If you have ever been a member of an emergency preparedness team at work, you will know that it is a good idea to keep an emergency kit at the office. In the event of an unforeseen disaster such as an earthquake or tsunami, extra supplies will make a big difference after the incident. If a strong earthquake hit during the daytime you might be in your office building for a period of time or might have to leave immediately and walk out of the downtown and back home to the suburbs.
Here is a list of items that you can place in a kit. It’s not necessarily the ideal kit but it’s a good “guesstimate” about what is needed. Please refer to official sites (see Related below) for tips regarding earthquake kits for the office.
* First Aid Kit (Purchased at Canadian Tire. By Traveller’s/Voyageur. 44 piece kit including 10 antiseptic towelettes, 12 adhesive plastic strips, 2 knucklebands, 2 butterfly closures, 6 gauze pads 2 “x 2”, 1 scissors, 1 tweezers, 3 hand cleaning towelettes, 2 first aid ointment packs, 1 first aid tape, 1 pair of examination gloves, 1 gauze bandage, 1 first aid instruction and 1 nylon case.)
* 1 duffle bag (A back pack would be a good option too. Heavier items such as shoes, extra clothes and the helmet will be removed before you start walking.)
* 1 light draw string bag to keep the shoes and clothing items together
* 1 N 95 mask (Good for circumstances such as descending many flights of stairs in a high rise when there might be dust or smoke)
* extra plastic bag
* 2 light sticks (If you are trapped in a collapsed room they could come in handy when search teams come looking. )
* 1 Emergency blanket
* 1 small LED flashlight
* 2 500 ml bottles of water
* 1 pair of running shoes
* 1 warm hat
* 1 warm scarf
* 1 cashmere sweater (To go under suit and raincoat. In the summertime clothing requirements would change. For example, in British Columbia it can get cool when the sun goes down so a light sweater would be a good idea.)
* 1 pair of thick mitts. (Useful if you are making your way out of an office building and you have to pass potentially sharp pieces of ceiling material, glass etc.)
* 1 bike helmet (In Japan earthquake helmets are worn on the street to protect from falling debris. This was a problem for people walking through Tokyo during the 2011 earthquake.)
* 2 small packs of Beef Jerky and 5 small packs of crackers (This selection is very personal. If you are not a fan of easily stored, dried food, you can cycle through items such as tastier granola bars, cheese and cracker shelf stable snacks, etc.)
* 3 small tins of pears, which includes sweet juice. (No can opener required.)
* Lolly-pop candies (For a sugar jolt.)
* 2 ziplock bags. One for N95 mask and one to hold snacks.
* A whistle on a lanyard to attract attention to you in the event of a building collapsing around you.
* Women should include extra personal care supplies.
* If you use medication that is critical, it is a good idea to keep a small vial with extra medication in case you can’t get home before your next dose.
On the US Government FEMA “Make a Kit” webpage there is a suggestion that your office earthquake kit should sustain you for 24 hours. Presumably the idea is that you would be making an effort to return to your home. If you drive an hour for more to get to work it might not be possible to walk home. In that case, your kit should have more supplies.
If you haven’t built any earthquake kits, your work kit is a good place to start. Chances are you could be at work during a natural disaster and, unlike your home, there aren’t a lot of supplies that you could use to help you at the office.
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The BC government Go-To page with links for disaster preparedness. Each city or community will hold regular free lectures to give people advice about preparedness. Wherever you are living in British Columbia, search for information about your community courses on your local City website or call City Hall.
BC Earthquake and Survival Manual – A Guide For Protecting Your Family
Interactive photograph of earthquake kit
After the shaking stops – What to do at work.
What to do if you’re in your car.
Very informative video (produced in Japan). The first 5:40 minutes are about the Earthquake Early Warning System that they have in Japan. From 5:40 onwards there is useful information that anyone can follow.
2/3 of Canadians are not prepared for a disaster.