First, the bad news: It’s predicted we’re long overdue for an epic earthquake. Now, the good news: Prepping for this event is way easier than it sounds. Dedicate your lunch hour to ordering a few items and thinking through an emergency plan, and you’ll sleep a lot easier. (And be sure to listen to KPCC’s The Big One podcast. Besides scientific facts and useful tips, episodes include a riveting disaster simulation.)
7 Things to Know (and 2 to Do) to Get Earthquake Ready
Forget Making a Go Bag
Odds are, your home will be the safest place in the event of an earthquake, according to scientists such as seismologist Lucy Jones. So think in terms of home prep, with three days’ worth of food and water for each family member. We like this one, which includes a hand-crank cell phone charger and Marvis toothpaste. (You know, the essentials.)
Print Out This Document
Pour a glass of wine, read through this breezy yet substantive FEMA doc and fill in all of your family members’ contact info, then put it in a central household place. There’s even a handy card to keep in your wallet. Good job—you’ve faced the scariest stuff, so immediately get into a hot, de-stressing bath.
Get This Lifesaving Tool
The main hazard in an earthquake isn’t the earth swallowing us up in a gaping chasm—it’s blazes that erupt when gas lines leak and then catch fire. Hide a combo wrench in the bushes next to your main gas line so that you’re ready to give the valve a quarter turn to shut off the flow. (Psst… It’s so easy.)
Everyone Needs a Gallon of Water a Day
While most quake kits contain water-purifying tablets (and even bacteria-filtering straws), it’s easiest to have a gallon of water per person per day on hand in a closet or the garage.
Soothe Your Dogs’ and Cats’ Nerves
You’ll need emergency supplies (and maybe even first aid) for your animal companions, so order your freeze-dried food kits for Felix and Fido pronto. Maybe put a couple drops of an herbal relaxation supplement in their water too.
Your Car Needs Its Own Kit
You’re stuck on the freeway in traffic for half of your waking hours in Los Angeles—so why should the day of a natural disaster be any different? Ergo, you’ll want first aid, sanitation and enough food for you and a fellow traveler. Tuck this compact emergency essentials kit under the passenger’s seat.
The Easiest Prep of All
One of the most surprising injuries in an earthquake? Cuts on feet—which can lead to a life-threatening infection—when people wake up in the middle of a quake, jump up and scurry to safety over broken glass, shattered mirrors or splintered wood. Put an old pair of sneakers under the bed and forget them. You’ll remember them with gratitude in an emergency.