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The 7 Most Important Supplies for a Starter Earthquake Kit

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On Friday, July 5, Southern California experienced its biggest earthquake in more than 20 years, felt in places as far away as Phoenix and Mexico.

As a West Coast resident for over 15 decades, I know the constant, underlying anxiety that’s a part of daily living in earthquake country. Every time we hang on a mirror or set a glass vase on a shelf, we’re reminded that it’s not a matter of whether, but when the ground will begin shaking.

And so many men and women continue to be unprepared, since the long list of must-dos could be so daunting. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by emergency prep, don’t shut down. Rather, start small, and gather these seven essential things for your emergency kit. At Wirecutter, a New York Times firm that reviews and recommends products, we have concluded that building relevant tools piecemeal is a better bet than buying a premade kit. “Many contain products we know are not any good, such as economical collapsible water containers, junky radios and multi-tools, and flimsy flashlights,” said Wirecutter senior editor Kalee Thompson. “Meanwhile, we discovered the gritty, block-like food pubs weren’t anything you would want to eat unless you were actually on the brink of starving to death”

(When you’re ready to flesh out your kit with everything you will need, read in Wirecutter’s guide to the very best emergency preparedness provides . )

Water storage

It’s difficult to overstate the significance of water. Experts advocate 1 gallon per person, every day. The bare minimum to store is three days’ worth, but after a significant disaster, planning for two weeks’ worth of water is much more appropriate.

In tests, rigid water containers made from blue polyethylene consistently performed better than opaque collapsible ones for both storage and pouring. They provide more durability and leak resistance, plus they prevent bacterial growth.

A gas shutoff instrument

If you smell gas, turn off your line. But keep in mind you can not utilize an instrument to turn the gas back on by yourself, so if you don’t smell anything, do not turn it off–you might be without gas for days while waiting for technicians to service your property.

A simple crescent wrench ought to do the job. If you want a dedicated tool, Wirecutter recommends this gasoline valve shutoff tool, which was created by San Francisco firefighters in the aftermath of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake particularly for this purpose.

As soon as you’ve the wrench, learn how to utilize it. Locate your gas shutoff valve, then preadjust the tool (in case you're working with a crescent wrench), and keep it right there so you do not need to look for it if you require it.

Emergency radio

An emergency radio would be worth the investment. NOAA is a trusted source of emergency data after a significant catastrophe, but your radio has to be able to get VHF frequencies for you to listen to it. Wirecutter urges the Midland ER210, which receives both AM/FM signals and the weather stations. It’s possible to charge it in multiple ways, including solar, hand crank, and rechargeable USB battery. It can also work to control your phone.


Although any light source you have on hand is going to do in the event of a power outage—-a lantern, a flashlight, a candle—-a headlamp is the most useful lighting instrument in a crisis. Wirecutter urges the Black Diamond Spot, Together with extra batteries. Unlike a flashlight, it keeps your hands free, and after an earthquake specifically it’s sensible to prevent candles or matches in the event of undetected gas leaks, according to the Earthquake Country Alliance.

Following a significant catastrophe, there’s always possible for small wounds and fractures. However, a fantastic first aid kit should also be able to take care of other small maladies, like nausea, allergies, or allergies. Wirecutter urges the Adventure Medical Kits Sportsman Whitetail first aid kit, which can handle fundamental injuries (and much less common issues) for as many as four people.

Phone charger or battery pack

People today rely on their own calls and social media to communicate during and after a natural catastrophe, so it’s important to have a power source for your cell phone. Wirecutter urges the Anker PowerCore 20100 battery pack. It can charge a smartphone once a day for about a week, and it’s about the size of 2 decks of cards stacked end to end. When you stash it in your emergency kit, include an excess power cable for your device as well.

One of the most important things you can do to prepare is to designate an emergency contact for you and your loved ones. Tammy Franks, program manager for Home and Community Injury Prevention in the National Safety Council, stated,”I feel a household communication plan is essential to ensure number one, you understand how you’re going to get in touch with each other after a crisis.”

Decide on a contact who lives out of town. After that, write the number down and put it in your pocket. “So often we neglect’'t even understand each other’s telephone numbers any more, since everything is on speed dial,” Franks said. Be sure to coach young children who do not take a pocket to memorize significant amounts.

And lastly, understand that sending a text is better than calling: Texts have a higher likelihood of getting through when sign coverage is compromised, and it simplifies what small bandwidth there’s to get emergency responders.

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