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Mexico earthquake reminds you to prepare—now

San Francisco and the Bay Area are long overdue for major quake

Juchitan de Zaragoza, state of Oaxaca, where buildings collapsed after an 8.1 earthquake\ hit Mexico's Pacific coast.
Juchitan de Zaragoza, state of Oaxaca, where buildings collapsed after an 8.1 earthquake\ hit Mexico's Pacific coast.
Photo by PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images

An 8.1 earthquake jolted Mexico last night, the country’s strongest quake in 100 years. The death toll has climbed to 32, a number that could reach higher as search and rescue efforts get underway.

Now is the time to get your earthquake kit ready. Already have one? Update it with newly suggested items. Most of the stuff you might already have at home.

Experts recommend people to be self-sufficient for at least three days. After a major disaster the services we take for granted—running water, refrigeration, and connectivity—may be unavailable for days or weeks.

Store your household disaster kit in an easily accessible location. Larger contents can go inside a watertight container (or a large plastic garbage can with a lid and wheels). has plenty of information as to what you should include in your kit.

Your basic emergency kit should include these essentials:

  • Water - one gallon per person per day
  • Food - nonperishable, ready to eat, or requiring minimal water
  • Manual can opener and other cooking supplies
  • First Aid kit and instructions
  • Plates, utensils and other feeding supplies
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Water and food for your pet
  • Pet carrier

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Useful items to have:

  • A copy of important documents and phone numbers
  • Warm clothes and rain gear for each family member
  • Sturdy shoes
  • Heavy work gloves
  • Unscented liquid household bleach and an eyedropper for water purification
  • Personal hygiene items like toilet paper, feminine supplies, hand sanitizer, and soap
  • Plastic sheeting, duct tape, and utility knife to cover broken windows
  • Tools such as a crowbar, hammer, nails, staple gun, adjustable wrench and bungee cords
  • Blanket or sleeping bag
  • Large heavy duty plastic bags and a plastic bucket for waste and sanitation
  • Cellphone charger (batter or car plug-in

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One recommended part of your disaster kit is a go-bag, something to carry on your body if needed. Put the following items together in a backpack or another easy to carry container in case you must evacuate quickly. 72Hours suggests preparing one go-bag for each family member.

Suggested items include:

  • Flashlight
  • Radio - battery operated
  • Batteries
  • Whistle
  • Dust mask
  • Pocket knife
  • Emergency cash in small denominations
  • Sturdy shoes, a change of clothes, and a warm hat
  • Some water and food
  • Photos of family members and pets for re-identification purposes
  • List of emergency point-of -contact phone numbers
  • List of allergies to any drug (especially antibiotics) or food
  • Copy of health insurance and identification cards
  • First aid supplies
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Extra keys to your house and vehicle
  • Any special-needs items for children, seniors or people with disabilities. Don’t forget to make a Go-bag for your pets.

Be sure to make a plan with friends and/or family.

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