24-Hour Earthquake Kit
Most of us realize how important it is to have a disaster kit at home. But it's equally important to have a smaller kit in your car. Here's a list of items for a 24-hour disaster kit that will fit in an easy-to-carry box or bag. You should have a kit like this, plus no less than a half-full tank of gas, whenever you drive in the Bay Area. Remember, the Loma Prieta earthquake happened during rush hour.
- Food and water. Include non-perishable, high-energy food. Water should be in plastic containers. Think about who could be with you when an earthquake happens and pack enough for everyone to last 24 hours. And don't forget the special needs of infants and persons with restricted diets. Replace the food and water in your kit twice a year.
- Sanitation supplies. Include an adequate supply of toilet paper and necessary personal hygiene products. Also include some paper towels and a small bottle of liquid soap or anti-bacterial lotion. Plastic storage and garbage bags that zip or tie closed are useful to collect waste. These bags can serve other purposes, too--for example, a garbage bag can be made into a rain poncho.
- Flashlight with batteries. Having fresh batteries is important. Remember to check them twice a year.
- Sturdy clothing. You could be forced to climb over debris after an earthquake, so pack a pair of work gloves. You should also have strong shoes with good soles. Be sure to put a pair in your kit if you often drive wearing high-heels, lightweight dress shoes or sandals.
- First-aid supplies. At a minimum, include latex or plastic gloves, antiseptic and an assortment of adhesive bandages. A small package of your favorite over-the-counter pain relief medicine may come in handy, too. If someone needs prescription medicine, be sure to pack enough for at least 24 hours.
- Blanket. Most sporting goods stores stock inexpensive, insulated emergency blankets that fold to be smaller than your hand.
- Emergency addresses and phone numbers. List the addresses and phone numbers of several neighbors and of the people you designated as emergency contacts on your child's school forms. With your family, decide on a person living outside the Bay Area to be an emergency contact and put that person on the list. And don't forget the phone number of your insurance agent.
- Pen and paper. It may be necessary to write down information or to leave written messages. You might also include a bright marker so your notes will attract attention.
- Money. Pack at least $50 in cash. Don't include extra bank or credit cards. You may not be able to use them if the electricity is off. Plus, you run the risk of having them stolen if the kit is in your car.
- Stress-busters. Include things that will help relieve tension and pass the time. Some ideas: a pack of gum; hard candy or lollipops; a deck of cards; small travel games for the kids.