Emergency kit essentials

Victorians were given a harsh wake-up call in the early hours of Jan. 23.

After a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Alaska and a tsunami warning followed, residents were reminded that we live in a dangerous part of the world when it comes to natural disasters.

VicAlert — the City of Victoria’s emergency notification system — was in high demand after 28,000 of new users flooded the site to sign up for the free reminder service, an increase of 455 per cent in a single day.

Despite this proactiveness, there’s a lot that could still be done. Honestly, how many of you reading this have an emergency kit prepared at home?

Even after hearing for years about the potential for “The Big One,” the proposed 9.0 magnitude ‘quake that has a 12 per cent chance of hitting the west coast within the next 50 years, I know I sure don’t. So, for me, and thousands of others who flooded Victoria’s emergency notification system with sign-ups, this latest earthquake is the rude reminder we need to prepare for “The Big One.”

A photo of the tsunami warning broadcast eary Tuesday morning. Are you prepared for another emergency? Photo by iSpeezy via the /r/VictoriaBC subreddit

Here to help you start are the essentials for your emergency earthquake and tsunami kit. While most of these tools may seem like common sense, surely you will be able to sleep easier at night knowing you have these supplies resting in your home.

Basic disaster supplies:

Water: At least two to three litres per person per day. This can be in the form of small plastic water bottles or large cartons of water for drinking and sanitation.

Food: Specifically non-perishable food, such as canned goods which won’t spoil once left in the kit before “The Big One” hits. There should be enough food to last for at least three days, in case you may be stuck awaiting the all clear sign.

Also, don’t forget to include a manual can-opener in the kit, in order to open the non-perishable food cans.

Medical tools: It’s critical to include a first aid kit, to access any initial injuries as a result of the natural disaster. These tools can be as simple as band-aids, sterile gauze pads, or adhesive tape, and don’t forget scissors to cut the bandage wraps off from the roll.

Personal belongings: Small amounts of cash, or money in the form of cheques, would be smart to pack away. Also, personal identification, extra keys for your car and house, and important family documents such as bank statements or insurance would be beneficial to tuck away, too.

Flashlights and Radioes: To finish off your kit, include a flashlight or radio. With these, you will be able to see in the dark and have access to radio stations that will provide updates on the situation.

If after reading this list you feel unsure about where to purchase all these tools for your emergency kit, there is no need to worry. There are plenty of places to purchase these survival tools in the Greater Victoria area.

Quake Kit is a local store located on Hamsterley Road in Saanich that offers all this necessary equipment and has an interactive website that offers emergency kits for online purchase as well.

The UVic Bookstore also provides emergency kits for convenience to students living on or closer to campus.

You’ll find that numerous grocery stores and supermarkets provide food, water, and first aid supplies that can be the core start to your kit.

Thankfully, this latest earthquake and tsunami scare didn’t end up impacting us here on the island, but it should be the reminder we all need to ensure we are safe once “The Big One” inevitably hits.

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