If you do nothing else for your kids, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE provide them a bed kit. The purpose of a bed kit is to provide quick access to the items you’d want immediate access to in the event of an emergency or natural disaster (most importantly for an earthquake) in the middle of the night. After all, we are most vulnerable at night. This is when we are sleeping, undressed, and our minds aren’t as quick as they would be if we were wide awake. We don’t want to be looking for clothes, shoes, flashlights, etc. immediately following an emergency…in the dark. And we certainly don't want our kids to be running around panicked in the dark without shoes. This is when it would pay to know that all the items we’d otherwise be looking for are right under our beds.
Did you know...
The most common injury during the M6.7 Northridge California earthquake in 1994 was glass in peoples feet? FEET INJURIES. How sad. Even if nothing else is in your bed kits, please at least put shoes in there. Shoes must be within arms reach. Following a big earthquake, such as the Northridge earthquake, windows are going to be broken and glass is going to be all over the place. The last thing you want to deal with during the immediate aftermath of an earthquake is your 9 year old (I have one of them) running into your room and not only panicked from the earthquake, but screaming because their feet are bleeding profusely from broken shards of glass. And good luck getting medical attention immediately following a large earthquake. Now you've got a serious problem on your hands. My kids know that the first thing they do is grab their kits, turn on their led lanterns, and put their shoes on. If there is nothing else you follow, please take just a couple minutes and make sure your kids have a bed kit and that they know how and when to use them. Have them run through it occasionally (with the lights off)...it will build their confidence. This is also a great opportunity to go over with them what to do during and after an earthquake.
It is almost always the case that the adults are helping the children, and therefore, the adult bed kits are much more entailed than the children bed kits, but by all means, build these up how you feel necessary for your family. This will take very little time to prepare and demonstrate to your family, so please take this time to do it. I've also created a youtube video talking about this. You can see it here:
Clothes (as necessary)- I keep the following in my kit, because in the middle of the night, I, like most people, am not wearing much.
Long Pants and a Belt
Long-sleeved shirt (for winter)
Short-sleeved shirt (for summer)
Shoes- This is an absolute MUST. Shoes are the whole purpose of the bed kit. You do not want to be running through the house in the dark after an earthquake in bare feet. Broken glass will be everywhere. Put an old pair of shoes in your kits so you know they will be ready whenever you need them.
Pocketknife- Not necessarily a must, but I like knives, so I include one in mine. Include in yours as necessary.
Work/Leather Gloves- In my opinion, a must. You can get a pair of leather gloves from Home Depot for around $10. Think about it...following an earthquake, you may have to move debris to get to your kids. Trust me, you'll be glad you had them.
Flashlight with batteries- This is a quick grab and go. I store my batteries in my flashlight so I know it is always ready to go. But if you do this, make sure you check the batteries periodically. If forgotten about, they will eventually die and corrode and possibly ruin your light. Bed kit and night stand lights are the only lights I keep in a ready state. Following an emergency in the middle of the night is not the time to be fumbling around looking for flashlights or putting batteries in your flashlight. Know where they are and know that they are ready.
Glow Sticks- 2 or 3 in each kit, especially for the kids.
Whistle with lanyard- One in each kit, especially for the kids.
N95 Respirator masks- Several as necessary. I keep a few of these in each parent kit. You never know if you will be dealing with dust or smoke following an emergency (earthquake especially).
Pry-bar- Useful for getting into locked or jammed doors, breaking windows, prying, anything to get to your kids and get them out of the house. Our pry-bars also have a gas shut-off feature built right into it (not shown above; I've since upgraded). So these pry-bars are, again in my opinion, a must. I keep a 15" pry bar in my kit as well as my wife's kit. The child kits do have one. As your kids get older, you may consider adding one to their kits.
Fire Extinguisher- I recently added a fire extinguisher to my kit only. It really is there for one reason, and that is now I know there is a fire extinguisher within arms reach from my bed. I could have just as easily put one in the closet, but I had room in my kit and it just made sense. If you don't put one in your kit, at least have one in your room. I'd rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it. This was added since the picture and video were made.
Storage container- I use long plastic storage bins with lids that slide under our bed for the adult kits
Clothes (as necessary)
It might not be a bad idea to have an extra layer stored during the winter months.
Shoes- An absolute MUST. Shoes are the whole purpose of the bed kit. You do not want your kids running through the house barefoot looking for you. Glass is going to be everywhere. Find an old pair of shoes that can always be in their kits.
Flashlight with batteries- Again, this is a quick grab and go. I prefer the LED lanterns for the kids. Store the batteries in the flashlight, but check/replace them periodically. Once the kids know they are there, the kids will use these lights more than you might think, especially during power outages.
Glow Sticks- Include several in each child kits. Make sure the kids know how to use them.
Whistle with lanyard- A must for the child kits. Explain to your kids why there is a whistle in there and when they might use want to use them.
Bin or grab bag- I use small bins with lids under the kids beds. Small duffel bags work as well.
Price List (as of Nov 2020):
Whistle- About $2.50: Amazon Link Nothing special about these. Any whistle will work.
LED Lantern- $8: Amazon Link I love these lights, especially for the kids. They are omnidirectional lights that you can set down, hang, or attach to metal via magnets on the bottom. You can often find these on sale for $5-$6 if you keep an eye out.
Glow Sticks- About $1 each: Amazon Link This is a backup to the light. If your light is kept in working condition with good batteries, then glow sticks probably aren't necessary, but my kids like having them. We rotate through ours at halloween time. My kids actually look forward to this.
Respirator Masks: N95's are my choice of mask, but these are still tough to find and on the expensive side. The N95 masks filter more than a standard face mask, but any face mask is better than nothing.
15" pry bar- $10: Amazon Link I like this one because it has a gas shutoff feature built right into it.