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How to Pack Your California Earthquake Survival Kit
This is embarrassing, but I had my “California earthquake survival kit" on my to-do list for two years. Does this sound familiar? Think about all the disasters that are happening, e.g., fires, mudslides, earthquakes.... Why be caught unprepared when the Big One hits?
Perhaps 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. Here, I've done the research and made easy-to-follow shopping lists for you.
What You'll Need in an Earthquake, According to Experts and Survivors
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: 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 comfortable walking shoes and enough food and water for three days.
- The Car Earthquake Kit: Fill a backpack with food and water for three days, a first aid kit, jumper cables, a flashlight, and a blanket.
- The Home Earthquake Kit: Fill a backpack with food, water, and essential supplies that you’ll need (see lists below) for three days. Additionally, FEMA recommends storing an additional two weeks’ worth of supplies in your home.
Contents of the Do-It-Yourself 3 Day Earthquake Survival Kit
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 materials on the lists below.
What will you need? Think of it this way. You may 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, or water for several days. You may not be able to go to a 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:
If you have to evacuate your home, you'll need one gallon of water per person, per day, and they say to plan on three days of evacuation. They also recommend keeping a two week supply of water at home.
Useful things to know about emergency water (per FEMA) is that the best source for your emergency water is commercially bottled water, such as Arrowhead or Sparkletts. Remember to observe the expiration date.
You can also 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, then fill it with tap or filtered water.
- Write the date on the outside of the bottle and store it in a cool, dark place.
- Replace this water every 6 months.
Make sure to pack non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (a three-day supply for evacuation and a two-week supply for home).
Good choices: Canned foods, dry mixes, salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals, trail mix, and MREs from military surplus stores. Also include food for those with special diet needs.
Avoid foods that will make you thirsty and make sure you have a manual can opener handy.
Other Important things to remember:
- Make sure to use food before it expires. To help you keep track, place the older items at the front of the shelf and new items at the back.
- Make sure to write dates when you store food items and change supplies every six months.
Pack These Essential Items in Your Earthquake Survival Backpack
• 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:
• N95 or surgical masks
• Rain gear
• Work gloves
• Tools/supplies for securing your home
• Extra clothing, jacket, long pants, long sleeve shirt, hat and sturdy shoes
• Plastic sheeting
• Duct tape
• Household liquid bleach
• Entertainment items
• Blankets or sleeping bags
The Easiest Solution: The Pre-Packaged Red Cross Backpack
I was pleasantly surprised to find the convenient and very reasonably priced Red Cross Survival Kit—only $50— which is great for people who don’t want to have to shop around and gather all the items. Here’s what’s included:
- 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)
- First aid and emergency preparedness booklet
You'll find other really cool items at the Red Cross store. Check it out!
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.
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.
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!