In order to produce the podcast and keep content up free for you, I work with partners so this post may contain affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure for more info.

Earthquake in Virginia

Yesterday while the three of us were going around town taking care of errands (aka looking for an HP TouchPad) an earthquake occurred in Virginia. While we didn't personally notice it, our family on the Eats Coast certainly did and contacted us to make sure we were alright.

I'm happy to hear that there was no deaths and no major damage due to the earthquake.

Hurricane Irene This Weekend?

Unfortunately, the earthquake isn't the only news on my radar this week. Hurricane Irene is coming up and some of the models have it projected to hit the Outer Banks in North Carolina.

While our area will probably be spared the brunt of it, many people could need to evacuate. Considering the two big events of this week, I decided to review our emergency plan.

Emergency Kit Supplies

After you have a plan, many organizations like FEMA recommend having an emergency kit ready to cover the immediate needs of your family until help arrives.  

What do you need for your emergency kit? According to the Red Cross, here are some of the essentials:

  • Water—one gallon per person, per day (3­ day supply for evacuation, 2­week supply for home)
  • Food—non­perishable, easy­to­prepare items (3­day supply for evacuation, 2­week supply for home)
  • Flashlight
  • Matches
  • Battery­powered or hand­crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Medications (7­day supply) and medical items
  • Multi­purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map(s) of the area

In addition to the above supplies, depending on your family's circumstances, you may also need:

  • Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Games and activities for children
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  • Two­way radios
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys
  • Manual can opener

Should We Buy Preassembled Emergency Kits?

I know it sounds like a lot to buy and pack, but thankfully there are some good pre-packed emergency kits you can pick up at pretty affordable price. Here are some options to consider.

Just keep in mind, it's a good idea to ‘fill in the gaps' so your bags are customized for your particular needs. Medicine and clothes should be on that list, but you may need a few other items to complete your kit.

Find and Go to a Safe Location

If you're in an area where a disaster, like a hurricane, will strike, you should have a safe location planned to evacuate your family

. Most of our family lives relatively nearby, so their places aren't necessarily safer if we need to leave. Our best bet would be to head a few hours West to where a couple of our live. Should we need to head over there, we'd notify our families and give them another contact number to reach us by.

Protect Your Pets

Of course, if you have to leave, you'd like your pets to be safe. Before disaster strikes try to keep a list of hotels and motels that accept animals on the premises. You also want to have your local animal shelter's number ready in case you have to call to get other recommendations if your first few choices are full.

Make sure your pet is secure in a pet carrier in case they panic. You need to be able to keep them under control as you evacuate. If you haven't already consider getting your pet an ID chip or at least have their collar tags up to date with your contact information.

You can't afford to have a limited water and food supply and many mouths to feed. Your pets should also have their own survival kit.

  • Pet food
  • Bottled water
  • Medications
  • Veterinary records
  • Cat litter/pan
  • Can opener
  • Food dishes

If you can't take your beloved pets with you, call boarding kennels and make arrangements for their care. Have their medical records on hand to prove they are up to date.

Being Prepared For Emergencies

I'll admit right now, we aren't prepared as we should be with our emergency kit. Just because of the time involved in getting one ready with everything, I'm heavily leaning towards purchasing a kit a pre-made kit from an organization like the Red Cross.  We really would need to have something grab and go ready.

How prepared are you? Do you have a plan and kit ready for your family?

Photo CreditNOAA/NASA GOES Project

About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

15 comments add your comment

  1. This is a great list. I’m going to print it out and use it as a basis to put together an emergency kit, which is something I’ve wanted to do for quite a while. I had never even thought of getting a weather radio but I seem to see it more and more often so that will definitely be a must-have. Here in Michigan we don’t get hurricanes and generally don’t get too many earthquakes (though I did feel yesterdays) but tornadoes and blizzards do occur, so probably a good idea to be prepared. Thanks for these great tips!

    • Thanks MB! We need to get on the ball with this as well. Our emergency kit is pretty low right now.

  2. Hmmmm, geez! There looks like a lot of stuff going on. Hope the hurricane isn’t too bad.

    Why do you think there’s such a bad perception about earthquakes in California?

    Where are the meatballs in the kit?

  3. This is a good list – because of location, I’d include a few other things (more blankets) but I’ve been meaning to put one of these together as well, just havent done it yet.

  4. I’ve been meaning to get my ER kit together and just haven’t. Living in CA, I know that an earthquake could strike at anytime (technically!) Although I was in the Northridge quake in ’94 and I got by just fine without one. 😉 However, anything larger than that one would probably cause chaos and havoc. I really need to get it together!

  5. We always had an emergency kit as a kid. I really need to put one together for my family because it’s so important.

  6. We’ve always had emergency evac kits set aside. What got us started was taking an example from my great-aunt in California. She was always super-organized and prepared. Her earthquake emergency kits were packed in the outside storage shed in the yard, and even though she didn’t drive, she had a plan to leave the home by having several persons on backup that would drive her out, if necessary. First person to call would have been was her regular taxi driver that took her around for errands, second would have been neighbors, third was family (she was very independent).

  7. Thanks for the reminder. I need to start putting together an emergency kit. I’ve been a bit lazy because where I live is pretty insulated from all severe weather. I think I read this morning that we’ve never actually had a hurricane touch down; we’ve been in the path, but never the direct eye of a storm. I guess it doesn’t matter though. Being prepared is never a bad thing!

  8. Thank you so much. While I’m pretty sure Hurricane Irene won’t hit where I live in Northern Virginia, I’m still extremely terrified about what could happen. But what happens if you don’t have any relatives that live farther inland?

  9. We have an emergency kit ready, although this is a good reminder that it’s time to “change out” the water.