STEP 1: PROTECTIVE GEAR
You never know when a disaster will strike. Put a flashlight, leather gloves, sturdy shoes, and a P95 dust mask under all the beds in your household today. (P95 masks filter out smoke and are highly petroleum-resistant, ex. burning plastic.) Print out a copy of First Steps so that you have on hand a guideline of things to do following a major earthquake along with the OK/Help sign. Store handouts under your bed.
Remember to test the flashlight batteries. Attach two band-aids to the OK/Help sign that can be used as tape in an emergency.
Time commitment: 30-45 minutes
STEP 2: CREATE EMERGENCY EVACUATION PLAN
In a disaster, one of the first things you'll want to do is make sure that your loved ones are okay and that you have a plan to reconnect. Make a copy of this form. Fill it in as a household. Print out a copy for each person. Here is a helpful checklist from FEMA to help you make your plan.
The 10-minute evacuation plan is a list of things to grab if you need to leave in a hurry. Thinking about what you value is highly personal. It could be something of monetary value like a computer or a sentimental item. Here is a Fire Evacuation Checklist that you may want to print out. Put it with your First Steps handout.
Time commitment: 30-45 minutes
Further reading: Create your Family Emergency Evacuation Plan
Video: Making a Family Emergency Plan
STEP 3: WATER
It unlikely that you will have access to safe drinking water from the taps after a major earthquake. Staying hydrated is essential. Go through your house and look for things that you have in your house that will keep you hydrated, such as liquids in canned food and ice cubes. Hot water heaters often have 35-50 gallons. Make sure if your water heater is secured to prevent movement in an earthquake. Having extra water on hand is a must. It's recommended to have a minimum of one gallon per person for at least two weeks.If you have a beverage cooler, keep it filled. If you can afford buying a large water container, do it! Sporting stores often carry 5-7 gallon container or order a 50-gallon barrel on-line. If you have live close to a stream or you will need to be on the move, having a portable water filter like a LifeStraw is a good investment.
Time commitment: Variable
Further reading: Water Purification
STEP 1: GO BAG
A go bag is a bag that is packed with about 3 days worth of supplies to take care of your basic needs. Everyone in your house that is old enough to have a backpack should have his/her own go bag. Here is a list of things you can include.
Time commitment: 3-4 hours
Further reading: Build a Kit, includes information on kits for people with special needs and pets
STEP 2: FIRST AID KIT
It's important to have basic first aid supplies on hand for both home emergencies and disasters. If you have a car, have a first aid kit in your vehicle.
STEP 3: GET MORE WATER
Get more water! Have water at work and in your car. Stick a few 2-L bottles in your freezer to keep things cool and for added water.