Are you ready for when a disaster strikes? Well, nobody is truly ever ready for disaster as they tend to just happen, especially earthquakes. Do you have a plan for when disaster strikes? No? Well, there’s no time like the present. Here are a few simple steps to help prepare yourself and your family for the more imminent dangers of California: earthquakes.

Build A Kit

Disasters have a way of wreaking havoc on our lives in ways we simply don’t think about during our day-to-day business. Tommy is obsessing over the new zit on his chin, Sally is stressing over her AP History exam, the laundry is running rampant and dinner is burning in the oven – who has time to think about not having running water or power? Prepping and maintaining a disaster kit will take this stress off the table. Include:

•One gallon of Water per person per day. Remember you’ll not just need water for drinking, but also hand washing and sanitizing
•Non-perishable Food (the fancy way of saying, Canned Food) and a hand operated can opener. Plan for a minimum of three days rations.
•Battery Powered Radio for updates and extra batteries to keep it alive
•First-Aid Kit
•Flashlight (get a real one and save the battery on your phone)
•Dust Masks (whether it’s fire or debris, protect your lungs in the aftermath)
•A Whistle to alert others for help
•Extra Chargers for cell phones
•Extra Clothing, Blankets, or Sleeping Bag
•Sanitary Wipes and plastic trash bags
•Local Maps
•Tools to turn off utilities once the initial crisis is over

Ready.gov recommends a Go-Bag for the home, work, and car. Once your kit is assembled, check in every so often to re-stock expired food and batteries, and update other essential items as your family grows such as diapers, bottles, and formula. Simplify the check-up by keeping canned water instead of plastic jugs. The aluminum can protects water from sunlight and air that can spoil the water making it last for decades compared to the mere two years one can expect at best with water stored in plastic bottles.

Don’t forget about your family specific needs such as medications, pet food, feminine hygiene products, glasses and contacts. Keeping cash or traveler’s checks can also help immensely in an emergency. A more thorough kit with activities for children, fire extinguishers, and more can be kept at home in a secure place that is known to every member of the family.

Discuss a personal plan with your family including what to do during an earthquake (Drop and Cover), where to go, how to stay in touch, and assign responsibilities to assist and ensure everyone is taken care of. Again, revisit and revise the plan from year to year. As your family changes, so should your plan.

Lastly, you can reduce the damage to your home from an earthquake by checking to make sure your home’s foundation is properly retrofitted and secure. A solid foundation is the basis of all future success. As the adage goes, Hope for the Best Prepare for the Worst. Start with a secure foundation from Build Strong Foundations.