Earthquake Kits : A Guide to Updating Emergency Supplies for Home, Work and Car

Just when you thought it was safe to forget about those granola bars and canned peaches you meant to stock up on after the Northridge earthquake, along comes the deadly 7.6-magnitude quake that left thousands homeless in Mexico City. Think of it as a wake-up call. It's time to get serious about emergency supplies.

Earthquake preparedness consists of a series of precautions in the form of survival kits, which usually can be started or replenished with supplies already on the shelf. Preparedness also includes neighbors helping neighbors. Encourage the folks next door to update their emergency supplies too.


* State Office of Emergency Services Hotline: (800) 286-SAFE

* Emergencies: Dial 911 or listen to local radio stations for emergency hot line numbers.

* Orange County Fire Authority provides information and pamphlets and gives free earthquake or disaster preparedness presentations to any group of 20 or more. Homeowner associations and community groups are encouraged to participate. Information: (714) 744-0496.

* Check customer guide of Pacific Bell White Pages for tips.


Storing Supplies

Use a large container such as a footlocker or 30-gallon trash can, and label each food and water item with the date of purchase or the last date it should be used. Place the container in a cool, dark place, such as a garage, on something to raise it off the ground.


These are kept separate from the emergency kit in a spot where they can be easily located.

* Extra batteries stored in refrigerator to last longer

* Spare eyeglasses

* Fire extinguisher

* Wrenches to turn off gas and water

* Alternate cooking methods: barbecue or camping stove (with charcoal, propane or white gas supply)

* Tools: ax, hammer, crowbar, rope

* Tent and sleeping bag

* Work gloves, hard hat


Recommendations vary as to the appropriate amount of emergency food and water to store. Many experts advise one gallon of water per person per day for three to seven days. Also store enough food for the same period of time.

(Contents of kit)


Batteries, with tester (shelf life: 6 months)


Portable radio

First aid kit (shelf life: 6 months)

Antibiotic ointment

Adhesive bandages, gauze and tape




Rubbing alcohol

Cotton balls

Instruction booklet

Extra prescription medications


Instant food: cookies, crackers, etc. (shelf life: 3 months)

Water (shelf life: 6 months)

Water purification tablets

Manual can opener

Food and water for pets (shelf life: 6 months)

Dry food (pasta rice) - (shelf life: 1 year months)

Canned food (shelf life: 1 year)




Extra clothing, shoes

Pre-moistened towelettes

Items for personal hygiene: toilet tissue and heavy-duty plastic bags for disposal


- Foods with oil may turn rancid over time, so store only non-oily foods such as nonfat granola bars and dried fruit.

- In addition to a kit, it's a good idea to keep extra food on hand in the freezer. Without power, frozen food will keep for three days in an unopened freezer.

- Tap water can be bottled at home by adding eight drops of pure, unscented bleach per gallon of water before storing.



- Canned food, manual can opener

- Non-perishable food: instant nutrition bars, dried fruits, jerky, crackers or cookies

- Bottled water

- Extra clothing

- Sturdy pair of shoes

- Small first-aid kit

- Blanket

- Flashlight, batteries

- Toilet tissue

- Fire extinguisher

- Street maps


- Non-perishable food

- Bottled water

- Small first-aid kit

- Flashlight, batteries

- Portable radio and batteries

- Extra clothing

- Sturdy pair of shoes

- Pre-moistened towelettes

Sources: Orange County Fire Authority; Lafferty & Associates Inc; Governor's Office of Emergency Services

Researched by JULIE SHEER / Los Angeles Times

Note: Due to heat, items in car should be checked or replaced three times a year.

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