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Here’s what you’ll need for an earthquake preparedness kit

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Experts recommend people be self-sufficient for at least three days following a major quake

A first-aid kit with a bag, can opener, flashlight, toilet paper, bowl, fork, toothbrush. Photo by Shutterstock

For the 30th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake—the 6.9 tremor struck October 17, 1989 shortly before game three of the World Series between the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants—Curbed SF will feature quake-related coverage looking back at that fateful day, and what you can do to prepare for the next big one.


Are you ready for the next big one?

You should be.

What happened in 1906 and 1989 will happen here again. Possibly bigger this time around. And sooner than you think. Which is why today—not tomorrow—is the right time to get your emergency earthquake kit ready.

Already have one? Great. Update it with newly suggested items. Most of the stuff you need 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).

72Hours.org 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

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 (battery or car plug-in)

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, hand crank, or solar 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. And do it now.

Another tip: Sign up for emergency alerts from AlertSF by texting your zipcode to 888-777. AlertSF will send alerts for police, fire, and medical emergencies in your neighborhood, major disruptions, and natural disasters.