I live in Vancouver, BC, a city near the edge of two of these tectonic plates: the massive North American plate, and the smaller Juan de Fuca plate. There is a good chance that me, and my loved ones are going to live though a large earthquake in my lifetime.
Research shows that there is a 1 in 4 chance that we will have another major earthquake within the next 50 years. Source A active list of Earthquakes that have happened in the last 30 days in BC.
This lead me to build my own earthquake kits. I found that most of the items need in my spare parts bins from previous projects. Other items I purchased from China as I was in no hurry to get these done. I tried to optimize for space and weight.
Below is what is in my own kit based on based on the recommendations from the City of Vancouver’s make a earthquake kit page.
- $6.93 FM Receiver, MP3, LED, USB, Recorder, SD card music player, USB charger - Super cheap but works. 1 full day of radio playback when fully charged. I filled the SD card with survival podcasts and some music. It uses the standard Nokia battery pack. I have a few hundred of these battery packs after the local Nokia development house closed down, so I added a few extra batteries.
- $5.30 18L Light Waterproof Outdoor Dry Bags - I been using these for camping for years now. Even at their price they have not failed me yet.
- $5.60 Knife, fork, spoon, bottle opener - A decent set, I likes these more then the cheap spork variant
- $3.00 Flashlight powered by AA batteries - I have used these flashlights in a film projects before. They are rugged and water proof. They take double AA batteries that should be easy to find even in a emergency.
- $1.96 Fire-Starter, whissle, compass, glass breaker - This device tries to be too many things at once. It works as a fire starter and whissle but fails at being a glass breaker or compass.
- $1.00 25ft of Paracord - I also use paracord for many of my decorative knot tying and lashing projects.
- $1.00 Protective Gloves - Great gloves, they have a good feel and rubber tips. Cheaper when you buy 25x
- $1.00 Pocket knife - Any salvation army will have these for cheap
- $0.50 Emergency Survival Rescue Blanket - Cheaper when you buy 100x. I used them as reflectors in infinity mirrors and home made blimps
- $0.50 Pocket Steel Wire Saw - Put one of these in the kits because they are cheap. I tested it out and I was able to get thought a 2x4 in about ~30 seconds, so they do work.
- $0.50 11 in 1 Multi Credit Card Survival tool - This is useless and I regret bying them.
- $0.25 each 4x Cheap Carabiner - These cheap ones will not hold your weight but they are useful for hanging things and attaching to cables, etc…
- $0.25 Dust masks - Simple paper ones, They are light.
- $0.10 5x garbage bags - Useful for a lot of things, including picking up trash!
- $0.08 Handheld compass - I had plenty of compasses left over from the compass table that I made a few years ago.
- FREE USB drive - I get these for free all the time. I added a encrypted archive and filled it with a list of emergency contact info, copies of Identification, insurance papers and other important documents.
- FREE Pencil/Pad of paper
- FREE Pack of paying cards - You can get these for free from casinos. Need something to pass the time with.
- FREE Thick plastic tupperware wear containers with a top - I like the Lock & Lock
- FREE matches or a lighter
- FREE Cell phone battery pack - Get these for free from conventions all the time.
- FREE A map of the disaster support hubs in vancouver
- FREE Information sheet about common solution to problems during a disaster
Total: < $30.00
Along with the kits I also included a checklist of personal things that they should add to the kit.
- Toilet paper, toothpaste, deodorant and other personal hygiene supplies
- Water - at least four litres per person, per day (half for drinking)
- Water bottle
- First aid kit
- Food - Canned foods, Chocolate bars, protein bars, Salt and pepper, Sugar, Simple spice, Coffee and tea, etc..
- Clothing - Jacket/coat, long pants, long sleeve shirt, sturdy shoes/boots, hat, and scarf, warm blanket. Enough clothing for three days, layers are good.
- Money ~ $300 (including coins)
- Cell phone charger.
- Pet needs, if you have a pet
- Baby needs, if you have a baby
Making a plan
Making a plan for emergency is just as important as the Earthquake kit. The Canadian government has good generator for making a emergency plan.
- Pick two meeting places where you and your family can get back together if you get separated - one close to your home, and one a little further away
- Ask an out-of-province relative or friend to be your family contact person.