Emergency Kits

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With news of the huge earthquake in Japan today (6.9 on the richter scale, 9 dead, 900 injured, nuclear reactor on fire and leaking radioactive water in to the ocean) it was time to redo our emergency kit here at home and remind all you readers again too. Have you refreshed yours lately? Have you even put one together yet since Mr. Markland and Mr. Bullock reminded you last year?

It’s been 13 years since the Northridge quake (6.7 on the richter scale), six years since 9/11 and only a few days since Chertoff had his “gut feeling.” Okay, I know that’s just a marketing ploy for the Bush Team, but still…just sayin’…it’s good to be prepared in So Cal.

The American Red Cross has a great list on their site as does the government. Most lists tell you to prepare for at least one to three days with water (1 gallon each person per day) and non-perishable foods, first aid kits, batteries, flashlights, radios, etc. When you are putting your kit together, you might find yourself saying “I can’t imagine my house will be so wrecked that I can’t go in and get X.” The point is, you have to imagine it so you will be prepared for the worst. That being said, it can still be kind of fun to get it all together.

After you prepare for you (and your family) — don’t forget your pets! Have plenty of food and water stored for them as well. Think about bowls for them to eat and drink from, kitty litter (with a tray), pet toys, blankets, etc. If you have pet carriers make sure they are near the emergency kit as well.

While going through our kit today I have some other suggestions:
•Can or two of sterno for heating your soup or spam (it could be winter when an emergency happens)
•Eating utensils
•Work gloves
•Hats
•Corkscrew/can opener
•Deck of cards and other small games
‚Ä¢Small toys (we have army men in case it is “Red Dawn” type invasion and we need to strategize)
•Paper and Pencils
•Axe or hatchet
•Old towels
•Rope/twine
‚Ä¢Tent or tarp for outdoors in case you can’t be inside and aren’t going to a shelter (you should but I know some of you might not.)
‚Ä¢Instant coffee (look, even if it’s lukewarm, it will be sort of comforting to have that morning cup.)

Your regular supermarket and drugstore will have most of what you need. Sporting goods stores will have relatively cheap camping gear (bowls, cookware, lanterns, etc) and dehydrated foods (they last a good long while) and hardware stores will have other items you might want. Build it slowly starting with the absolute essentials then move onto making it even better.

in 1994 I lived alone in Santa Monica and was not prepared at all. I didn’t even have a battery powered radio and the only flashlight I had was a small maglight in my car. Luckily, where I lived was fine and the power was only out for a day. But that was a serious wake up call and while I didn’t build quite the kit we have now (thanks honey!) I did have more water stored and batteries and flashlights and radios around. It’s kind of fun to go and shop for the canned food. “Hmmm, when my kitchen is unusable and I’m sleeping in the garage, will I prefer cling peaches in heavy syrup or lite syrup? Spagetti-Os with alphabet letters or meatballs?”

Whatever gets you to do it, do it. Don’t be the douche that shows up at our “Power’s Out Let’s Party! Potluck” with your hands hanging. Not cool.

(photo of our kit before being refreshed today.)

4 Replies to “Emergency Kits”

  1. Just to add to the reactor leak bit:

    Uchino said the water contained a tiny amount of radioactive material – a billionth of the guideline under Japanese law – and is believed to have flushed into the sea.

    Sounds when just reading radioactive water leaked into the ocean. :)

  2. Having had the misfortune of being in the Valley at the time…thanks for your list.
    Don’t forget comfortable shoes in our car along with a few items like radio, flashlight, blanket and water just in case you aren’t home when it hits.
    In all you kits do not forget some kid appropriate items for them as well. An extra kiddy blanket, stuffed animal or whatever that you can get to in a mess but safely in the kit will make the trauma easier for them to get through it all. (My youngest was 2 1/2 for Northridge and walked around for months with a broom stating “the amessy broke all my cups”).

  3. When I moved to Wisconsin to go to grad school I read some “welcome to the midwest” article that talked about the winter driving kit one should have in one’s car. Reading that made me realize what a grave error I had made. I never want to live somewhere again where they suggest I keep a roll of toilet paper and a coffee can with a lid in my trunk “just in case.”

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