Emergency 101: Earthquake kits, pet evacuations and new advice on the duck and cover


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Earthquake preparedness -- or our lack thereof -- has become the talk once again at dinner tables, around offices and on Facebook. Is a backpack better, so hands are free to carry a child or pet? Or maybe one doubles as a temporary toilet?

Is it better to keep the kit at home, at work or in the car? (The answer: All of the above.)


We recently compared some emergency kits, whose contents (whistles, light sticks, crank-powered mobile phone recharger) provided much food for thought. To answer questions about emergency kits and other ways every household can better prepare for an earthquake, wildfire or some other disaster, we’ve listed some links below:

Kits: Read a quick comparison of premade emergency kits, plus recommendations of items that you may want to add and a three-step emergency safety plan.

Kits, Part 2: An archived Times graphic offers more recommendations. Note that some of its suggestions (for example, the guideline of 1 gallon of water per person, per day) conflict with the advice from some local emergency officials (many of whom advise at least 2 gallons of water per person, per day). The best approach is to read the various recommendations, including those from the American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as local supplies such as SOS Survival Products, to determine what your household’s specific needs might be.

Home prep: An interactive graphic runs down ways to earthquake-proof your home.

Duck, cover: Experts recommend proper ways to take cover. (Hint: not in the doorway, as was once recommended.)

Animals: Thoughts on what to pack and how to protect family pets in an evacuation.

Field test: And, for a little levity to balance all the disaster talk, we offer this piece from a reporter who tested her emergency kit by trying to live off it. (Don’t miss pages 2, 3 or 4 of the text.)

Photos, from left: REI, American Red Cross, Mayday Industries