I have a confession: I am utterly unprepared should a disaster strike. And yes, I live in Earthquake central. I posted a question to Parents Ask about what I needed to prepare for a disaster and I got some good advice:
So, what’s in your emergency kit? I am serious about getting mine together, and recommendations from my fellow parents mean a lot to me!
After Katrina, We got serious about the kits! I have no children, but have a special baby bottle nipple that will fit on any bottled water, because you never know who you might need to care for in a disaster.
After volunteering at Katrina evacuation centers and then living in Florida, I have an evacuation plan and a’ stuck at home’ plan.
I have a Evacuation Backpack that has (in water proof containers):
My birth certificate, Social Sec card, Rx, CASH, current pet vaccine info, and an old-fashioned address book ( so I don’t have to rely on my SIM card). This bag is kept in an easily accessible location but, in anticipation of flooding , at least 6 feet off the floor.
In the apartment, I keep non-electric can opener, a shit-ton of Pr0gress0 soup, energy bars and other non perishable things that I can eat without heating. I also keep about ten gallons of water on hand.
I also keep my gas tank as full as I can.
There is a lot more I could do (window ladder, radio, copies of credit cards) but I am glad I have the minimums covered for now!
We live in San Diego (also Earthquake Central!), and in addition to our own emergency kit for us and the baby we’re expecting in May, each one of our pets has his/her own emergency kit as well. Things like a blanket, a toy, food, chewies, a collapsible water dish, vaccination records, flea medication, heartworm medication, and at least a month supply of any other medication they are normally on.
Those silver blankets that keep you warm and rated masks to prevent smoke inhalation after the So CA fires in 2007 when I was pregnant and afraid to walk outside.
I have two children who are type 1 insulin dependent diabetic, so every year when hurricane season begins, we make darn sure we have enough supplies for 30 days, medication wise. After that has been accomplished, the food and water comes next, then first aid, tents, blankets, etc……. I have lived in Fla all my life almost so this is almost rote by now!
As an American Red Cross employee, allow me to direct you to our site that gives you an excellent list – Get a kit, make a plan, be informed.
Our basic rule is to have enough supplies for 3 days.
When I was a kid in California, we always had an “earthquake kit.” But my mom didn’t know that food in cans goes bad, and one night she used some beans from the kit to make dinner, because she’d forgotten some at the store, and we all got horribly, horribly, violently ill. So, all those years, that’s the only thing our earthquake kit ever got us – food poisoning.
Crank radio and crank flashlights. I can never remember to check for fresh batteries. I also have some cash, granola bars, canned food and always keep bottled water at home. Have fun packing.
We keep our E-kit in an animal proof rubbermaid container in the shed in our backyard. The emergency relief people in our city recommended this because during an earthquake your house might fall down and be inaccessible, so even if the shed falls down there is less rubble to move to get to the kit. I have been slowly building up our supplies by buying something each week with my groceries…that way it’s not a large cost all at once.
Shoes. I have this fear of having to escape quickly and discovering that the family is barefoot. Not sure how that would work out for Annabel logistically since her shoe size will change so quickly, but that is one of the top things on my list for a disaster kit.
Four Gambel Girls and a Guy - documenting the adventures we call life says:
I, like you, am totally unprepared for a natural disaster. Our natural disasters are hurricanes and they are a good sort of natural disaster to have because you have ample warning time of impending danger ~ like two to three days! Our big decision is whether to evacuate or stay and ride it and even if we decide to stay, we have about 24 hours to gather supplies and be ready! I stayed through Hurricane Katrina and decided “never again”! So, maybe you will inspire me to be a little more prepared!
We had an emergency-preparedness party, and each person brought 10 of the same item off an official list, then went home with a cooler full of one of each. It was only a start, but it helped us all start taking it seriously. I think the kits ended up having can openers, peanut butter, blankets, toilet paper, water-treatment pills, some canned food, tampons, and something else. Now, I buy stuff for the kits as it occurs to me (canned food, a radio, sterno, lighters/matches, etc.)
I don’t keep a lot of stuff on hand because our thing is hurricanes and I can get to the store at the first inkling ( I do keep a master list…need to find that actually). Also, my kids are older so I don’t need formula, diapers, etc – I used to keep powdered formula for emergencies (I used ready to feed regularly).
One thing that I do is keep all our important papers in one spot – birth certificates, social security cards, insurance policies, car titles,deed to the house,e tc – all that is kept in a small spacebag that I can grab and go if needed.
Lots of great ideas here. I did an emergency response stint for FEMA (before Katrina), and I’d add a couple of other things: antiseptic wipes, aspirin and caffeine pills (if you’re a coffee drinker–an emergency is the worst time for caffeine withdrawal), an extra pair of glasses if you use them, a comb, a few ziploc bags, and a few toys, including a stuffed animal, for your youngin’.
