Earthquake Preparedness Guide

Be ready - just in case!

By Jennifer Hill - Macaroni KID Publisher Fremont, California September 5, 2021

In light of the recent natural disasters all over the country, I thought this would be a great guide to include on Macaroni Kid. I keep hearing that we are due for a huge one. What does that mean for us? Personally, I think it should be a push to put together an Earthquake Kit and be prepared, just in case! 

Preparing Your Home

Secure items that could fall or move and cause injuries or damage 

  • Bookshelves and televisions should be attached to the wall.
  • Hot water heaters and gas appliances should be bolted and braced.
  • Picture frames and other decorative items over couches and beds should be securely fastened to the wall.
  • Learn how to shut off the gas and water valves in your home and keep a wrench in a handy place for this.

Store Supplies and Documents

  • Medication and documents should be stored in a safe place. You should never let critical medications get near to finished before refilling them. 

Create An Earthquake Kit

  • See below for suggestions for your earthquake kit.

Have a Family Emergency Communication Plan

  • In the event of a disaster, cell service within the immediate area may be down. Having a friend or relative outside of your area as an emergency check in person is a great idea. Each family member is to call the friend or relative to let them know where they are at and what their plan is. This way each person who calls into the ER contact can be made aware of the info and everyone who has called in.

Talk About Earthquakes

  • Talking about earthquakes before they happen can help reduce fear, especially in children. 
  • Talk about what places are safest in each room of your home (under a large, strong piece of furniture is ideal unless you are in bed). If you are in bed, stay there, curl up and cover your head. Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it's safe to exit your home. Always use stairs and not an elevator if you in a building with an elevator.
  • Practice drop, cover and hold on in each safe place.
  • If you smell gas, get out of the building and get as far away as possible.

Remember Your Pets

  • Don't forget to have enough water and pet food for your pet's needs.

Prepare Your Earthquake Kit

According to, you should be prepared to have on hand enough food and water to make it on your own for at least three days, maybe longer. These supplies should be stored in a container that can easily be moved away from your home if needed. And keep in mind, you might not be able to drive your car. You might need to walk to a shelter or another place with your supplies. A wheeled, plastic garbage can is perfect for storage. 

Water and Food

  • Water Keep at least a three-day supply PER PERSON - at least one gallon each day PER PERSON. Children, nursing moms, and sick people may need more water. In warmer weather, more water will also be needed. You can purchase bottled water in the gallon or larger containers OR you can store water tightly in clean plastic containers (like 2-liter soft drink bottles).
  • Food Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable foods. Foods that do not require cooking and little or no water are best. Make sure to include a can opener, paper cups plates, and utensils in your supplies. Don't forget baby bottles or sippy cups, if you have little ones.

Food suggestions*

Ready to eat canned fruits, vegetables, and meats
Protein bars
Peanut butter
Dried fruit
Nuts and trail mix
Canned or bottled juice
Non-perishable milk (think boxed)
Baby foods
Baby formula
Cookies and snack foods

*I rotate through our earthquake food supply every several months and replace it and use up the foods before they expire.

First Aid Kit

Keep a first aid kit in your supplies. Things you should include:

Sterile gloves
Dressings to stop bleeding
Soap and antibiotic wipes
Antibiotic ointment
Burn ointment
Bandages of all sizes
Eye wash solution
Prescription medications (rotate these out due to expiration dates)
Pain reliever (remember children's pain reliever, as well)
First aid book

Other Items

Battery powered radio
Batteries of all sizes (stored correctly)
Matches in waterproof container
Fire extinguisher
Copies of important family records/documents in waterproof container
Whistle to signal for help
Tent, tarps or plastic sheeting to help create a shelter, if needed
Paper towels
Baby wipes
Diapers, if needed
Wrench to turn off utilities
Garbage bags
Cash or traveler's checks
Paper and pencils
Feminine supplies
Toothbrushes and toothpaste
Household bleach - unscented, regular bleach (diluted 9 parts water to 1 part bleach as a disinfectant OR in an emergency you can use 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water to purify water)
Dist masks

Clothing and Bedding

For each person, you should have the following:

One change of clothes
Jacket or coat
Long sleeve shirt
Long pants
A sleeping bag or blanket for each person

These are just some suggestions and something that my family chooses to follow. I don't want to live "paranoid" that the "big one" is going to hit us soon, but I also don't want to be caught totally by surprise and have serious regrets! If you choose to prepare an earthquake kit for your family and home, make sure to rotate the food, water, and medications to keep things fresh. I am not a professional in disaster preparedness, but I've lived in Northern California my entire life and have done lots of research on earthquake preparedness over the years.

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