seismic haz
More info
for EPS 20
Richard Allen
Seismo Lab
Earth & Planetary
UC Berkeley

Disaster supplies for home

These guidlines come from the UC Berkeley Office of Emergency Preparedness.

Six Basic Supplies

There are six basics you should stock in your home: water, food, first aid supplies, clothing and bedding, tools and emergency supplies, and special items. Keep the items that you would most likely need during an evacuation in an easy-to-carry container – suggested minimum amounts/items are marked with an asterisk (*). Possible containers include:

  • A large, covered trash container on wheels
  • A camping backpack
  • A duffle bag

1. Water

Store water in sanitary, food grade plastic containers. 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, stress and intense physical activity can double that amount.

  • Store 1-2 gallons of water per person per day (2 quarts for drinking, 2 quarts for cooking, 1 gallon for hygiene)*
  • Keep at least a 3-day supply of water for each person in your household. (And don’t forget your pets – they will need food and water, too.)

2. Food

  • Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking, little or no water, and low in sodium. If you must heat food, pack a can of sterno, a camp stove, or barbecue. Select food items that are compact and light-weight. Include a selection of the following foods in your Disaster Supplies Kit:
  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables.
  • Canned juices, milk, soup (if powdered, store extra water)
  • Staples – sugar, salt, pepper
  • High energy foods – peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars, trail mix, vitamins
  • Foods for infants, elderly persons, or persons on special diets
  • Comfort foods – cookies, hard candy, sweetened cereals, hot chocolate, instant coffee, tea bags
  • Pet supplies (food & water)

Storing Emergency Foods:

  • Even if the electricity goes out, the food in your refrigerator will stay cold for 24 hours if the door is kept closed. Thus perishable food should be eaten first. Eat food from the freezer next. When those are gone, then eat non-perishable food in cupboard.
  • Most emergency food should be stored in a cool, dark place (40-60 degrees F)
  • Use a permanent marking pen to write the purchase date on each package. Rotate your supplies every 6-12 months to insure freshness.
  • Store food in air tight or tightly sealed plastic or metal containers. Take precautions to keep out insects and rodents.
  • Do not store food near gasoline, oil, or other petroleum products. Smells can be absorbed into the food.

Shelf-life of Stored Food:

Here are some general guidelines for rotating common emergency foods:

use within six months
  • powdered milk (boxed)
  • dried fruit (in metal container)
  • dry, crisp crackers (in metal container)
  • potatoes

use within a year

  • canned condensed meat & vegetable soups
  • fruits, fruit juices & vegetables
  • ready-to-eat cereals & uncooked instant cereals (in metal containers)
  • peanut butter, jelly
  • hard candy, canned nuts
  • vitamin C

may be stored indefinitely (in proper containers & conditions)

  • wheat
  • vegetable oil
  • dried corn
  • baking powered
  • soybeans
  • white rice
  • dry pasta
  • instant coffee, tea, cocoa
  • non-carbonated soft drinks
  • salt
  • bouillon products

3. First Aid

Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car/truck/van. A first aid kit should at least include:

  • First aid manual
  • Sterile adhesive bandages in various sizes
  • 2-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • 4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • Hypo-allergenic adhesive tape
  • Triangular bandages (3)
  • 2-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Needle
  • Moistened towelettes
  • Antiseptic
  • Thermometer
  • Tongue blades
  • Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
  • Assorted sizes of safety pins
  • Cleansing agent/soap
  • Latex gloves (2 pairs)
  • Sunscreen
  • Cold packs

non-prescription drugs:

  • Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Antacid (for stomach upset)
  • Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)
  • Laxative
  • Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)

4. Tools and supplies

  • Crow bar*
  • Shut-off wrench*, to turn off household gas and water
  • Axe, shovel, broom, rope
  • Compass and map of area (for locating shelters)
  • Signal flare and/or whistle
  • Flashlight, extra batteries, lightsticks*
  • Battery operated radio and extra batteries or solar radio*
  • Non-electric can opener, utility knife*
  • Fire extinguisher, small canister, ABC type
  • Tent, tarp, or plastic sheeting
  • Cash or traveler’s checks, change*
  • Plastic tape, papers, pencils
  • Matches in a water proof container
  • Aluminum foil and paper towels
  • Plastic storage containers
  • Barbecue or camp stove and fuel for cooking
  • Garden hose for siphoning or fire fighting


  • At least a quart of non-scented bleach* (replace every six months)
  • Toilet paper, towelettes*
  • Soap, liquid detergent
  • Feminine Hygiene Supplies*
  • Small plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)
  • Plastic bucket with tight lid
  • Disinfectant
  • Household chlorine bleach
  • Newspaper – to wrap garbage and waste
  • Large trash cans
  • Large plastic bags for trash, waste, and water protection

5. Clothing and bedding

  • Include at least on complete change of clothing and footwear per person
  • Study shoes or work boots*
  • Rain gear*
  • Blankets or sleeping bags*
  • Hat and gloves
  • Thermal underwear
  • Sunglasses

6. Special Items

Remember family members with special needs, such as infants and elderly or disabled persons, and don’t forget your pets.

For Baby/Children:

  • Formula/Powdered milk
  • Diapers
  • Bottles
  • Medications

For Adults:

  • Heart and high blood pressure medication
  • Insulin
  • Prescription drugs
  • Denture needs
  • Contact lenses and supplies
  • Extra eye glasses

Additional Items:

  • Extra house & car keys
  • Entertainment-games & books, children’s toys
  • Irreplaceable documents/jewelry, etc.
  • Extra leases for pets

Suggestions and Reminders:

  • Store your kit in a convenient place known to all family members. Keep a smaller version of the Disaster Supplies Kit in the trunk of your car and at work
  • Keep items in airtight plastic bags
  • Change your stored water and bleach supply every six months so it stays fresh
  • Rotate your stored food every six months
  • Review you kit and family needs every six months
  • Replace batteries, update clothes, etc…
  • Ask your physician or pharmacist about storing prescription medications