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THE 6.6 QUAKE : On the Rebound: A Guide to Recovery and Resources : A Game Plan for the Future : What you need to have and need to know to be ready.

January 23, 1994

After every big earthquake, you say to yourself, "Gosh, I really ought to stock up on all those supplies I didn't have." Or: "Gee, it would have been nice if I had had a quake game plan with my family or with my neighbors." Time goes by, the next quake hits and there you are, without a flashlight and without a clue as to who lives next door. Here it is--what you need to have, what you ought to know before a quake comes.


The California Office of Emergency Services advises supplies for a minimum of 72 hours of self-sufficiency.


* A flashlight and fresh batteries or rechargeable flashlights should be handy in every room. It doesn't do much good if you are in bed when a quake strikes and your flashlight is in the kitchen.

* Three- to four-day food supply per person.

* Two gallons of water per day per person.

* Tools such as crescent wrench to turn off gas and water (learn how to use beforehand), hammer, screwdrivers (flat and Phillips), shovel, ax, crowbar.

* Portable radio and batteries. (Portable TV and batteries, if you want more than audio contact.)

* Water purification tablets.

* Fire extinguisher (learn how to use it beforehand).

* Manual can opener.

* Cash.

* Paper plates, cups and plastic utensils.

* Blankets.

* Comfortable clothes and shoes.

* Barbecue grill and charcoal.

* Matches.

* First-aid kit.

* Resealable plastic bags for human waste.

* Large trash bags.

* Thick-soled shoes.

* Heavy gloves.

* Newspapers.


* Keep gas tank full.

* Cash and coins.

* First-aid kit.

* Moist towelettes.

* Flashlight and batteries.

* Canned fruit and unsalted nuts.

* Manual can opener.

* 2 gallons of water.

* Essential medication.

* Portable radio.

* Toilet bags.

* Utility knife.

* Flares.

* Blanket or sleeping bag.

* Fire extinguisher.

* Screwdriver and pliers.

* Local maps.

* Extra clothes and comfortable shoes.

* Hat or visor.

* Whistle.

* Pen and paper.


* Extra clothes and comfortable shoes.

* Canned fruit and unsalted nuts.

* Manual can opener.

* Essential medication.

* Portable radio.

* Blanket or sleeping bag.


Because grocery stores may be closed for several days, experts advise keeping a three-day food supply for each individual. Here are some guidelines:

* Choose foods that store well without refrigeration, such as canned meat, fish, soup, macaroni, beans, chili, vegetables, spaghetti, ravioli, fruit, juice, nuts, peanut butter, jelly, pudding and dried milk.

* Store staples such as crackers, cereal, rice cakes, snack bars, dried fruit and legumes in plastic jars.

* Buy foods that are low in sodium. You don't want to deplete your water supply.

* Store food in a dark, cool area.

* Don't forget the fifth major food group: snacks. Chocolate can be soothing after a quake.

* Rotate foods once or twice a year to avoid spoilage.

* If power is out, first eat food from the refrigerator. Next, freezer food and lastly, non-perishables. (Frozen food lasts several days if the freezer door is kept closed.)

* Do not use canned foods that are bulging or leaking.

* Do not use food from open containers near broken glass or spilled household chemicals.

* Do not eat perishable foods that become warm. Bacteria grow rapidly without refrigeration and may cause food poisoning.


Keeping water in your body is critical. Symptoms of mild dehydration include impatience, fatigue, emotional instability and apathy. Symptoms of severe dehydration include headache, sunken eyes and cheeks, difficulty breathing, weakness, mental confusion and rapid but weak pulse. Here's what you'll need:

* 2 gallons of water per day per person.

* Alternate sources of water are soda beverages, melted ice or snow, liquid from canned foods, toilet tanks (not bowls)--a toilet tank can provide up to 7 gallons of water. Do not drink if chemical disinfectant or bluing agent was used.

* To rely on a hot water heater for drinking water, flush at least once every 6 months to remove rust and mineral deposits.

* Don't drink water stored in vinyl plastic containers, such as water beds.

* Quickly running water from streams should be filtered and purified.

* Dew does not usually require purification. It can be collected by wiping from low vegetation, rocks and grasses with a rag.


Dysentery, infectious hepatitis and typhoid fever are diseases that can result from contaminated water. After an earthquake, you can't assume water from water lines or reservoirs is pure. Instead, choose one of the following purification methods:

* Boiling--Boil water vigorously for five minutes. Without power, place a steel cup directly over hot coals until red hot, then place directly into container of water.

* Filtering--Allow collected water to stand for several hours to settle heavier particles. Pour the clearer water through a piece of cotton cloth so the suspended particles are filtered. Repeat until water is clear.

* Purification Tablets--Effective in removing most biological pollutants; available at drugstores.


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