How well you and your family survive a disaster such as a major earthquake often depends upon how well you prepare beforehand. Assembling a personal disaster kit is one way you can prepare for an emergency. Because you don’t know where you’ll be when an earthquake or other emergency occurs, FEMA recommends that you keep a disaster kit in your home, another in your car, and a third at work. Personal disaster kits should include the following, which can be stored in a small bag or backpack:
- Emergency food and water
- Non-electric can opener
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Portable radio with extra batteries
- Essential medicines
- First aid kit and handbook
- Spare eye glasses
- Whistle (to alert rescuers to your location)
- Sturdy shoes
- Emergency cash
- List of emergency out-of-area contact phone numbers
The Southern California Earthquake Center recommends that home disaster kits contain supplies that last at least three days, but ideally for two weeks. For water, this means that your home kit should contain one gallon per person per day (for drinking, cooking and sanitation). For further guidance, please refer to the publication Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country.
Use and replace perishable items like water, food, medications and batteries on an annual basis, or earlier, if warranted.