Guide to Making an Earthquake Survival Kit for Your Home

To visitors, Los Angeles might mean year-round sunshine with entertainment and attractions, but for the locals living in the city, there’s the constant worry of experiencing an earthquake. Since the state is on the San Andreas fault line, California gets small earthquakes almost every week. However, many residents believe that the “Big One” is coming—and soon—especially since the last major earthquake was over a decade ago. Whether or not this prediction is true, it’s better not to leave you or your family’s safety to chance. Being prepared with the right emergency materials in your earthquake survival kit might just save you a lot of trouble when disaster strikes. Below is a guide to making an earthquake survival kit for your home.

First Aid and Health

An important rule of thumb to stocking your emergency kit is to remember the basics. Inexpensive first aid materials such as band-aids, antibacterial creams, triangular bandages, emergency blankets, alcohol cleansing wipes, and scissors could ultimately save your life. If you suffer from severe allergies, having an extra EpiPen available in your kit could also be worth it. After putting together these basic items, think about your specific needs. If you’re prone to headaches, require glasses, or regularly take medication, remember to add a little extra to your survival kit—at least enough to last a few days. Also, remember to pack toiletries just in case.

Nonperishable Foods

While it’s not a good idea to pack bread or meats in your survival kit due to their short shelf life, think about stocking up on nonperishable foods and bottled water. Standard food supplies include ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables, protein or fruit bars, dry cereal or granola, peanut butter, canned juice, nonperishable pasteurized milk, and high-calorie energy bars. There are also several companies that sell freeze-dried meals, which are both nutritious and filling. For more convenience in case you don’t want to pack a can opener, you can also purchase easy pop-off or twist-off cans. Families with babies should also be sure to pack infant formula, if necessary.

Useful Items

Many things can happen when disaster strikes, for instance, you might experience a loss of electricity, an influx of contaminated air, or lack of communication due to the disruption of power lines. For these extreme situations, be prepared with flashlights, extra batteries, whistles, heavy-duty gloves, face masks, duct tape, garbage bags, sleeping bags, and a basic wrench or pliers. It might even be helpful to pack a hand-crank or battery-powered radio with an emergency tone alert option in case your cell phone doesn’t work. And if the electricity hasn’t completely shut down, packing an extra phone charger may be useful.

Miscellaneous Supplies

Now that you’ve packed all of your basic emergency items, you can add more personal necessities, such as an extra pair of glasses and contact lens solution, extra food for your pet, extra cash or a few blank checks, important documents and identification, matches, and feminine hygiene supplies. Make sure these items are contained in a plastic, waterproof bag or container in case your survival kit is exposed to any water damage or leaks. Another great item to add to your kit is chlorine dioxide, in either tablet or drop form, which works as a water purification option. If you still have space left in your kit, you can even pack an extra pair of sturdy shoes, socks and underwear, and warm outfits. 

Earthquake Kit Upkeep

By now, you should know that with so many supplies in your earthquake kit, a fanny pack simply won’t suffice. Pack everything in a large backpack, durable plastic container, or a duffel bag. Even though a lot of the materials in your survival kit are nonperishable and durable, it’s never a bad idea to check up on these items once a year or so. With prescription medications and canned food, double check their expiration dates and re-stock as needed.

Where to Store Your Kit

If you spend a lot of time in your car or at home, consider making two emergency kits for each location. You never know exactly where you’ll be when an earthquake will happen, so it’s better to narrow it down to your most frequented locations. Your survival kit will be in its best shape when it’s stored in a cool, dry spot, sealed, and easily accessible. At home, keep your emergency kit somewhere you can easily grab in case you’re in a rush to leave. For more information about stocking your emergency kit, check out Red Cross.

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