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So Yeah, You Should Probably Have An Earthquake Kit

Here's how to pack everything you need in case of emergency.

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Monday morning, around 6:49 a.m., San Francisco was hit with a magnitude 4.0 earthquake.

Earthquakes are terrifying! If you're not prepared for the Big One to hit, making an earthquake kit full of emergency supplies is the best way to get started.

According to the most recent study from the U.S. Geological Survey, nearly half of Americans live in earthquake-prone areas. As such, those people should be reasonably prepared for emergencies.

People living in California, Oregon, and Washington should definitely make one. But it's good for everyone to have one.

"We have known about this overall risk for a long time," David Oglesby, professor of geophysics at the University of California, Riverside, told BuzzFeed. "Therefore, every family in California, Oregon, Washington, and even Nevada should have an earthquake kit handy, and it wouldn't hurt for everyone in the country to have one. After all, the kinds of supplies you would need after an earthquake are essentially the same as those you would need in any other natural disaster, like a hurricane, flood, and so forth."

1. Water.

BuzzFeed / Thinkstock / Michelle Rial

This is (obviously) one of the most important things you need in your kit. Prepare a gallon of water per person per day for at least 72 hours for drinking and sanitation purposes.

There are also some things you need to know about proper water storage. First, make sure you change it. And store it in something that will hold up or won't break in an earthquake; plastic bottles work fine, but you can also get something more multipurpose like the WaterBrick.

2. Food.

BuzzFeed / Thinkstock / Michelle Rial

Stock up your kit with nonperishable canned foods — again — for at least 72 hours. Oglesby also recommends you make sure to keep the foods up to date. "Make sure to rotate certain items like food and medicine out of the kits and replace them with new items," said Oglesby. "You don’t want expired food to be all you have to live on for a few days."

Additionally, keep in mind any special dietary needs of people who might reasonably be using your kit with you.

3. Which also includes pet food if you have a pet.

Don't forget about your pets! It's incredibly important that you prepare food for them in case of an earthquake as well. FOR AT LEAST 72 HOURS.

5. A first-aid kit.

Along with medications (prescription and nonprescription) and standard first-aid supplies, include dust masks and gloves.

8. Hygienic supplies.

You'll need the essentials: toilet paper, moist towelettes, feminine supplies. As gross as it might be to talk about, a bucket will come in handy as a designated waste receptacle. Include garbage bags, garbage ties, and disinfectant products, like hand sanitizer and even chlorine bleach.

And again, don't forget your pets: poop bags.

9. You'll also want clothing.

Include at least one change of clothing per person (it's best that it be a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and boots).

Additionally, think about your climate: Include sweaters, rain jackets, or any other cold-weather-climate clothing.

11. Lastly, include personal documents.

FEMA has created an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit that you can read to be more prepared, but the essential idea is to have your personal/financial documents and contact information easily available in case of emergency.

Documents include "Household Identification" (IDs, birth certificates, social security cards, pet tags), "Financial and Legal Documentation" (tax statements, housing payments, insurance policies, etc.), "Medical Information" (immunization records, copies of health insurance cards, etc.), and "Household Contacts" (banking institutions, health care and service providers).

Keep in mind, this is the bare minimum.


There are a lot of other things you can (and should) reasonably include in your own earthquake preparedness kits depending on other factors, priorities, and responsibilities in your life. Think about those things, and customize your kit to fully cover your emergency needs.

It's also a good idea to have multiple kits, because you never know where you'll be when an earthquake strikes. Oglesby suggests having one kit at home and another one in each of your cars. "You may well be caught in a disaster away from your home, and be unable to get home for days if roads and freeways are damaged," he said.