An earthquake emergency kit for our home

I spent some time putting together an earthquake survival kit for our home. Thanks so much to friends on Facebook for the recommendations.

I started out by looking at pre-made earthquake kits on Amazon like this one. It became clear that they don’t have nearly enough water, and the food is pretty gross.

So I decided to put this together myself. Here’s where I landed:


  1. I wanted at least 5 days of supplies at home. Who knows what the right number is. Most websites recommend 3 days.
  2. Some friends pointed out that with hurricanes there’s advanced notice so supplies can be moved in before the storm. Not true with earthquakes so you might be without help for much longer.
  3. On the other hand, we live in a dense city in a condo complex. Hopefully we’d get support via neighbors/first responders more quickly than if we were in a less dense area.


  • I decided to go with 1 gallon of water per person. That means 10 gallons for me and Kate over 5 days.
  • I read a lot about the short (6 month) shelf life of water in plastic containers and decided it’s all bullshit. Water has a long shelf life and I’m not going to worry about it.
  • We generally have a bunch of water in our fridge, and a few cases of La Croix on hand (seriously). I contacted La Croix about its potential use as emergency water but I didn’t get a response. I’m assuming it’s great :).
  • To supplement that, we purchased this 7 gallon water container for $15. We might refill it each year, but I’m not going to worry if I forget.


  • Most emergency food rations are expensive and taste like crap. People buy them because they have a long shelf life. So we set out to find a better way.
  • We went through our kitchen and found all the foods we already eat that have a long shelf life and lots of good calories. This included canned soups, canned chili, canned beans, cliff bars, and peanut butter. Buy whatever you already eat at home!
  • By having 30-40 cans of food in total, together with the normal food we keep in our fridge and freezer, we should be good for about a week even if we have no power to cook.
  • While most canned food should have near infinite shelf life, we will try to cycle through the cans and eat the older ones as we replenish with new purchases.
  • Make sure you have a non electric can opener. (And a non electric wine opener but that has nothing to do with food).

First Aid Kit

  • We purchased this 150 piece first aid kit on Amazon for about $20. I can’t say I was too particular about what was in the kit, although there’s a whistle and a compass which I thought was very smart.
  • There’s a solar blanket in our first aid kit, although since this is all at home we have plenty of blankets to keep us warm.
  • Lots of hand sanitizer.
  • N95 particulate respirators. These 3M masks have a valve to help you breath easily while keeping you cool.
  • A supply of pain killers and other medications is good to have. We felt like our general supply at home is probably sufficient.
  • I got a first aid kit for my car.


  • 115 hour candle and matches.
  • LED lantern. Shines super bright when needed, and up to 295 hours in low power mode.
  • Assortment of different flashlights to keep throughout the house and car. Minimize how many different battery sizes you need. I got a good pack from Costco.
  • Extra batteries for your flashlights and lanterns. I went with Energizers that have a 10 year shelf life (Amazon Basics only 3).

Phone power


  • Hand Crank FM/AM/NOAA Radio
  • You probably want to have a general set of tools if you don’t already. Hammer, screwdrivers, wrenches, etc.
  • We got a fireproof safe box similar to this one to keep important documents like passports, social security cards (why do these exist!!), etc.
  • $200 in small bills to use in case you can’t use credit. Also a hardware bitcoin wallet in case USD no longer exists ;).
  • Fire extinguisher. Something we already owned, generally good to have in the kitchen.

Everyone’s needs are different so here’s a link to a great post that goes into more detail on some other items.

This isn’t fun stuff to think about, but it’s hard not to after seeing the devastation from recent hurricanes and fires. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Puerto Rico, Texas, Florida, and Sonoma/Napa.

Please donate to Puerto Rico disaster relief.

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