What to Put in an Earthquake Emergency Kit

Nikko Quiggins
Emergency kit

Earthquakes strike with no notice. They have the ability to rupture waterlines, make roads impassable, knock out power, and leave you wholly reliant on the supplies that you have on hand. Depending on the strength of the earthquake, you may have to sustain yourself for days before the government will be able to help you. Preparing your earthquake emergency kit now can help to ensure that you have the basic survival essentials in place to be self-reliant.

Kit Basics

A combination of both high and low-tech emergency kit options will provide you with the best mix to make the best out of a bad situation. The rule of thumb is to have enough supplies to last three days as part of your earthquake preparedness plans.

Technology Considerations

  • Use Google Drive to store scanned copies of your driver's license, health insurance cards, leases, titles, contact list, passport, and birth certificate in the cloud so that you can access them remotely if you cannot get home.
  • Create a Facebook group with your inner circle so you can easily send messages.
  • Add emergency accounts to your Twitter feed to stay informed.
  • Create an AirBnB profile so you are ready to find or share a place to stay.

Critical Components: Water, Foods, Meds, and Cash

  • Water: Include one gallon of water for each person and pet for each day and water purification tablets. Keep in mind that children, nursing mothers, and the elderly need more water. Hot temperatures can double the water needed.
  • Food: Include high-energy, high-protein non-perishable food, including treats that you like to eat (e.g., granola bars, protein bars, Spam, beans, soup, tuna, vegetables, dried fruits, nuts, chocolate, etc.).
  • Medication: Have a 30-day supply of prescription medications, non-prescription medications, and vitamins.
  • Cash: Keep a supply of small bills in your kit to keep your buying power in case credit card machines are down.

Rotate water, food, and medication every six months or as indicated by individual expiration labels.

Communication Supplies

  • Self-Powered (hand crank or solar) AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio with flashlight
  • Battery operated cell phone charger and batteries
  • Extra cell phone battery (charged)
  • List of emergency and family contact names, addresses, and phone numbers

Safety Supplies

  • Fire extinguisher
  • Area maps
  • Work gloves
  • Dust masks
  • Safety whistle
  • 50-foot nylon rescue cord
  • Personal protection options (gun, ammunition, knife, bat, pepper spray)

Tools

  • Flashlight with batteries
  • Screwdrivers (flat and Phillips)
  • Duct tape
  • Leatherman tool
  • Hammer
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Waterproof matches

Cleaning Supplies

  • Broom
  • Dustpan
  • Heavy-duty garbage bags
  • Mop
  • Mop bucket/wringer
  • All-purpose cleaning solution

Lighting

  • Head lamp with a strobe feature for signaling
  • Light sticks
  • Glow LED flashlight
  • Solar powered flashlight
  • Waterproof match booklets
  • Lamps or lanterns and lamp oil
  • Wicks
  • Candles and candle holders

Clothing and Protection

  • Change of clothing for three days, considering your year-round environment
  • Outerwear, such as ponchos, rain jacket, winter jacket
  • Bandanas
  • Ponchos
  • Work boots or other sturdy shoes
  • Rubberized boots
  • Hats
  • Dust mask
  • Goggles
  • Neckerchiefs
  • Sunscreen
  • Reading glasses
  • Sunglasses

Hygiene

  • Shampoo / conditioner
  • Deodorant / antiperspirant
  • Skin lotion
  • Cleaning wipes
  • Towels and washcloths
  • Toothbrush / toothpaste / floss
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Shaving supplies (razor and shaving cream)
  • Clothes washing supplies (liquid laundry detergent, clothes line, clothes pins, washboards)
  • Portable toilets
  • Toilet paper
  • Tissue paper
  • Paper towels
  • 5-gallon buckets
  • Waste disposal buckets

First Aid Kit

  • Non-latex rubber gloves
  • Pencil and small notebook
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Saline solution
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Benadryl
  • OTC pain medications (such as aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen)
  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Iodine
  • Alcohol pads
  • Topical analgesic cream
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Shears
  • Eye wash
  • Eye dropper
  • Ice packs
  • Heat packs
  • Gauze pads (varied sizes)
  • Adhesive bandages (varied sizes)
  • Butterfly-type wound closure strips
  • Triangular bandage to use as sling
  • Ace wrap
  • Hemostats
  • Magnifying glass
  • Razor blades
  • Safety pins
  • Diabetic sugar tablets (if needed)
  • Pack of needles (if needed)
  • Epi-Pen (If needed)

Baby Needs

  • Baby food and formula
  • Diaper-changing supplies (diapers, wipes, powder, diaper rash ointment)
  • Baby-sized nail clippers
  • Baby skin care items (body wash, oil, lotion, sunscreen)
  • Toys and books

Pet Needs

  • Pet food and water
  • Food/water container
  • Pet medications
  • Collar
  • Leash
  • Pet food
  • Toys
  • Portable crate

Cooking Supplies

  • Cook stove or grill and fuel
  • Cooking containers (pots, pans)
  • Manual can opener
  • Water purification tablets
  • Personal water filter straw
  • 100-gallon water storage system
  • Magnesium fire starter
  • Knives
  • Disposable tableware (paper plates, disposable cups, plastic utensils)
  • Aluminum foil
  • Insulated ice chest

Staying Warm

  • Portable generator
  • Generator fuel (e.g., gasoline, diesel)
  • Fuel containers (for diesel / gas based on equipment needs)
  • Battery powered fan
  • Spray bottle
  • Emergency Mylar space blankets
  • Blankets

Sleeping Supplies

  • Sleeping bags
  • Blankets, sheets, comforters
  • Sleeping surfaces (cots, mats or inflatable mattresses)
  • Pillows
  • Tent

Start Small for a Big Impact

Chances are you have many of the items listed above in your home. For a printable version of the list, click the image at the top of the article. Gather the items to start building your kit and check them off as you go.

What to Put in an Earthquake Emergency Kit