How to Organize a “Grab & Go” Earthquake kit

The Essentials for an Earthquake Kit // How to Organize a "Grab & Go" Earthquake Kit //

As an Arizona native, the only emergency kit I ever needed involved extra water and a sun visor. If you are lucky enough to live in beautiful, sunny California, however, you’re familiar with our beautiful weather, an enchanting coastline, culinary and cultural treasures, and the looming threat of the occasional earthquake. Though it’s been a while since we’ve experienced a really big one, I want to take this opportunity to remind you be prepared, because you can never be too careful when it comes to protecting your family!


I’ll never forget the first time I felt one. I was sitting in the dentist chair on the tenth floor of a downtown high-rise, with a rather large needle about to enter my mouth. Just as the doc leaned over to poke me, I felt the chair I was in swing to one side, as the frames on the wall began to rattle. Feeling the entire building shake, I looked up to see a towering crane out the window swing past like a giant, and I really thought it was all over. The old building was built on rollers, so from the high vantage point, the feeling was really intense. The doctor started freaking out and told me to find her kids. What? I was convinced it was an attack. An earthquake didn’t even cross my mind. After jumping from my seat and standing the doorway for what felt like an eternity (it was about 10 seconds), the shaking building quieted, and all that remained was my panicked doctor, a few broken picture frames, and my toothache. Thankfully, we were all ushered out of the building and no one was hurt. I learned later that it was a relatively small quake, and that my boyfriend had, “barely felt it.”


Needless to say, we’ve been pretty lucky here in Cali of late, and I am not one to worry about what might happen, maybe. That was until I saw San Andreas. In case you haven’t heard and live under a rock (not to be confused with The Rock, cause then…), San Andreas is the blockbuster earthquake movie coming out today. The film is an action packed adventure that begins when the San Andreas fault triggers a magnitude 9 earthquake, leaving distraction and chaos in its wake. In the film, a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot, played by Dwayne Johnson, makes a journey across California to rescue his daughter. The edge-of-your seat film is a roller coaster ride that’s simultaneously thrilling, funny and heartfelt, but also a cautionary tale that reminds us all get off our butts and have a plan.


While much of San Andreas is fun and fictional, this is the only fact I needed to hear to get prepared: According to FEMA, Scientists estimate an 86% probability of a magnitude 7.0 or greater earthquake in Southern California over the next 30 years.


We don’t believe in scare tactics over here, our intention is to make it easy for you to get your family and pets prepared. There are a million posts out there with one million ideas for how to do this. Bud, at the emergency supply store told me that I should have one “Grab & Go” kit for my car, and a more elaborate “Home Kit” for the house. I am starting with the basic “Grab & Go” kit here, and I put mine together in just a few hours.


Here’s what you’ll need:


  • BACKPACK: In truth, you can use any bag that you have, or get a new one. The important thing is to make sure it is a bag dedicated only to emergency supplies. You have to be able to carry it, and easily store in your car. Featured bag by Herschel.
  • WATER: 1-2 gallons per person. Replace plastic bottles two years or buy some of this cool Blue can water that Bud sold me on with a shelf life of 50 years.
  • FOOD: Store enough non-perishable food for 72 hours. You can buy pre-packaged food at an emergency supply store or on amazon, but you can also add things like Peanut butter, canned food & juice, and power bars. I like this list from Real Simple.
  • FIRST AID KIT: You can buy a pre-packaged kit  at any neighborhood rite-aid or a specialty one like this. 
  • FLASHLIGHT (and extra batteries)
  • RADIO (and extra batteries): It’s important to tune to emergency chanels after a quake when power is out. You’ll need a battery opperated or hand turbine Radio. I have this one from Eton.
  • MEDICATIONS (prescription and non-prescription)
  • CASH & IMPORTANT DOCS/IDS: Keep some small bills and coins, birth certificates, medical cards
  • STURDY SHOES & CLOTHING: For each person in your household. I like these soft pink work boots from Safely Girl
  • TOOLS: Pipe wrench, crescent/adjustable wrench, lighter, matches (keep in waterproof container), & whistle
  • SANITATION & HYGIENE SUPPLIES: TP, hand sanitizer, toothbrush, deodorant and feminine products apply here


If you have small animals, it’s important to have an emergency kit for them as well. Here’s a list of items to secure for our furry friends:


The Earthquake Pet Kit Checklist // How to Organize a "Grab & Go" Earthquake Kit //


Pet Kit Checklist:


  • NAME TAGS & PHONE NUMBERS: for collars, carrier & harness
  • LEASH & CARRIER: If you have an old or extra carrier, store your emergency supplies inside so it is “Grab & Go” pet style.
  • FOOD
  • KEY PET SUPPLIES: feeding/water bowls, cat litter pans, can opener
  • CURRENT PHOTO: in case they get lost
  • FIRST AID KIT: bandages, elastic tape, scissors, tweezers, q-tips, anti-biotic appointment, saline eyewash & hydrogen peroxide


Keep in mind that this is your “Grab & Go” kit. Bud, at the Safe N’ Ready emergency supply store recommends keeping one backpack in each car you own.


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  1. Wonderful post! It’s nice to read the ideas on here. Good work here.


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