Earthquake Bedside Kit

If you live in a seismically active area, then you should know that it is a good idea to have the proper kits (personal, car, school, office/work), home food, water and other supplies as well as a family plan.

But have you heard of an earthquake bedside kit? Some of you have so this is somewhat old news to you, but to those who haven't I hope I can help you develop one.

This kit is not intended to replace your 72 hour kit, but rather to assist you in the event you are in your bedroom and are possibly trapped there during an earthquake. Normal earthquake preparations must still be adhered to such as not having mirrors or picture frames that can fall on your head etc.

However, even if you do all that is required you may still become incapacitated or trapped in your bedroom if the quake occurs while you are asleep. The kit will ensure that you will have what you need to survive until help can come by to pull you out from the debris.

Even if you are not trapped, there may be a lot of broken glass and it may be dark if at night and the electricity is out, so having a kit like this will provide some help for you to avoid possible injuries.

Below I'll give an example of things you may want to include in your kit. Add or change things as it seems good to you, but as in other places on my site, I advocate the principles in the elements of survival, or survival priorities.

The human mind and body have certain needs regardless of where you are or what emergency has occurred. The elements of survival take this into account so it is important to know about it.

  • A non-incendive flashlight if you use natural gas in your house, or the building where you live does. The reason for this is that normal flashlights that use an incandescent bulb or LED may produce sparks when switched on, and there is an element in the bulb that heats up to produce light using the older incandescent bulbs. An explosion may occur which is definitely not in your interests.

A waterproof LED flashlight may be sufficient because it is sealed, however it is not categorized as a non-incendive device so you must take responsibility if you choose this option.

If you want to use a headlamp, the same caveats as above apply.

  • A sturdy pair of shoes or boots or simply a pair of shoes, is what you'll see mentioned at times on other sites. We can do better than that. See the note below.

I recommend steel plated and steel toe boots, to protect against punctures through the soles, damage to toes if something falls on them, and ankle high to avoid twisting your ankle walking over debris. Some of the footwear available actually looks fashionable (not like actual work boots though you can definitely use those as well). Shoe style protective footwear exists as well, though you do not have the ankle support.

Do note however that some soles are not puncture proof, but puncture resistant, meaning you can't jump up and down on a nail if you know what I mean. Use care when walking about in debris, including in your home even with protective footwear, just in case and to be safe.

  •  A cellphone (mobile phone) with text message plan on your account (most have it, but some don't). Perhaps there will be a signal and you can call either locally (less likely due to high congestion on the network), or long distance (more likely, and a reason to have an out of state/province contact in your family plan), or text someone (also more likely both locally and non locally).

  • Portable Power Bank Charger (already charged) for your smartphone or regular cellular phone (be certain you have the proper adapter if not using Micro USB or the newer USB Type C).

  • Handheld transceiver (walkie-talkie). This may be a portable ham radio, FRS/GMRS or other type, to be able to communicate with the outside world. Have extra batteries.

  • Emergency blanket or similar product for heat retention if applicable.

  • Light stick. These cyalume sticks (glow sticks, light sticks) use non-toxic chemicals that are safe to use even if there is a gas leak, however they do not give off that much light and are better used as signals. You can use them however as a light, just don't expect too much out of them.

  • A quality whistle attached to a lanyard hung around the neck. The Fox40 Micro or Fox40 Howler whistle would be great.

  • High energy snacks and a water ration. Have enough for a couple of days.

  • Notepad and pen, if for some reason you may want or need to write something down.

  • A multi-tool.

  • Work gloves to protect your hands.

  • Dust masks

  • Emergency hood respirator to protect from any smoke if there is a fire.

  • Hardhat to protect yourself from falling objects, in or out of your home.

All of this can fit into a small duffel bag with your footwear inside of it. It's as you wish, however consider that if you place your footwear beside your kit there may be broken glass in your footwear after an earthquake, SO BE CAREFUL or perhaps you'll forget to check and place your foot in a boot with glass in it!

Add whatever else you feel would be good for you. And every member who is old enough should have their own kit as well and know how to use it. The family can practice this as a part of your preparedness plans.

Remember that no matter the scenario, wilderness survival, urban/suburban survival, coastal survival, ocean survival etc., you MUST understand the Elements of Survival to a 'T' so to speak. It is a method of thinking and doing things which includes preparing before an emergency, knowing what to do during an emergency to even getting things back to normal after an emergency, in dealing with the fallout or the effects of whatever has occurred.


Earthquake Preparedness Now

Some Things to Consider

If you are a smoker avoid smoking if you are trapped in your bedroom after an earthquake, in that you may potentially ignite a fire in your room with you trapped in it, and possibly with others of your family trapped in other parts of the house.

Having a fire to contend with while being trapped isn't doing anyone anything good. Also, you may affect your neighbors who may be trapped as well.

If you are using natural gas, or your building does such as in an apartment complex, all the more reason to avoid smoking. And remember to not light candles in such cases and to use non-incendive flashlights to avoid a possible explosion from sparks that may occur as you turn the flashlight on. This occurs within the casing and if you are using the old style incandescent bulbs, they contain an element that heats up to create light.
If you have a small dog, you can attach a small pinch light (or flashlight) and whistle to his/her collar.

In the event you are trapped anywhere in your house or apartment, your small animal might not be and can easily maneuver around fallen furniture and things and bring you a source of light as well as signaling.

If you try this with a cat, well it might work except cats tend to be more independent than dogs when you call their name, and may or may not come to you if you call them.

If you want you can also place your name, number and address in a small 'pill capsule' that can hang on the collar as well. The reason for this is that perhaps your animal might leave the premises and someone might see the capsule and know someone might be in need of assistance.

Even better is if you use the note and pen in the list to the left, and write information on your current condition and whereabouts and then place it in the capsule. This way anyone finding it will know that it is freshly written and pertinent, and also there is less of a privacy concern than under normal (non emergency) times to have personal information attached to your animals collar.

Having a PSK (personal survival kit) of some sort with you at all times, or having emergency items throughout your house or apartment, may also be an option so you can have things close to you wherever you may be if the quake hits and you are limited in movement.
What's in my bag? Earthquake Preparedness: Bedside Kit

Quote from the Office/Work Emergency Kit page

"If in an earthquake prone area a hardhat with sturdy work shoes or work boots would be great. In the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, some people only had flimsy footwear, including high heels for some of the women while treading on broken glass and other debris. Many fell ill to the problems associated with smoke and dust inhalation as well."