An earthquake of that size will probably damage and disrupt our water systems, sewage systems, electrical and gas utilities, telephone communications, and transportation and supply systems. Local grocery and drug stores, even assuming they could remain open, typically carry only enough stock to last about 72 hours. With everyone suddenly making a run on the few stores that might be open, their stock will be wiped out within hours. If we’re lucky, some of these stores will reopen within a few weeks. Some may not reopen for months. So, essentially, what you have on hand at the time of a major earthquake may be all that you can count on in the weeks that follow.
If you haven’t already prepared an earthquake kit for your household, the information below can help you put one together. Although there are additional items that could be in this list, only items believed to be essential are included here. Most can be obtained in local stores and, if not available, online.
The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) recommends that you should stock enough supplies for your entire household to provide for a minimum of three days. We recommend, however, that you stock for at least one week. Two weeks would be even better.
⬜ Water, 1 gallon per person, per day (see Water).
⬜ Food - Non-Perishable, Non-Refrigerated. Include a can opener if needed (see Food).
⬜ Twin-Bucket Toilet System (see Twin-Bucket Toilet System).
⬜ Hand-Washing Stations (see Hand Washing Stations).
⬜ Flashlights and extra batteries.
⬜ Lanterns and extra batteries (also consider solar-powered lanterns).
⬜ First Aid kit.
⬜ Gas and water shut-off wrench, non-sparking (know where and how to shut off all utilities).
⬜ Fire extinguisher, ABC type.
⬜ Backup battery/charger for cell phones and tablets (could be a battery-operated lantern with a USB slot).
⬜ Radio to monitor public information. Many suggest a crank-operated radio, however, a battery-operated radio, continuously operating, can about 10-18 hours, depending on battery size.
⬜ Cash, ideally in $1, $5, $20 bills.
⬜ Extra prescription medications.
⬜ Over-the-counter drugs for pain relief, anti-diarrhea, antacids or laxatives.
⬜ For infants: formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, and diaper rash cream.
⬜ For Pets: food with extra water.
There are many other things that could be added to this list to help ease the disruption of a major earthquake (such as a camp stove with plenty of propane and perhaps even a back-up generator). This list, however, focuses on the essential items you should have in your stock. Additional items cost additional dollars, with no guarantee that you'll actually need any of these things, at least anytime soon, if ever. Nevertheless, after a major earthquake hits, especially immediately after, it may be difficult or expensive, if not impossible, to obtain anything you don't already have.
After a major earthquake, due of the possibility of leaking gas, it is dangerous to light a flame indoors (such as for candles or a fireplace). First determine that there is no leaking gas around your property before you consider any open flame indoors.