• Artist rendering of Pioneer Square during Klondike Gold Rush

    Klondike Gold Rush - Seattle Unit

    National Historical Park Washington

How to prepare for an earthquake

There are ways to be prepared for and minimize the affects of an earthquake. Recent events have shown that even in modern urban area everyday life could be severely hampered

The American Red Cross has compiled the following list for such disasters.

Communications | Water | Food | First Aid
Sanitation | Tools and Supplies | Shelter and Clothing



  • Make sure everyone knows where to find your disaster supplies
  • Have a flashlight and a pair of shoes under everyone’s bed in case there is an earthquake during the night. Use a plastic bag tied to the leg of the bed to keep these items from moving during an earthquake.
  • Plan where to meet after a disaster if your home becomes unsafe. Determine the best escape routes from your home. Try to identify two escape routes.
  • Make sure each member knows who your family’s out-of-state contact is and instruct them to call this person and tell him/her where they are.
  • Locate the gas main and other utilities and make sure family members know when and how to turn them off.
  • Practice your evacuation routes, Drop, Cover & Hold and Stop, Drop & Roll drills.
  • Teach each member of your family how to use a fire extinguisher.



  • Store water in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as milk cartons or glass bottles. A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Hot environments and intense physical activity can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers, and ill people will need more.
  • Store one gallon of water per person per day. Don't forget your pets.
  • A water filter to process outside or rain water sources.
  • Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person (two quarts for drinking, two quarts for each person in your household for food preparation/sanitation).
  • Change this water every six months. Household liquid bleach to kill microorganisms:
    • Use only regular household liquid bleach that contains 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite. Do not use scented bleaches, colorsafe bleaches or bleaches with added cleaners.
    • Add 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water, stir and let stand for 30 minutes. If the water does not have a slight bleach odor, repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes.
    • The only agent used to treat water should be household liquid bleach. Other chemicals, such as iodine or water treatment products sold in camping or surplus stores that do not contain 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite as the only active ingredient, are not recommended and should not be used.


  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables.
  • Canned juices, milk, soy or rice milk
  • Sugar, salt, pepper
  • High energy foods such as peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars, trail mix; foods that will not increase thirst.
  • Vitamins
  • Foods for infants, elderly, persons with special dietary needs
  • Comfort/stress foods: cookies, hard candy, sweetened cereals, lollipops, instant coffee, tea bags.
  • Pet food, at least one ounce per animal pound per day.
  • While foods like rice, pasta and dry beans have long shelf lives they require a great deal of water to prepare.
  • Other canned meats or seafood, pasta, vegetables, and soups need less water to be prepared with or could be eaten cold
  • Remember to restock your food once a year.

First Aid

  • Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
  • Assorted sizes of safety pins
  • Cleansing agent/soap
  • Latex gloves
  • Sunscreen
  • 2-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • 4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • Triangular bandages (3)
  • Non-prescription drugs such as Pain relievers, Anti-diarrhea medicines, Antacid, Syrup of Ipecac (used to induce vomiting with the advice of a Poison Control Center), Laxatives, Activated charcoal (used with advice from the Poison Control Center)
  • Various roller bandages
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Needle
  • Moistened towelettes
  • Antiseptic
  • Thermometer
  • Tongue blades
  • Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant


  • Toilet paper
  • Soap, liquid detergent
  • Feminine supplies
  • Plastic garbage bags and ties
  • Plastic bucket with tight lid
  • Portable toilet seat to fit on bucket
  • Disinfectant
  • Household chlorine bleach
  • Plastic bags and scooper for pet waste

Tools and Supplies

  • Eating and Cooking utensils
  • Battery-operated radio or better yet solar powered radio
  • Flashlight or better yet crank operated flashlight
  • Batteries in all different sizes or better yet rechargeable batteries and a solar charger
  • Cash or traveler's checks, in case banks are closed in the days following an earthquake
  • Non-electric can opener or a utility knife
  • Small fire extinguisher
  • various hand tools; pliers, saw, hammer, axe, shovel, knife
  • Tape in various sizes
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic storage containers
  • Signal flare
  • Paper, pencil
  • Needles, thread
  • Medicine dropper
  • Wrench, to turn off gas and water
  • Temporary stove similar to butane camp stove

Shelter and Supplies

  • Tent and tarps to be used for tempoary shelter for entire family
  • Rain gear or large garbage bags for ponchos
  • Blankets or sleeping bags for temperatures down to freezing
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Reading materials and games
  • Extra butane canisters

Preparation for a disaster starts at home. Besides having an emergency supply cache you should also earthquake proof by identifying potential hazards.

  • Move beds away from windows.
  • Move mirrors and heavy pictures away from couches or places where people sit.
  • Clear hallways and exits for easy evacuation.
  • Store heavy items on the lowest shelves.
  • Secure shelved keepsakes with hooks, tape, or putty.
  • Strap down your water heater and fit all gas appliances with a flexible gas supply line.
  • Secure pictures, televisions, computer, dishes, and wall hangings and use restraints to secure heavy items such as bookcases and file cabinets.
  • Store flammable or highly reactive chemicals (such as bleach, ammonia, paint thinners) securely and separate from each other.
  • Be sure your home number is visible from the street

Did You Know?