These Are the Absolute Essentials You Need for Your Earthquake Kit

First aid kit
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If you live in an area that's prone to earthquakes, you need to be prepared. Pack a comprehensive emergency survival kit for your home with enough supplies to last each member in your household at least three days. Also, pack smaller kits to keep in your automobile and workplace.

Survival Kit at Home

Every household should have the following supplies on hand. Keep the items stored together in a place that's easily accessed by everyone in your household. Although it seems like a large number of items, careful packing can fit a surprising amount into a small space. Plastic bins keep items clean and organized, and they are easy to tote if evacuation becomes necessary.

This home survival kit envisions a worst-case scenario in which a major quake renders food, shelter, and medical care temporarily unavailable. Remember that such a worst-case scenario may involve partial or complete destruction of your home, so these items should be stored in a such as way that they will be easy to find, not scattered around a house that may no longer be easy to access. It is a good idea to store such a kit near the front of the garage, or in a backyard shed or outbuilding where the items will be easy to access even in a worst-case scenario.

If you live in a region where minor quakes are more likely than a major disaster, you can downgrade the kit to the items that are most likely to be necessary.

  • First aid kit: either purchase a complete kit or assemble your own (store in a fishing tackle box or tool box to keep contents dry and portable)
  • Water: one gallon per person per day for a minimum of three days for drinking and washing
  • Food: at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food items for each person
  • Can opener (manual)
  • Radio: battery-powered or hand crank with NOAA weather frequency and alert
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries
  • Whistle
  • Pocket knife
  • Dust masks
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Duct tape
  • Rope
  • Ax, shovel, broom
  • Tools: screwdriver, pliers, hammer, and adjustable wrench
  • Moist towelettes for personal hygiene
  • Garbage bags and plastic ties for sanitation
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and backup battery
  • Safety pins, needles, thread
  • Scissors
  • Cash
  • Documents in a waterproof, portable container: digital or paper copies of insurance policies, identification, and bank account records
  • Sleeping bag or blanket for each person in the household
  • Tent
  • Gloves for cleaning up debris
  • Household bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Garden hose (siphoning, firefighting)
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Candles
  • Hygiene items (bar soap, facial tissues, toilet paper, sunscreen)
  • Small plastic storage bags
  • Dining kits: paper cups, plates, napkins, and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
First aid kit
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A first aid kit commonly includes adhesive bandages, gauze pads, adhesive tape, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic wipes, aspirin or other pain reliever, hydrocortisone ointment,rolled gauze, gauze pads, ace bandages, scissors, cold compress, eye drops, oral thermometer, tweezers, splinting materials, and a first aid instruction booklet.

The following list of essential items is household dependent. Since these needs can change, update your kit every year as needed and replace expired items.

  • Prescription medications
  • Over-the-counter medications, such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, and allergy relief
  • Eyeglasses and contact lenses with solutions
  • Feminine hygiene supplies
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and extra water
  • Complete change of clothing (appropriate sizes)
  • Sturdy shoes to protect from broken glass and debris (appropriate sizes)
  • Activities for children: books, puzzles, games

Survival Kit for the Car

Gather the following items and store them in a small suitcase, bag, or backpack for portability.

  • Blankets
  • Change of clothes and sturdy shoes
  • Heavy gloves
  • First aid kit and manual
  • Nonperishable food, such as protein bars
  • Bottled water
  • First aid kit and manual
  • Moist towelettes
  • Prescription medications
  • Toilet tissue
  • Cash, including coins
  • Paper and pencil
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Rope for towing or rescue
  • Tools (pliers, adjustable wrench, screwdriver)
  • Jumper cables
  • Duct tape
  • Emergency signal device (light sticks, flasher, reflector, mirror, whistle)
  • Flashlight with fresh batteries
  • Battery-operated radio with fresh batteries
  • Local map and compass
woman loading suitcase in trunk
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Check your automobile kit annually and replace expired items.

Survival Kit at Your Workplace

This kit should include items you'll need for at least 24 hours.

  • Nonperishable food
  • Bottled water
  • Sweatshirt or jacket
  • Sturdy shoes
  • Blanket
  • Extra pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses and solution
  • Small first aid kit
  • Essential medications
  • Flashlight with fresh batteries
  • Battery-operated radio with fresh batteries
  • Whistle or other signaling devices

Tracie Henkel

Tracie Henkel

Tracie creates a peaceful refuge at home where her family can work, relax, and connect with friends.