Our day of recent mini quakes here in Southern California shook my behind to finally make an earthquake kit. If you are one of my close friends you know how I’m always talking about the apocalypse and how I must be prepared to deal with anything thrown my way. So… here is Char’s Ultimate Disaster Kit which will hopefully get a family of four through the BIG ONE.
By no means am I an expert and I do not take responsibility if this kit does not get you through whatever disaster you are facing. This kit will hopefully get you through the apocalypse, earthquake, food and water shortage/contamination, fire, evacuation, snow in and flood. This list is not exhaustive but a guideline to get you thinking on survival and mobility. If there’s anything you think I missed please leave a comment and I’ll add it!
I am a backpacker and an avid reader/researcher/tv show viewer of all things apocalypse. My kit is built on the assumption that travel may be necessary so your kit should be mobile.
There are many online resources to get an idea of what to pack. These are just my ideas. My favorite websites for supplies are:
Here goes Char’s Ultimate Disaster Kit …
Immediately after disaster:
- Turn off gas. The gas company will have to turn back on.
- Evacuate if necessary. If your building is intact but you hear it’s kind of rickety then it’s probably safer to evacuate and use a “just in case” mentality.
- Treat any injuries. If broken neck or back is suspect it’s best to leave person as is unless you have to evacuate. If evacuation necessary try to stabilize neck and back with items you have around the house. Use an ironing board, brooms, sheets, towels, or anything else you can turn in to a makeshift gurney.
- Fill up every pot , pan and buckets you have with water. If the water is contaminated it will take a short while to be contaminated at your spigot so get it while it’s still fresh.
Leave a message with your out of state contact for family members to find out where you’re going and that you are OK. BEFORE disaster – It’s wise to pick a meet up place for different levels of disaster. Meet here for scenario 1, or here for scenario 2, etc. Be sure to communicate this with children. Also make sure your children have ID tags on with an out of state contact.
- One backpack for every family member that is of walking age for all the gear listed below. Find packs that have a chest and waist strap to help with load balancing and to keep the weight off your back. The packs should be neutral. You don’t want your pack to stand out since it may be a good target for looters. The uglier and older the pack the better as it won’t seem as there’s anything useful in it. Kids can carry their favorite character backpack.
- Get a few large plastic totes to store backpack and assundries. This will help keep critters and dust out and might also protect from gear getting crushed.
- Find the strongest part of your house – it may be the garage, under the stairs, etc. If you don’t know ask a contractor to find out. Your kit is your life line and what will keep you alive. If you are vulnerable to flooding then keep packs in this same location but elevated at least 4 feet.
- Standard four family medical kit, it should come with all the essentials. Aim for a weight under 4lbs.
REI Backpacker Plus Extended First-Aid Kit
- Diapers – pack enough diapers and wipes to get you through 20 days. You may need a whole back pack for this. Also pack 10 prefold diapers and 2 water proof covers. If you run out of diapers these are your only backup. They can be washed in a stream or water source and hung dry.
Toys – Important to keep tiny minds occupied which helps them cope. Bring age appropriate light weight non battery operated toys.
Birth – 3 years – Sophie the Giraffe, harmonica or musical instrument for parent to play, or a replica of their lovey or binky if they take one. And 4-8 years Coloring book and crayons, or card game like uno. Older children age appropriate paperback book or a journal and pen would be great.
- Carrying- For children under 6 and under 50lbs buy 6 yards of tightly woven fabric such as linen, split fabric in half lengthwise. Buy @ www.fabric.com. Now you have a wrap that you can use to carry your child. Learn how to do a front cross carry if your holing a backpack or a rucksack or back carry using a wrap if you’re not holding a backpack. Check youtube for tutorials. If you have money to spare I recommend an ERGO baby carrier as these are front and back compatible and are great at keeping the weight off your back.
me doing a front carry and pics 2-4 from my baby wearing mama’s group doing various back carries.
- Keep one 3 litre water bladders find at REI per back pack immediately fill with tap water after disaster. Tap water contains small traces of chlorine which will help prevent mildew. Specialty backpacking/hiking bladders also contain special germicidal coatings which also help keep water fresh. So splurge a little. Do not store bladders with water.
Platypus Hoser 3.0L Reservoir – 100 fl. oz.
- Store enough water for four days at least 1 gallon of water per person/day. So a family of four would require 16 gallons of water. You can store water in specialty barrels found online or by using 5 gallon bottles that you can get from water stores or service companies like Arrowhead. Water should be changed every six months.
What I do is keep four 5 gallon water bottles. We use one bottle of water for every day family use and rotate between these four bottles. So at any given time we will have three five gallon bottles of fresh water.
- Water purification system – these kill protozoa, bacteria, and make the water potable.
Katadyn MyBottle Water Purifier
Water purification tablets but these have to be replaced every four years. You still may have to filter the water.
Potable Aqua Chlorine Dioxide Tablets – Package of 30
- You can get a fancy filter to remove debris or you can pour water through a sift like a bandana. So pack one of the two items.
MSR MiniWorks EX Water Filter
SAFETY & ESSENTIALS
- $100 per person in small $1,$5, $10 denominations. Plus one roll of quarters.
- Gas masks for everyone. Get the appropriate sizes. Even earthquakes can set off massive fires from refineries, gas stations, etc. Keep your airways free from soot.
- Sturdy construction grade leather gloves for adults.
- Map of the area and map to local mountains or place where you think you could live off the land.
