43 things every Vancouverite needs in their earthquake emergency kit

Dec 20 2017, 3:24 am

If last night’s earthquake jolted you out of your sleep and kept you awake thinking about how unprepared you are for a bigger one, you’re not alone.

A survey earlier this year found that less than half of Canadians have an emergency kit, but the chance of a big earthquake hitting Vancouver in the next 50 to 100 years is less a risk and more of a probability. While Tuesday night’s quake was still moderate at 4.3 magnitude, the “Big One” is expected to be anywhere from a 7 to a 9 or above magnitude, striking in the Cascadia Subduction Zone or closer to home.


We could lose power and natural gas, bridges and roadways could collapse, damage could be in the multi-billion dollar range, and tens of thousands could be dead. The scary truth is that this could be reality at any given moment. Are you prepared?

The most important thing you can do before an earthquake hits is prepare an emergency kit with enough to supplies to last at least 72 hours without normal access to food, water, transportation, heat or electricity. If you are part of the half of Canadians who don’t already have one, here is everything you need to stay safe after a quake:

43 things to put in your emergency kit:

  • Water: At least 2 litres of water per person, per day. Therefore, a family of four should keep 20 litres of water on hand. That is at least one big jug of water, the size used in water coolers, plus two to three regular bottles of water
  • Non-perishable food: Canned food, energy bars, dried fruit and vegetables – and enough of it to last three days (replace food and water once a year)
  • Manual can-opener
  • Crank or battery-powered flashlight with extra batteries (replace batteries once a year)
  • Crank or battery-powered radio with extra batteries
  • First aid kit with:
    • bandaids
    • bandages
    • sterilized gauze pads
    • adhesive tape
    • scissors
    • tweezers
    • safety pins
    • instant ice packs
    • disposable non-latex gloves
    • antiseptic wipes or soap
    • pencil and paper
    • pocket mask or face shield
  • Extra keys to your house and car
  • Cash in small bills and coins
  • Contact information for relatives and neighbours
  • Other personal items if needed, like:
    • prescription medications
    • infant formula
    • equipment for people with disabilities
    • food and water for pets

Other useful items for your emergency kit:

  • Two extra litres of water per person, per day for cooking and cleaning
  • Candles and matches or a lighter
  • Footwear and clothing for each household member
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each household member
  • Toiletries
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Utensils
  • Garbage bags
  • Toilet paper
  • Water purifying tablets
  • Basic tools like a hammer, wrench, screwdriver, work gloves, pocket knife, and dust mask
  • A whistle and/or flare
  • Duct tape
  • Photocopies of all important identification for each household member, including health card numbers
  • A fire extinguisher
  • Battery-powered GPS device
  • Extra battery pack for cellphone and/or laptop
DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

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