California Earthquake

March 18, 2011

You know it’s coming – we’re way overdue.

The Big One. *dun dun duuuuun*

Check out this video with a geologist who predicted the last big quake in SF four days before it occurred in 1989:

He says on the 19th of March – my birthday! – there’s not only a full moon, but the closest approach of the moon til 2016, along with the equinoxal tides on Sunday. All of these factors may contribute to a quake. He says we have a probable seismic window between the 19th and the 26th of March.

Also, 3 out of 4 corners of a “Ring of Fire” – Chile, New Zealand & Japan – have all had large earthquakes in the past year. North America is up next.

Another possible indicator are the millions of dead fish in Redondo Beach and Mexico; changes in the magnetic field are precursors to earthquakes, and these often kill or disorient marine life. (Don’t forget that magnetic North has shifted at least 40 miles, messing up airports. “The latest changes are the most dramatic in a century – the pole had been begun moving to the northeast at about 9 miles per year in 1904 but since 2007 has been racing towards Siberia by at least 35 miles each year.”)

Whether or not we’ll get our big quake this month, if you live on the West Coast, you really should have an earthquake kit together. I imagine many people in Japan are wishing they’d taken a few hours on a Saturday afternoon to gather these potential life-savers.

For a basic kit, collect the items below (you can put items in a big plastic bin from Big Lots or Target):

  • Water
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Canned food: Beans, veggies, fruit, fruit juice
  • Nonperishables: Peanut butter, granola/power bars, crackers
  • Can opener
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries
  • Scissors
  • Band-aids
  • Antiseptic
  • Soap
  • Pain relievers (advil/asprin/tylenol)
  • Pliers
  • Tape
  • Matches
  • Plastic cups
  • Toilet paper
  • Plastic bags


That’s a good start. Pretend like you’re packing for a camping trip. Or Burning Man.


Here’s a full list of things recommended by the American Red Cross via SF Gate:


  • 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.
  • 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, soup
  • Sugar, salt, pepper
  • High energy foods such as peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars, trail mix; foods that will not increase thirst.
  • Vitamins
  • Comfort/stress foods: cookies, hard candy, sweetened cereals, lollipops, instant coffee, tea bags.
  • Avoid foods like rice, pasta and dry beans that require a great deal of water to prepare. Remember to restock your food once a year.


  • Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
  • Assorted sizes of safety pins
  • Cleansing agent/soap
  • Latex gloves (2 pairs)
  • Sunscreen
  • sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • 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
  • Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant


  • Paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils
  • Battery-operated radio and extra batteries
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • 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
  • Pliers
  • Tape
  • 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 


  • Toilet paper
  • Soap, liquid detergent
  • Feminine supplies
  • Plastic garbage bags and ties
  • Plastic bucket with tight lid
  • Disinfectant
  • Household chlorine bleach


  • Sturdy shoes or work boots (keep near your bed)
  • Rain gear
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Warm clothing
  • Sunglasses (keep your spare eyeglasses in the emergency kit, too.) 


  • Will, insurance policies, contracts deeds, stocks and bonds
  • Passports, social security cards, immunization records
  • Bank account numbers
  • Credit card account numbers and companies
  • Inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers
  • Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)

**Remember to include special needs family members such as a baby or an older person might have. It is also good to store in a water proof plastic bag important family documents (passports, wills, medical records etc.) along with your earthquake survival kit.


Happy quaking!


2 Responses to “California Earthquake”

  1. Lauren said

    do you have your earthquake kit together? I’ve heard people recommend carrying a mini one in your car too.

    • lunasealife said

      I heard about the car one, gotta get on that!
      And no, my roommates & I have totally been procrastinating. Luckily the earthquake seems to be waiting for us to get our shit together. 😉

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