Earthquake Preparedness: Part Two

Part One done. You know the risks and have an emergency plan (PDF, 1.9MB). Now it's time to rock Part Two and pull together an emergency kit for your family.

Thirsty work

You can do without a lot in an emergency, but water ain’t one of them. At minimum, you’ll need four litres of water per person per day for drinking, food prep and personal hygiene. For a family of three – like mine – that’s 36 litres over three days.

Rubba dub-dub, supplies in a tub

Rule of thumb is enough food and emergency supplies to support your family for at least three days. Make sure your supplies are housed together with your emergency water in an easily accessible location. Mine are at the front of our garage, and split between quake-proofed shelves and three plastic tubs. Here's what they contain.

Food:  High-calorie stuff, like chili, tuna and hearty soups. (Don’t forget the manual can opener!) Peanut butter, fruit bars, granola bars and crackers are a few more of my go-tos, along with chocolate. Never underestimate the soothing power of candy. A little treat can take the edge off, especially for kids. Speaking of which, if you have infants or toddlers, make sure to include formula, baby cereal, etc.

First Aid Kit: Basic kits cost between $20 and $30. You can augment them with extra tape, Band-Aids, polysporin and over-the-counter medications, like adult and children’s Tylenol.

Prescription Medication: If you can, have a supply in your kit. If you can’t, keep a copy of your prescription, dosage and name of the prescribing doc on hand.

Flashlights: One for everyone. We also have head lamps and a battery powered lantern.

Radio: A reliable radio is a must, hand crank or otherwise.

Batteries: Have enough for your flashlights and radio, plus full replacement sets.

Hygiene Items: Toilet paper, tooth brushes, tooth paste, bar soap, sunscreen, hand-sanitizer, garbage bags and feminine hygiene products. For littles, don’t forget wipes and diapers.

Dust Masks: Earthquakes kick up a lot of fine particulate. Masks are a must.

Cash (in small bills): ATMs will likely be down and stores unable to process credit or debit.

Seasonal Clothing & Footwear: Don't count on good weather during an earthquake. Be ready for wet and cold conditions.

Whistle: Ideal for signaling for help.

Phone chargers: Communication is critical during an earthquake. You don't want to be stuck with a dead battery.

Shelter & Cooking: I raided our camping gear and set aside the tent and three low-profile sleeping bags. A camp stove and propane canisters are also with our emergency gear. Just remember, if there’s no power, and you’re cooking on your camp stove, do it outside.