Daily Archives: August 25, 2011

Shake, rattle…wait, was that an earthquake?

In light of the recent earthquake felt along most of the East Coast on Tuesday, it made me think that most of those people never thought they would ever experience an earthquake, and most likely, they were not prepared for one.  Now that I live in California, earthquakes are more common here, than when I was in NY.   Still fairly new to them, I started researching how I should prepare for one, or any kind of emergency/disaster situation.   I want to share with you the 7 steps to earthquake safety, as published by the California Earthquake Authority:

The following seven steps may help you and your family be better prepared when an earthquake strikes. They are arranged in the order of measures to take before, during and after an earthquake.

1.Before Step 1 Identify potential hazards in your home and begin to fix them
 2. Step 2 Create your disaster plan
 3. Step 3 Create your disaster supply kits
 4. Step 4 Identify your home’s potential weaknesses and begin to fix them
5.During Step 5 During earthquakes and aftershocks:
Drop, cover and hold on
6.After Step 6 After the shaking stops, check for damage and injuries needing immediate attention
 7. Step 7 When safe, follow your
disaster plan

After our last earthquake about a year ago, I decided to get serious about # 3, and created my own emergency/disaster bag.  Here are a couple pictures of it, as I went through it today, while packing for my move.  I wanted to get rid of any food items that have expired, and as it turns out, the gallon of water that I had in there had leaked all over, causing all of my clothing items to mold (so they are obviously not pictured).

Red for emergencies and easy spotting. Also attached is a whistle, that is also a compass and thermometer


Some of the contents that weren't ruined by the leaking water. see list below for recommended contents.

Build a Kit

After a major disaster the usual services we take for granted, such as running water, refrigeration, and telephones, may be unavailable. Experts recommend that you should be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least three days. Store your household disaster kit in an easily accessible location.  Put contents in a large, watertight container (e.g. a large plastic garbage can with a lid and wheels) that you can move easily.

Your basic emergency kit should include:

  • Water – one gallon per person per day
  • Food – ready to eat or requiring minimal water
  • Manual can opener and other cooking supplies
  • Plates, utensils and other feeding supplies
  • First Aid kit & instructions
  • A copy of important documents & phone numbers
  • Warm clothes and rain gear for each family member.
  • Heavy work gloves
  • Disposable camera
  • Unscented liquid household bleach and an eyedropper for water purification
  • Personal hygiene items including toilet paper, feminine supplies, hand sanitizer and soap
  • Plastic sheeting, duct tape and utility knife for covering broken windows
  • Tools such as a crowbar, hammer & nails, staple gun, adjustable wrench and bungee cords.
  • Blanket or sleeping bag
  • Large heavy duty plastic bags and a plastic bucket for waste and sanitation
  • Any special-needs items for children,seniors or people with disabilities. Don’t forget water and supplies for your pets.

A component of your disaster kit is your Go-bag. Put the following items together in a backpack or another easy to carry container in case you must evacuate quickly.  Prepare one Go-bag for each family member and make sure each has an I.D. tag. You may not be at home when an emergency strikes so keep some additional supplies in your car and at work, considering what you would need for your immediate safety.

  • Flashlight
  • Radio – battery operated
  • Batteries
  • Whistle
  • Dust mask
  • Pocket knife
  • Emergency cash in small denominations and quarters for phone calls
  • Sturdy shoes, a change of clothes, and a warm hat
  • Local map
  • Some water and food
  • Permanent marker, paper and tape
  • Photos of family members and pets for re-identification purposes
  • List of emergency point-of -contact phone numbers
  • List of allergies to any drug (especially antibiotics) or food
  • Copy of health insurance and identification cards
  • Extra prescription eye glasses, hearing aid or other vital personal items
  • Prescription medications and first aid supplies
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Extra keys to your house and vehicle
  • Any special-needs items for children,seniors or people with disabilities. Don’t forget to make a Go-bag for your pets.

It’s good to go through your kit at least once  a year, maybe twice per year.  Suggested days could be on New Years Day, or you could do it twice per year on daylight savings days.  If you keep foods, liquids and medicines in your kit, make sure to keep track of expiration dates.  I am considering purchasing MRE’s (meals, ready to eat) from the Army/Navy store, as they have a longer shelf life, and weigh less than canned goods.

Another thing I did was have a smaller version of an emergency kit that I carry in my car.  I picked mine up at Costco, and it was more for roadside emergencies, but I included some first aide items, hygiene items, a mask, gloves, water, flashlight, batteries, and a blanket.


Please don’t wait until a disaster strikes around you before you decide to take action…get prepared today!  Be safe!