- Pack this survival guide book. BEFORE read the book and memorize what’s in it. It could mean the difference between life and death.
- Pepper spray – in case you run across any nasty people trying to steal your stuff.
- Whistle with compass – use this instead of yelling, and have a compass on hand to orient yourself if need be.
- Small hand mirror – to use as a reflector signal if need be.
- Waterproof matches – (do not light if there is any chance of a gas leak)
- Lighter -(do not light if there is any chance of a gas leak)
- Flint rock or magnesium fire starter – to be used if matches and lighter are exhausted
- Multi tool
- Carbon Knife – you might need to ward off angry looters or gut some fish or wildlife.
- Long burning Candle
- Bag for food and a rope – in case you have to hang food to keep critters out.
- Headlamp – get one for each family member. These have long battery life, are ultra light and allow you to have both hands free. (with extra batteries)
At least 25ft of sturdy nylon 1.5″ rope.
- Am/FM emergency crank radio
Eton American Red Cross Microlink FR160 Multipurpose Radio
- An emphasis on lightweight and nutrient dense foods should be made. Foods should be rotated once per year unless otherwise noted. If evacuation is not necessary focus on eating perishable goods first. Start with the refrigerator (open as few times as possible), then move to the freezer, and finally the cupboards. Be mindful of your water supply and avoid dehydrated meals since they in turn could dehydrate you.
Keep emergency food bars by MAYDAY on hand. A 14 day supply is recommended in case you have to head to the hills. If you are moving you’ll need extra calories. If you are stationary you only need 1200 per day. Adults 120lbs and under + children only need one 1200 calorie bar per day. Bars come in 1200, 2400, and 3600. To save money you can purchase 3600 bars and divide them into three. Replace every 5 years. Split daily ration into 6 pieces and eat every few hours. Here’s my recommendation for 2 adults (male 200lbs, female 150lbs) + 2 children under 11 (under 100lbs):
14 – 3600 calorie bars split in two
14 – 2400 calorie bars split in two
10- 3600 calorie bars – which you can use to barter for other goods.
- Formula fed and Breast feed Babies – pack enough powdered formula for 30 days. Replace every expiration date. Leave in cans but pack enough plastic bags to pour contents into if you have to evacuate. Cans will be too bulky. Even if you are a nursing mother, if you become dehydrated or exhausted your milk supply may diminish so you have to be prepared with an alternate. Babies 9 months and older can be fed small amounts of the MAYDAY bars and formula.
- Sterno Folding stove – since most likely your gas will be shut off. This will also be portable in case you have to head to the mountains. You can cook tea by stripping bark and pine needles off pine trees. Water and pine tea alone can keep you alive for six months.
- Sterno canned heat – you can fashion your own gel after this is exhausted if you can find some sort of wax + rubbing alcohol (reuse the canned heat containers). Keep a total of 12 cans in your pack.
- Jar of vaseline. Can be used as cooking fuel and multiple other uses.
lightweight cookware and eating utensils
GSI Pinnacle Dualist Cook System.
Snowpeak titanium spork – built to last and lightweight – Bring one per person.
- Find out where the nearest rescue shelter is. They will have food stores on hand or food will be coming soon. They also have access to first aid. Know where this is way before disaster strikes.
- A change of clothing for each person including a hat/underwear/socks/tennis shoes. Focus on multi use clothing like cargo pants that can be converted to shorts. If you live in an area with snow, keep snow gear packed.
- Plastic painters tarp, to be used under your shelter.
- Plastic rain poncho one for each person.
- Buy one bivvy sack per person. These are better than thermal blankets because they stay on your body. These are so light weight and are great if you have to go to a evacuation center or flee to the forest. They retain 80% of your body heat. You should also buy thermal blankets to put on top if you live in an area that snows.
Adventure Medical Kits Thermo-Lite II Single Bivvy
- If you want to avoid the crowded evacuation centers you can always camp. I would advise against this as gangs of looters and nasty people will try to steal your stuff. A shelter becomes necessary if you have to flee the city. This will sleep a family of 2 adults/2 small children or 3 adults.
Coghlan’s Tube Tent
- Shovel for waste and digging in a camp fire
Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel
- Biodegradable Toilet Paper – 2 rolls.
- Flannel rags to be used as an alternative to toilet paper 8 per family member. Use different prints to determine whose is whose. Things could get really ugly and you’ll have to prepare to use reusable items. You can wash four rags off once per day where you can find water. Hang to dry. These can also be used as panty liners.
- Box of baking soda. This can be used to brush your teeth.
- Tooth brushes.
- Metal comb
- Large Bottle of rubbing alcohol – to sterilize your hands or wounds.
Find out before hand if your local evacuation center can handle pets. If not, unfortunately most pets will be their own. I suggest only taking a trustworthy dog (weighing under 50lbs) that is able to walk off leash and only if you have to survive in the forest. They will be good for helping you track animals to eat. However pets require food and water and if you are willing to pack these items then you can take your dogs. Cats will be just fine on their own – if you have indoor cats let them out. If you do leave your pets make sure they are wearing identification with an alternate number out of state.
Pack 1 extra 3 litre water bladder for dog. Only allow dog to drink from streams that have quickly moving water and only drink near rocks. The same applies if you are filling your bladder for filtration and purification. Pack MAYDAY bars for your dog. Dogs should only need half a 1200 calorie MAYDAY bar per day – break it up into pieces and feed 3x per day. Its not the healthiest for them but its lightweight and will keep them alive.