Earthquake Prep: Because Denial Isn’t a Plan

Earthquake prep kit

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Let’s face it: earthquakes don’t care about your busy schedule or your meticulously planned weekend brunch. When the ground decides to throw a tantrum, you better be ready. Here’s my quick and dirty guide to putting together an earthquake preparedness kit complete with a link to my Amazon store where you can find a lot of the items you will need.  You can thank me later.

Fact.  It takes a lot of earth shaking for us Cali folks to spring into action.  We don’t drop, cover, and hold on for anything on the Richter scale under a 5.0.  That said, when two or more earthquakes occur within days of each other in the same area our level of concern might go from ‘chile please don’t bother me about no 3.5’ to an actual eyebrow raised.

What I cannot understand is anyone over 40, from California, who doesn’t have an earthquake kit ready to go. You’ve been alive long enough to remember the Northridge earthquake and perhaps a few others. You really have no excuse.  Denial isn’t a plan.

Earthquakes Won't RSVP: Get the Warning App

My Shake App

You got a phone and there’s an app that can give you a few seconds warning when an earthquake over 5.0 is about to occur.

Download the damn app.

The MyShake app is a free app that provides earthquake early warnings for iPhone and Android users in California, Oregon, and Washington. The app uses ground-motion sensors to detect earthquakes and estimate their size, location, and impact. When it detects a significant magnitude, the app issues a ShakeAlert message to warn users before shaking begins. The app also allows users to share information about how much shaking they felt and any damage after an earthquake. 

I can attest to this app working because when that earthquake hit San Pedro a while back, I got the alert right before it happened.


If you live in Los Angeles, the City of Los Angeles uses NotifyLA to send alerts via many different systems. Create an account to receive NotifyLA alerts about local emergencies by phone, email, and/or text. Subscribe to alerts for your neighborhood, schools, businesses, and other locations that are important to you.

Earthquake Kit Basics

Being prepared for a major earthquake could mean the difference between you being a survivor or a victim of the quake.

I have one earthquake kit in my car and several kits in the house.  Since the Big One can happen at any time, for those of us who drive, it’s in our best interest to have something in the trunk in case we get stuck out there.  Real talk.

As for what I keep in the house, I do have one of those ready made earthquake kits you buy online.  I got mine from Amazon and have included it in my Amazon Storefront for you.  It was a good base for me to start from.  It includes all of the basics you would expect:

  • General personal hygiene items
  • Masks
  • Gloves
  • Water pouches
  • Food bars
  • Batteries
  • Flashlight
  • First Aid
  •  Water purification tablets
  • Emergency sleeping bag
  • Poncho
  • Body Warmer
  • Whistle

The basics. Like I said it’s a good base–a good place to start.  But we are all different and have individual needs that need to be taken into consideration.

Some of these ready made kits are more fancy than others.  And you have to take into consideration whether or not you care if the other people in your household have food and water.  If you do, then you need to make sure to order the right amount of kits to fit your household.  You’ll also want to consider how many days you want to be prepared for–worst case scenario. Do you want enough supplies for three days, 5-days, a week, or even longer.  

Got it?  Kit for house and car.  Figure out how many people do you need supplies for and how much supplies you need depends on how many days you want to be prepared for.

AA batteries

You need extra betteries

AM FM radio

Get an AM/FM radio

Bottled water

You can never have too much water

Hydrate or Die-drate

It is a fact that you can survive without food, but you will not survive without water.  The ready made kits do not include enough water for my comfort so I always have cases of water on hand in my house and water in my car.  And yes–I know all the warnings about plastic bottles of water in your trunk–but in the middle of a major earthquake–I’ll take my chances if that’s the only water I have access to.

In addition to cases of water, I invested in a LifeStraw water filter and water purification tablets.

Like I said, you can survive without food–but you must have water.

Gourmet Survival: Food Edition

Non-perishable food items are your best bet. Think canned goods, protein bars, and dried fruits. And don’t forget a manual can opener unless you plan on using sheer willpower to get those cans open. While you’re at it, throw in some chocolate; it’s an emergency, after all.  

A great philosopher who hailed from the streets of Pomona once said that if you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready. #earthquakeprep

First Aid Kit: Because Bandaids Won’t Cut It

A basic first aid kit should include more than just bandaids and antiseptic wipes. Add in some pain relievers, gauze, and those tiny scissors you never thought you’d need. 

Only you know what you will need.  For my earthquake kit I made sure to include:

  • Tylenol Extra Strength
  • Ibuprofen 600
  • Ibuprofen 800
  • Advil
  • Excedrin Migraine
  • Pepto Bismol
  • Tums

Now that I am thinking about it, I might need to add some ZzzQuil and St. John’s wort to mine. And maybe a defibrillator and some penicillin. Don‘t get me to going down the doomsday prepper rabbit hole!  It’s really easy.