I also live in LA, and we have 4 kids and a dog, but are not prepared at all. In the ’94 quake I was in 8th grade and everything in our house broke and there was glass everywhere and for a few months afterwards we had flashlights and shoes next to our beds and bottled water and batteries, etc.
When I lived in Hurricane central (Florida) I found out what I really wanted during hurricane aftermaths:
Along with “typical survival stuff” (flashlights, food, medicine, etc)
-battery powered fan (and batteries)
-radio and batteries
-Charcoal (and a table top grill)
I also froze milk jugs of water…when the power went out I transferred two to the refrig. left one in the freezer…kept food fresh longer
-comfort food (snacks!!!)
I really like the Canadian website http://www.getprepared.gc.ca/
It’s got a list of kits on the left hand sidebar, and step-by-step guides on the right hand sidebar on how to make a plan and be prepared. It has lots of great tips without being too over-the-top for me.
In our bedroom we have a flashlight, gloves and a crowbar in case our doors get stuck. We have an old corded phone (and analog phone service) and will notify out-of-state relatives.
We have a gas wrench hung at the gas meter for quick shut off.
In our storage shed we have 20 gallons of water (changed annually), water purification tablets, backpacking water filter pump, flashlights, batteries, dehydrated & canned food, cat food & litter, propane for camp stove, camping supplies (cooking, sleeping), work boots, extra clothes, first aid kit, 5 gallon bucket with seat for camp toilet, tools, BOOZE and a fire proof safe with cash, passports, birth certificates.
In each car we have first aid kit, paper towels, wet wipes, purell, walking shoes, warm socks and hats, ponchos, emergency blankets, tools, work gloves, snacks, and 5 gallons drinking water.
In our bank safe deposit box we have videos of our house & possessions for insurance, & legal documents.
We have a plan to meet at local firehouse if our neighborhood is evacuated.
The hardest part is remembering to change the food and water each year!
so…maybe you are or aren’t a cloth diapers kind of person, but you might want to think about 1) having a disposable diaper stash good enough for 72 hrs or 2) having some kind of cloth diaper stash that would do you for 72 hours. we had the plastic pants, pins, cloth wipes (made from rags) and good old fashioned diapers you have to fold on hand. not a ton, just enough that we could wash them and be okay. diapers were my biggest fear for an emergency. (then you have to worry about sanitation which is actually the biggest emergency issue, more than food and water)
We live in the desert but we get crazy monsoons that can knock out power and/or create flash floods that catch you in your car otherwise unprepared. So we keep water, sunblock, snacks that won’t perish, batteries (I don’t know why…I suppose for those games for the kids that need ’em), wet wipes, band-aids and a list of telephone numbers (in case the cell phone battery has gone down), as well as umbrella and other car-related emergency stuff in our auto at all times.
When my kids were little we had extra changes of clothes and spare diapers in the car, along with close-toed shoes if we needed to trek through the desert or something. And a couple of ziplock bags and grocery bags for accidents and such.
OH! That reminds me. I have been meaning to put an extra roll of toilet paper in the car…because you never know.
my first earthquake was Loma Prieta in 1989. I lived in Los Gatos and was at home all alone with my toddler. Never so freaking scared in my entire life, ever. After that,i was very good about maintaining a well stocked emergency kit but living seven years in the Central Valley I have become rather complacent about maintaining an emergency kit. We don’t feel earthquakes here in the Central Valley…oh wait, we did have one last week and we do live on a flood plain that a mile from my home was under water 15 years ago. hmmm….perhaps i should restock my emergency kit.
I’m going back and reading all the comments for some ideas.
Looks like you’re getting great ideas, but I”ll throw in my two cents. I grew up with hurricanes and now live with tornadoes. My husband is a preparedness geek (love it!) so we each have a kit in our cars, and we have kits at home for us and our pets. We have basics – food & water for at least three days, medical supplies, extra shoes, flashlights, etc. If you’re a member at Costco, they sell ready-made kits. Hubby also scanned/encrypted all of our personal documents and put the hard copies in a folder to pick up at a moment’s notice. He also put some cash in the folder, too.
We started an emergency kit and its evolved into a huge storage room. we have 2 kids in diapers so i always make sure we have diapers in the house, but reading through all the comments, then lots of people forgot stuff like :
MRI’s. we have about 70 plus can of different food from emergncy websites (i.e. fruits, scrmabled eggs, rice).
