I was watching the news this morning, catching up on overnight developments in Japan.  CNN aired a video where the building was shaking and a roof was collapsing.  Gabriel, who is only four, asked me, “mommy, is our roof going to fall on us?”  I talked to him a little about what to do in an earthquake.  How he should get under a table if he could.  I didn’t want to scare him, but I do think maybe he’s old enough to understand.

Then later in the morning, I was talking to my husband about my conversation with Gabe.  We were discussing how we don’t have our own emergency kit.  We do live in Southern California, we are no strangers to earthquakes.  Maybe an emergency kit is a good idea, no?

So, my plan this week is to gather supplies for an emergency kit and then I want to start running drills with my boys.  We’ve talked some about what to do in a fire, but we haven’t talked about other emergencies, like earthquakes.

The website Ready.gov lists the following items to have in your kit: (click here for printable pdf)

Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit:

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

Additional Items to Consider Adding to an Emergency Supply Kit:

  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
  • Cash or traveler’s checks and change
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container. You can use the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) – PDF, 277Kb) developed by Operation Hope, FEMA and Citizen Corps to help you organize your information.
  • Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from www.ready.gov.
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

I also came across the Ready Kids website that has lots of child centered disaster tips and plans.  I love this website and it’s giving me some great activities that I can do with my boys to help prepare them for the worse.

My heart aches for the tragedy in Japan and as a mom, I just want to do what I can to help keep my own children safe.  I will get our plan together and I’ll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, let me know:  Is your family ready for an emergency?  Do you have an evacuation plan?  Do you have food and water?  Do your children know how to evacuate your home?