Earthquake Preparedness and Safety – You Ought to Know This

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Yesterday morning we had the largest earthquake I’ve felt since moving to Los Angeles in August 2008.  For literally years now it has been in the back of my mind that I really ought to get prepared for a big earthquake.  Yesterday reminded me that I’m still completely unprepared.  I have assembled a basic list of items you’ll need in your earthquake kit.


Start with a basic kit from the Red Cross Store.

At the minimum, the American Red Cross recommends you have the following items in your emergency kit:

  • Water: One gallon per person, per day.  A three-day supply is recommended for evacuation. A two-week supply is recommended if you stay in your home.  Also, don’t forget your pets.
  • Non-perishable food: Easy to open and prepare food items are preferable.  Again – 3 days supply for evacuation, with at least 2 weeks supply recommended if you stay in your home.
  • First Aid Kit
  • Medications

You may not want to use a prepackaged kit – and are thinking “I want to assemble my own preparedness kit – what should I have in my emergency kit?”

  • Water
  • Food
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Medications and medical items (Seven-day supply)
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map(s) of the area

Go a Step Further.  Consider the needs of all family members, including children and pets, and add supplies to your kit accordingly.  Additional suggested items include:

  • Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, syringes, cane)
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Games, activities and comfort items for kids
  • Pet suplies (collar, lease, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  • Two-way radios
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys
  • Manual can opener
  • Whistle
  • N95 o4 surgical masks
  • Matches
  • Rain gear
  • Towels
  • Work gloves
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Household liquid bleach
  • Entertainment items
  • Blankets or sleeping bags

Remember to check your kit throughout the year to ensure that goods have not expired and that food is still safe for consumption.

I’ve assembled below some useful links that you might find helpful – I know I did!  Bookmark this page to keep this handy reference guide easily accessible.

Red Cross SoCal website:

Pet Preparedness:

LA Times Article: Preparing Your Earthquake Survival Kit


What do I do when the shaking starts?

Drop, Cover and Hold On / What to do if you are inside a building:

  • DROP down onto your hands and knees (before the earthquakes knocks you down). This position protects you from falling but allows you to still move if necessary.
  • COVER your head and neck (and your entire body if possible) under a sturdy table or desk. If there is no shelter nearby, only then should you get down near an interior wall (or next to low-lying furniture that won’t fall on you), and cover your head and neck with your arms and hands.
  • HOLD ON to your shelter (or to your head and neck) until the shaking stops. Be prepared to move with your shelter if the shaking shifts it around.

What if you are outside or in your car when the shaking starts?

  • Find a clear spot (away from buildings, power lines, trees, streetlights) and drop to the ground. Stay there until the shaking stops.
  • If you are in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location and stop. Avoid bridges, overpasses and power lines if possible. Stay inside with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. Then, drive carefully, avoiding bridges and ramps that may have been damaged.
  • If a power line falls on your vehicle, do not get out. Wait for assistance.
  • If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling rocks and other debris. Landslides are often triggered by earthquakes.

What did I miss?  Comment below with any other items that you think every emergency kit should have or any tips for what to do during an earthquake.


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