If you live in an earthquake prone area, you have probably experienced the occasional tremor. If you haven’t been through a major earthquake yet, you may take them for granted. What if a big earthquake strikes though? You need to be prepared. Power and water services could be interrupted for days or weeks, depending on the severity of the event, which means you will need to be prepared with some basic survival needs. Below is an earthquake kit checklist to help you prepare for potential disaster.
After an earthquake it may be difficult or impossible to find clean, safe drinking water. Because the human body can survive longer with food, but only a few days without water, it is the most important part of your survival kit.
· At a minimum, you need at least three days of water for each person in your family.
· Be sure to have at least a gallon of water per person per day.
· Women who are pregnant, or nursing, as well as children, may require more water per day.
· Be sure you have enough extra water in case of a medical emergency.
· If you live in a hot climate, you may want to increase the water by double.
· Unopened commercially bottled water is recommended by the government
· You can also buy water purification tablets to ensure your drinking water is safe.
· If bottling your own water, either buy food grade water storage containers or use 2 liter soda bottles.
· Never use plastic jugs that have had juice or milk in them. The sugars and proteins can’t be adequately removed to prevent bacterial growth.
· Thoroughly wash container with dish soap and rinse completely before filling your containers.
· If using your own containers, replace your water supply every 6 months.
As with water, you should have a three day supply of food per person. Some powdered drink mixes have calories and protein, such as whey protein powder. They take up little space making them ideal for disaster kits. You also need to be sure you have a variety of non-perishable foods that don’t need to stay cold. Store food that doesn’t need to be heated; even if you have a camping stove, you would need to expend water to wash it so it’s best to keep foods that don’t need cooking.
· Honey never expires, and has natural sugars, vitamins, and minerals such as B6, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acids, calcium, iron, niacin and more.
· Canned and sealed jar foods that are high in protein and vitamins such as beans, vegetables, and peanut butter.
· Whole grain cereals are light weight, don’t take up a lot of room, and are high in necessary fiber.
· If you have an infant, be sure to have formula in the kit.
· Be sure you have a can opener and eating utensils.
· Do not bring salty snacks or crackers – they will dehydrate the body and put a strain on your water supply.
There are several other items that round out the earthquake kit checklist that are essential for your survival after a disaster. Be sure you have all prescription medications your family takes, as well as a spare hearing aid or pair of glasses for anyone that wears them (including for contact lens wearers – you may not be able to adequately clean the lenses). Below are some other items you should keep in your kit.
· Diapers for infants
· Pet food and extra water
· Water proof container with important documents and records, list of allergies, photos of everyone in your family in case you get separated
· High quality first aid kit with enough supplies for everyone in your family, plus at least 1 person. (So for a family of three, you need a 4 person kit.)
· Feminine supplies and basic hygiene products
· Sleeping bag for each person (or a warming blanket)
· Household chlorine bleach with an eyedropper can be used at a ratio of 9 parts water to 1 part bleach for disinfectant.
· Waterproof matches
· Battery operated radio
· Extra batteries
· Dust Masks for each person – if using disposable ones be sure you have several per person
· Clean socks, warm clothes, sturdy shoes for each person
Having all of the above items in your earthquake disaster kit will ensure your family makes it through at least 3 days without power or running, clean water. Sometimes power can take longer than three days to restore though, so you might consider adjusting the amounts of items up to at least a week, and be sure you have water purification tablets on hand in case it runs longer than a week.