Prepare to survive: Building an earthquake kit

Prepare to survive: Building an earthquake kit
(Photo courtesy of FEMA)

Prepare to survive: Building an earthquake kit (Photo courtesy of FEMA)

MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, CALIF. -- The next phase of "Preparing to Survive" is building an emergency kit. There are many sources of information on state and federal websites that provide basic  recommendations on the contents of kits; however, keep in mind these are general suggestions.

A standard kit should be complimented with personal supplies that will increase your family's chances of survival during a recovery period. Families need to analyze their situations and determine what essential items are required in their kit. Basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones might be unavailable for days, so the kit should contain enough items to manage. A rule of thumb is ensuring the kit contains enough supplies for 72 hours.

The following are a list of recommended items to have in an emergency kit:

1. One gallon of water per person per day for drinking and sanitation

2. Three-day supply of non-perishable food, infant formula and diapers, pet food and extra water for your pet

3. Battery-powered or hand-crank radio ( *National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio with tone alert)

4. Flashlight, matches in a waterproof container

5. First-aid kit, medical essentials

6. A whistle to signal for help

7. Dust mask, plastic sheeting and duct tape to help filter contaminated air

8.  Moist towelettes, garbage bags and household chlorine bleach for personal sanitation

9. Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities, manual can opener for food, fire extinguisher

10. Local maps, emergency reference materials

11. Cell phone with inverter or solar charger

12. Spare clothes and shoes, sleeping bag or warm blankets

13. Safe storage of important papers, documents and cash

14. Hygiene supplies, eating utensils, paper and pens, activities for children

15. Extra batteries

Maintaining an emergency kit is just as important as building one. It is paramount to ensure perishable items remain current and if expired, replaced at the soonest opportunity. Make sure the kit is prepositioned in an easily accessible place and everyone knows where it is located.

Next week's article will provided more in depth details on food and water supplies.

Preparation is the key to survival and recovery. For more information, visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency website, www.fema.gov.

Again, I say, not if, but when.