Having an emergency earthquake kit is essential if you are a resident of British Columbia. For years, we’ve heard lots of chatter about an impending “big one.” Below, you’ll find everything you need for your emergency earthquake kit - fingers crossed, that you’ll never need to use it!
If you’ve read our previous article [Link] you’d know that earthquakes are unpredictable disasters just waiting to happen. While we’ve discussed the basics of earthquake insurance and why earthquakes are so dangerous, it’s important to offer a solution to the problem as well. So before you today is a guide on everything you need when it comes to earthquake disaster kits.
To keep it easy and simple, we’ll start with the essential supplies you’ll want to have in your Earthquake kits.
All of these items are absolutely essential:
Extra pair of eyeglasses - Glasses can be pretty fragile; it’s good to have a backup if you can get your hands on a second pair.
You can have the fanciest, most expensive survival equipment on the market but that won’t do you much good when you find yourself hopelessly low on food and drink. When packing for a kit you want to think relatively small, nutrient-dense and most importantly, long-lasting. A nice chicken dinner may be good on a Sunday evening, but it won’t work so well sitting in a basement storage container for well over a year.
In an Earthquake having spare tools on you can be very useful whether you need to make repairs or clear debris. Having a toolkit on you can benefit both you and your neighbours in times of need.
Masks - With the recent pandemic masks probably aren’t in short supply at home, however
Work gloves - Handling debris such as broken glass can be very unsafe without the proper protection
Water purification tablets - Fresh drinkable water isn’t always a guarantee
Duct tape - Arguably the best invention since sliced bread
Small toolset (Screwdrivers, hammer, pliers, knife, nails)
Radios - Cell service won’t be a guarantee, having radios
Flare launcher - Lets you quickly signal your position to anyone within a few kilometres of you
Utility knife - Handy knife to have around for any cutting needs that may arise
Small Axe and shovel - In an earthquake there’s likely to be a lot of debris on the roads and around your property. Having either of these tools can speed up cleanup and clear roads.
Besides food and water, First Aid is probably the most important thing to have readied in any emergency kit you may have. Potential fires, injuries from falling objects, and scrapes/cuts from navigating dangerous terrain are all real possibilities you should consider. Keeping at least one first aid kit in your car or storage should be one of your first priorities when making an Earthquake kit. While you can buy a variety of first aid kits, it’s entirely acceptable to DIY.
Things to consider
Medical Scissors Useful for cutting gauze and clothes.
Gauze - A beefier band-aid for wounds.
Prescriptions - Running out of prescriptions in a disaster can be dangerous since refilling them can’t always be counted on. When storing prescriptions in your kit, keep note of their expiry dates.
Hydrogen Peroxide - Interchangeable to rubbing alcohol, it’s a good antiseptic.
Tweezers - Good for picking out splinters and shards of debris
Iodine - Another effective antiseptic.
Gloves - disposable medical gloves are useful when tending to others wounds
Emergency Blanket - A compact blanket that insulates heat.
Safety Pins - To help hold gauze together.
Neosporin (or its equivalent) - Scrapes and cuts will be a common occurrence, having a small antiseptic is great to prevent possible bacterial infection.
Pen and Paper
Allergy meds - If you’re dealing with a disaster, having to manage your allergies will be even worse with no anti-histamines
First aid guide - Misuse of medical equipment can be dangerous and ineffective, having a guide handy can prevent any issues.
Pets are an important part of the family, so excluding them from an Earthquake kit article would be silly. Here are a few things you should consider having on hand for your furry/scaly/smooth-skinned/feathered friends. It’s a good idea to have your animals microchipped and registered in case they end up in a shelter.
Collapsible Food and water bowl - Having small and collapsible bowls saves space
Travel size bag of 3 days worth of your pet’s food
At least 3 days worth of water - Your pets will need water as much as you so pack lots of water.
One or two of your pet’s toys
Recent photos of your pets - In case your pet gets lost, having up-to-date photos can help find them again.
Medication and copies of medical records - Medical records are good to have on hand if your pets need to be placed in the care of someone else.
Trashbags, doggy bags, cat litter - Don’t be that guy, pick up after your pets.
Leashes (if you need them)
Blankets - Good to have your pet lie on as bedding or to keep them warm and dry.
Vet contact info, feeding/medical chart information - As sad as it may be there is the likelihood that you will temporarily need to give up your
Carrying cage - Makes it a lot easier to carry your pet around, especially in dangerous or busy areas.
Mother Nature doesn’t follow your rules which sometimes means things don’t go as planned. It is smart to have a small grab & go bag in an easily accessible part of your home (such as under your bed) in case you need to leave at once. Think of the absolute essentials you may need if you have to leave your house for an indefinite amount of time.
Personal hygiene and toiletry items - Toiletry and hygiene items are a must to prevent illness and feel worse in an already bad situation.
A few water bottles
Non-perishable food items
Extra clothes and shoes - If your clothes get ripped, soaked or rendered unusable for any other reason having a spare can protect you from the elements and ease any discomforts. Also, make sure to pack lots of socks to keep your feet dry and warm.
Sleeping bag (put alongside your emergency bag)
Flashlight and batteries (or a windup flashlight) - While not as powerful a windup flashlight won’t have you worrying about batteries
multitool/Swiss army knife - Good to have on you since you’ll likely need it one way or another.
Portable Radio - Cell service in a disaster won’t always be a guarantee, especially if it’s a severe earthquake. Having a set of radios guarantees you’ll have some way to contact your friends and family if you get separated or need to be apart for whatever reason.
One or two personal belongings - Being away from home for an indefinite amount of time after a disaster can be a bleak and harrowing experience. Fit one or two small items in your bag
There is no one “true” earthquake kit you can make, there are plenty of different factors that should be considered when building your very own. Your town’s environment, seasonal weather, notable locations (such as the fire hall, community center, gas stations and nearest hospital), roads in and out of your city. Where you live can also help you figure out how big you should make your kit, if you’re in a rural or hard-to-reach area, you may want to make a much larger kit than someone in a close-knit suburban apartment. However, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and get more than you think you need.
Storage is also an important part you should keep in mind, especially if your kit has food. Keep track of the expiry dates on all your foods items, and make sure there are no accidental openings that could cause spoiling.
If you haven’t checked out our previous earthquake insurance article be sure to do so [LINK]. We never know when the next quake will strike and as the experts have been telling us for years it’ll probably be the big one. Looking into earthquake insurance can give a little peace of mind when it comes to expecting the unexpected.