It may be a disaster but I need to be feeling my best so I can get through it.  I live in Los Angeles aka Sodom and Gomorrah.  A major earthquake could easily morphe into the next installment of The Purge.  Who knows what bullshit I may have to fight my way through or run from.

Arm Yourself for the Aftermath

Speaking of fighting, don’t sleep on adding self defense to your earthquake kit, especially if you live in Los Angeles.  You’d be a fool not to.

Mace, pepper spray, a knife, a taser–hell a hammer.  I have watched enough episodes of The Walking Dead and other post-apocalyptic movies and series to know better.  This ain’t Mayberry.


Don’t Be Left Blind

So in the aftermath of a major earthquake, I’m not trying to be cute.  I don’t need  my contacts but I will need my glasses.  

For years I have used a system wherein whenever I get a new pair of glasses I put the old ones in my earthquake kits, plural.  I have spare eyeglasses in the car and in the house. That way if something happens to my current glasses during the quake and let’s say they get smashed to bits and pieces–I can still see.

Word to wise, don’t be left blind.  Us four eyes, need to make sure we are prepared.

Wardrobe Quakeover: Repurpose Old Threads for Survival

Another thing I do is take old sneakers, sweats, hoodies, tees, and jeans and repurpose them to my earthquake kit.  Again, not the time to be cute. I need to make sure I have clean draws (written like I meant it), a bra, socks, and clothes.

Find or get a duffle bag (check my Amazon Storefront), and throw your old clothes in there.

Cash is King

There won’t be any tapping, swiping, or Cashappin when the Big One hits.

ATMs will likely be down, and credit card machines aren’t going to work. Cash will be your new best friend. 

Keep small bills on hand because no one’s making change during an earthquake.

Tools of the Trade

A multi-tool can be a lifesaver. Include duct tape, a whistle (to annoy rescue teams into finding you faster), and plastic sheeting. Also, a wrench or pliers to turn off utilities. Basically, pretend you’re starring in a survival movie.  Some of the ready made kits include this, but double check.

Invest in a solar power bank and if you can swing it, a generator. Depending on how bad the earthquake is, it may really save your life.

Because Hygiene Doesn’t Take a Break

I may not be trying to be cute, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be clean.  

Consider that water might not be flowing and you might have to use bottled water.

Wet wipes, hand sanitizer, and a few trash bags can go a long way. You can put a few old towels and washcloths in that duffle bag too.  Don’t forget about bar soap.

And ladies who still have that annoying thing pop up once a month, yeah, prepare for that too.

The Flashlight Fiasco

When the lights go out, your smartphone’s flashlight app isn’t going to cut it. Invest in a good old-fashioned flashlight with extra batteries.

Quake Communications 101: Pack a Radio

A battery-powered or hand-crank radio with AM and FM bands can keep you informed when the WiFi ghosts you. 

Documentation Drama

Important documents like IDs, insurance policies, and medical records should be copied and kept in a waterproof container. You don’t want to deal with bureaucracy on top of everything else.

Pet Prep

If you have pets, make sure to include food, water, and any medications they need. Because Fido and Fluffy need to survive too.

The Comfort Factor

Now you will notice in my photo that I have a pack of some old ass and probably stale Newports in my earthquake kit.  Do I smoke cigarettes?  Not anymore, but I used to.  And planning ahead, because stress is a mother, I told myself, Jasmyne, you might want a pack of Newports to help keep you level headed.  For you, it might be a bottle or can of some alcoholic beverage. Do you.  Just remember, vapes can’t charge if there’s no electricity. Also, for my coffee drinkers, you will want to make sure that you have some instant coffee.

I didn’t grow up with a phone in my head.  I can read, play cards, and even write.  Imma be alright if there’s no electricity to power the wifi and television.  Think about that as well. 

Add a few personal items like books, playing cards, or a notebook. When the ground stops shaking, boredom could be your next enemy.

And ladies, it’s not a bad idea to throw a wig, bonnet, and scarf, in that kit along with some hair care essentials. I’m just saying.

Final Thoughts

Look, there’s going to be a whole lot of people just assed tf out in the aftermath of the Big One.  You don’t have to be one of them. Even if you just do the basic ready made kit–at least it’s something. 

A great philosopher who hailed from the streets of Pomona once said that if you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.

You can find almost all of the items I referenced in my Amazon storefront by clicking here.

May the odds be ever in your favor.

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