You’ve gathered your 72-Hour emergency kit supplies, so now it is time to think about where you will safely store your kits. Here are my thoughts.
• Plan to evacuate in only 5 minutes.
• Plan to evacuate on foot, but hope to evacuate by car. Not always possible.
• Plan who will be home and what time of day. In my case it could be me or my teenagers. I would be lucky to have my husband home, but I don’t plan on it.
• Find a storage location that is relatively safe from earthquake or water damage.
• The main floor or in bedrooms is best.
• Choose one central location where all family members know where to find items.
• Choose a location near a main entrance or exit.
• Think grab and go, not hunt and dig. You don’t have time to search in the garage rafters, attic or basement. Prepare in advance!
• Store kits in an area that has lots of wall studs for support, like a closet. My emergency supplies are in the coat closet by my front door.
• Don’t put other items in front of your supplies. The more buried it is, the harder it will be to grab.
• Put shelves in the closet. I bought a Rubbermaid shelf.
• Store inside the home where temperatures are cooler. Hot garages or porches can damage food and supplies, and so can insects and rodents.
• Garages are particularly vulnerable to earthquake damage; especially if there is a living space above the garage, so they can become difficult to access. Imagine your garage violently shaking from side to side ten times. What will it look like now?
Damage from the Oct 17, 1989 earthquake in San Francisco, M7.0 (Photo: J.K. Nakata, U.S. Geological Survey)
• Cars may be impossible to get out of a garage as frames shift. You may not be able to get your garage door open, so plan on it.
September 4, 2010 a M7.1 earthquake hit the Canterbury Region in the South Island of New Zealand. NZWood.com.nz
• Basements may become inaccessible in an earthquake, flood or other disaster. If this is the only place you can store items, keep them in an area you can access from a window or door. Not that deep dark closet that normally takes you 1 minute to get to, but 3 days to get to in a disaster.
• Plan to break in to access your supplies. Can you do it yourself? Where is your hammer, pry bar and work gloves?
• Move less important items out of an existing closet and into other areas of your home.
• Hang an Emergency Evacuation List in the closet so family members know what to grab first.
What to Take
If By Foot – 5 minute evacuation
72-hour kits (food, water, clothing, personal supplies, flashlight, radio, small first aid kit, etc.)
baby diaper bag
blankets (ours are in air compression bag)
important documents (copied or scanned)
coat or jacket
If By Car, add these – 30 minute evacuation
cases of water