Weapons. i am not saying a gun in the house in a good or bad idea, but in the event someone comes to your house because your fireplace/candles are seen, they dont care when they are hungry. its scary but its worth it. plus, what if a natural disater (we are thinking the 2012 thing) and you have to hunt your own food.
we have black spray paint for over all windows.
we keep ALOT of medicines in the house. and re-fill stuff like vicodin or amoxicillin even if we dont need them. they last a year, but its a good thing to have in case.
we anitcipate stuff like “what if a birthdya or holiday comes while we are stuck in our basemnet” so we have MRI cake stuff and cheap dollar store toys. i also garage sale and buy cheap toys for a rainy day and it can work both ways.
lots of batteries (for kids toys), water, dry milk
and since i have 2 young kids PLUS an 8 yr old step son, i saved all my old college textbooks plus kid related learning materials in case i need to start teaching him stuff. i also have a million books becasue if you are stuck somewhere for even a week, its going to get boring.
masks,shoes,waterproof matches,firesafe box with important pics and documents.
i suggest buying a deep freezer and making some different soups. freeze them and thats a few meals right there before getting into your stash.
trashbags, paper bags,tampons,TP, crank radio, and WATER AGAIN.
they say have enough for 3 days, but we are planning for 1 month. we know someone who has enough planned for 1 YEAR.
plus, if you buy all this stuff and nothing ever happens, then use the stuff thats going to go bad and go camping
I live in the Bay Area and made my emergency kits earlier this year. Filled up two heavy duty garbage cans that I insulated with contractor bags (to keep our stuff dry); taped with electrical tape and we store them in a hidden corner in the backyard. I ordered a lot of my supplies from an awesome website called quakekare.com – I found their prices to be very reasonable and the MRE’s and water has a shelf life of 5 years. I also recently created two “to go” backbacks with food & water for 3 days; extra shoes for the family & important paperwork. Also, $100 in small bills in case we can’t get to the bank.
We don’t have a lot going on in ND except for blizzards and tornadoes. Every time there’s a tornado warning we all hunker down in the basement. I always grab the kids’ blankets, shoes, my purse and car keys. Because if my house is blown away, by some divine miracle my van might still be sitting there, LOL.
I’ve been meaning to get a kit together for years now. I have the lists from the government suggestion websites and everything printed out, but I never get far enough to actually gather it all and put it in a plastic bin together. I definitely want the food/water, meds, hygiene, and flashlight/radio/tools in it. But my big thing is also making sure our very important documents are safe, which is a huge project in itself – I need to get everything put on a disc or flash drive and stored somewhere safe, in case something happened to the hard copies.
I’ll definitely be reading through all the comments here later to get ideas!
Peanut butter (shelf stable, sorry organic pb), baby wipes, water. And boxed wine. With a spout. Cuz yeah.
Oh you might want some diapers too. But other than that… lol
We clean out our emergency kits yearly. One thing I have found that I LOVE is we food save with our foodsaver the clothes – that way they are protected from the elements of rain and snow as well as bugs. If there was an emergency warm CLEAN clothes would be appreciated I am sure!
We also ALWAYS keep formula. Even though my baby is 5, we buy formula for the pack. You never know if you will have a baby visiting or just plain have one during the year and you need to be prepared (Even if you breast feed who can guarantee you will be there?!?).
The other things – peanut butter (good shelf life), tuna fish and then some other canned items. I try to get pop top but I do also have a can opener in the kits. We also include granola bars, fruit snacks and I like to try and put some freeze dried backpacking “just add water” meals to the packs.
The essentials of first aide, water purification tablets as well as a big bottle of plain old clorox as well as 5 of the 5 gallon water jugs are kept in and next to the kits. We do a kit for each member of the family with essentials in each one. We made some emergency fire canisters that can be burned indoor or out. You can purchase similar things at any big box store near the catering/party serving food/buffet stuff. (we also put one of these in our car during winter cause if we got stuck in snow…we would NEED something to help keep us warm. A flash light is great with extra batteries, 2 way radios and an AM/FM radio is also a great idea.
We always include some markers and coloring books for the kids and a couple card games are also in the kits. You will need something to keep your (and their) mind busy from everything going on around. It sounds like a ton but we have 4 packs cause there are 4 of us. Each is just a backpack, normal size and we treat each pack as if it were an overnight back country pack…enough for basic self sustaining ability (like each has a couple bottle waters as well as a little food and clothes).
It has been almost a year since I went through our packs so this has been a GREAT reminder that it is time once again.
Here’s what I’ve used: http://www.getprepared.gc.ca/index-eng.aspx. On the right hand side is the “72 hour” kit – it’s a good starting point!
Due to a completely rational phobia of earthquakes, I have had an earthquake kit since I was 14 years old.
It started with two flats of bottled water, hand-wound flashlight/radio, batteries, and a first aid kit.
That makeshift kit worked to keep me feeling secure until my kick-ass Grandma got me this badass DISASTER PREPAREDNESS KIT!!!!!
I keep a hearty supply of canned foods in the cupboards, and I have two big jugs of water in the fridge that I replace every 3 months for optimal freshness!
I will probably still die in the event of an earthquake.