cards, social security card, medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
• Cell phone with chargers
• Family and emergency contact information
• Extra cash and coins
• Emergency blanket
• Map(s) of the area

Consider Packing These Items for Family Members
• Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)
• Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
• Games and activities for children
• Pet supplies (collar, leash, license tag, food, carrier, bowl)
• Two­-way radios
• Extra set of car keys and house keys
• Manual can opener, cooking utensils, plates, cups

Other Supplies That You May Want to Pack in Your Kit:
• Whistle
• N95 or surgical masks
• Matches
• Rain gear
• Towels
• Work gloves
• Tools/supplies for securing your home
• Extra clothing, jacket, long pants, long sleeve shirt, hat and sturdy shoes
• Plastic sheeting
• Duct tape
• Scissors
• Household liquid bleach
• Entertainment items
• Blankets or sleeping bags

Ready America 70280 Emergency Kit, 2-Person, 3-Day Backpack
Ready America 70280 Emergency Kit, 2-Person, 3-Day Backpack

From the Manufacturer

Each kit contains enough emergency supplies to sustain two people for three days, as recommended by the American Red Cross. There's food, water and emergency blankets, plus a First Aid kit (33 piece), two 12-hour safety lightsticks, dust masks, nitrile gloves and an emergency whistle. Each kit also contains emergency ponchos and pocket tissues. The kit, in a handy backpack, can be stored at home, at school, and at the office.

Product Description

Because you never know when there will be an emergency situation, it's wise to always be prepared. To avoid being caught unprepared, make sure that you have the Grab 'n Go 3 Day Emergency Kit 2 Person Backpack on hand at home, at school and at the office. Each kit contains enough emergency supplies to sustain two people for three days. The three basic essentials, as recommended by the American Red Cross, are in every handy backpack.

 
Datrex Emergency Water Packet - 3 Day/72 Hour Supply(12packets)
Datrex Emergency Water Packet - 3 Day/72 Hour Supply(12packets)

Product Description

With a 5 year shelf life to match our Rations, our Emergency water packets provide a full meals hydration to one individual and are purchasable by the case of 64 or by the three-day supply (12 packets). Balanced with our rations to provide adequate hydration without over-burdening a carrier in case movement during a disaster is required, our Emergency Drinking Water is Coast Guard approved as sanitary and safe, unlike bottled water which is subject to absolutely no federal standards. Tough packaging stands up to weather and shields water against inhospitable conditions. Available for purchase by the 3-day pack or by the case. Case contains 64 individual water packets, to be consumed with meals, one packet four times a day. Shelf life: 5 years.

 
Datrex Emergency Survival 2400 Calorie Food Ration Bar, 12 Bars
Datrex Emergency Survival 2400 Calorie Food Ration Bar, 12 Bars

With a shelf-life of 5 full years, our Emergency Rations are simply the best source of emergency nutrition available. Unlike MRE's, which are high in sodium and only suitable for use by those with an extremely large pure water supply, our rations are low in sodium, balanced with our Emergency Water Pouches to provide full nutrition and energy 24 hours a day without dehydrating the consumer. Lightweight, compact, and portable, these rations will last an individual for 3 days, providing 4 meals each day. They are easy to digest and have a pleasing coconut cookie flavor. With such unbeatable nutrition, portability, and practicality, it's no wonder the U.S. Coastguard has certified these Emergency rations for use anywhere. Rations contain coconut and wheat. Please consult your physician if you have any special dietary conditions such as active Crohn's Disease or Diabetes. Young children can be fed a half ration, and ration can be mixed with water for babies and others with sensitive digestion or missing teeth. Available for individual purchase or purchase by the case. Case contains 30 individually wrapped 2400 calorie ration bars. Shelf life: 5 years.

 

Peace of Mind!

There you have it...Your complete California Earthquake Survival Kits, Made EASY! I've got peace of mind for surviving the quake. Do you?

Now...Onward and upward to earthquake-proofing my home!

Comments 16 comments

rebeccahappy profile image

rebeccahappy 7 years ago from Canada

Wow This is a pretty thorough explanation of all you would need.What do large families do when they have to store all that water and food is my question. Being prepared is huge.

Thanks for deciding to share your knowledge.I guess anyone living in those earthquake zones could use it.


racerx12345 profile image

racerx12345 7 years ago Author

Hi Rebecca!

Thanks for visiting. I've read that large families can store their food and water in a large, weather-resistant trash can that can be stored either in the garage or outdoors. I would think it's prudent to make sure that the food items are stored in a cool, dry place indoors, since any type of food smell would attract critters (and wouldn't that be a bummer if your food supply were gone during an earthquake?!).


sibaja_software profile image

sibaja_software 6 years ago from Italy

Great hub, it is always good to be prepared.


hi 5 years ago

hello


sam-sam 5 years ago

Thanks, now I won`t be scared of the quake that may occur in San Francisco Thanks (: But now I just need the red cross emergency pack just in case (: Thank You so much


BASHER 5 years ago

Thank you very much!

This had helped me for my homework


Nora1212 4 years ago

This is a great hub. I don't think that people are as prepared as they should be. And I especially don't think they know what they need to be prepared! I am going to e-mail this to all my family that lives in the California area. I bought one online at http://8ktacticalsurvivalsupply.com and it had everything in it that you said we should have. Keep it up!


umknown 4 years ago

awesome


unknown 4 years ago

thanks that just did my homework! I have got to buy one!

:)


Angel 4 years ago

What do you pack for kids 1-3 years of age?


unvrso profile image

unvrso 4 years ago from Mexico City

You provide very useful information for this type of natural disasters. I'm interested, since I live in an area of high seismic activity.

The city where I live was hit by a 7.9 magnitude earthquake early this year, fortunately, there was no major damage; however, there have been some minor earthquakes thereafter.

Voted useful!


hi 3 years ago

helped me with my home work.this is very helpful


hun 3 years ago

Thanks very much this has helped with my homework i am defiantly prepared for any earthquake in california


hw 3 years ago

helped me do my hw thnx


Julie 2 years ago

This is really good to be prepared for an earthquake and be ready. This helped me with my homework!! Now I can tell my whole family about being prepared.


liseth 18 months ago

Really helpful thank u so much

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