Earthquake Disaster Kit

Finally after 10 years of living in California, I have gotten my act together to start making an earthquake disaster kit.

After much research, I decided I needed to make one for the car, one for outside the house and a small "To Go Kit" that we can quickly grab and run with if we needed to leave our house.

The complete list can be found at  but I'm using a modified version.  It seems impossible to make a kit with everything they say you need and then keep track of it every year to make sure the batteries, food & water ( I didn't know this before but bottled water has an expiry date, but I'm questioning it... how can water have an expiry date ?) haven't expired and everything is still in working order.  I know I would be too lazy for that. 

Also they say to put a sleeping bag in your kit but seal it up in a water proof tub.  We have sleeping bags but we use it for camping.  Imagine how hard it is to dig it out of your sealed earthquake kit every time you go camping.   Also imagine how expensive it is to buy extra sleeping bags just to stick it in your earthquake kit.

You can buy emergency kits like the ones here at American Red Cross for 155$ each.  I have seen this before at the shelter I work at but when I looked through the kit, everything in there looked so cheap. I felt like I can make better ones for less.

For our kit, I decided on the following basics:
  • Water - they say you need one gallon of water per day for at least 3 days for each person
  • Food -  3 days of non-perishable food. I decided on granola bars.
  • Prescription medicine / glasses
  • First Aid Kit
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Dust masks
  • Work gloves 
  • Map of the area you live in
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Wrench to turn off utilities
  • Battery/hand crank radio
  • Extra cash
  • Plastic sheeting, duct tape, nylon rope
  • Important phone #s
  • Fleece/sweatshirt
  • Rain poncho 
  • Space blanket
I bought the First Aid Kits for the car and outside the house from -the Johnson & Johnson Deluxe First Aid Kit. The expiry dates on the pain killers and antibiotic creams were for 2013.  So I have to make note of that and replace them then.

For the To Go Kit, I decided to make my own. The Johnson & Johnson kit is too big to fit in the backpack.  I bought  a zippered pouch, some portable folding scissors, tweezers and some medical tape from Daiso ( our local Japanese dollar store - this place is fantastic by the way, I will have to do a post just on them in the future).  The rest of the stuff I already had "chez nous" and what I didn't I just picked up from our local pharmacy.  The kit probably cost me around 10$.

We have several flashlights at home, but we need to keep them at home not sealed away in kits.  I got a couple from the shelter I work at (they had many extras).  They are actually pretty cool.  They were from PG & E.  The flashlights run on battery but when the juice is gone, you can just hand crank it.  I tested it out and it worked pretty well.

I also ended up buying the coolest head lamp from, one for me and one for the hubby.  It's called the Petzl E02 P2 e+LITE.  The video they show on the website totally sold me on it.  It's a headlamp with an integrated whistle.  This headlamp can be stored with batteries for up to 10 years and still be operational.  When turned on, it can provide up to 45 hours of burn time and it has several modes of lighting - 2 white lighting levels, 1 red lighting level, and 2 flashing modes: white or red for signaling. 

Dust maps, ponchos, space blankets - I bought in bulk from Amazon.  The work gloves were too expensive there, so I picked them up from Home Depot at 1.99$/each.  They were so cheap, I bought several pairs!

You can buy your emergency radio from Red Cross but I found it quite expensive at 50$

We found a cheaper version from Target, it's probably not available anymore but I'm pretty sure we got it on special for 10$.  It's supposed to be a radio, a flashlight and an emergency siren.  Cranking recharges the internal batteries, and 1 crank can give you 10 minutes of light.  Sounds good to me :)

Our friend D works at the Fire Department in the Bay Area, and one important thing she told me was that we should make sure that we have an emergency contact outside of California.  She says during disaster, cell phone service within the Bay Area is so bogged down that it makes it very difficult to call anyone in the area.  The best thing to do is call someone outside of the state and update them with all the information and they can be the liaison between you and your family. 

You should also have an emergency plan, know where you are supposed to meet up in case access to your home is blocked.

She also stressed was that everyone should be First Aid/CPR certified.  Hopefully before the end of the year, hubby and I will have time to take a CPR course.  They are offered at Red Cross and if you are in the Bay Area, they are offered for free at Sports Basement.

Earthquake Preparedness Resources: