We all know about the flashlight and the canned food, but here are 5 unexpected items that belong in your earthquake kit too

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In the West, we know a thing or two about earthquakes. Whether you are anticipating the big one to hit the Pacific Northwest or you have vivid memories of the ‘89 quake in San Francisco, preparation is key. One of the best things you can do is a have a well stocked earthquake kit. A survival kit should include enough food, water, and supplies for your entire family and pets for 5-7 days. In addition to all of the essentials like food, water, and shelter, you’ll also want to include some helpful lesser-known items. Pack a 12-to-15-inch adjustable pipe wrench to shut off the gas. One of the first things you should do after an earthquake is shut off the gas if you suspect the pipe has been damaged or is leaking. However, do not shut it off if you do not have a leak–it can take time for your utility agency to be able to turn it back on. Add bright spray paint to your kit to tag unsafe buildings or write an SOS message on the ground or rooftop if necessary. Keep backups of critical prescriptions and glasses, and set up a calendar alert to remind you to swap out the prescriptions, and canned goods, before they expire. Include a photo of your pet just in case you get separated. You can store it with a leash and pet carrier already stocked in your kit. Keep a flashlight and whistle in your nightstand to help you navigate without power and alert others if you need to. A whistle takes a lot less energy than shouting for help, and it’s often easier to hear. A large plastic bin that animals can’t get into is great for keeping your disaster supplies in one place. Store it in a garage or shed near an exterior door for easy access and peace of mind.

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