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 M 6.7 Northridge earthquake in California 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. 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)
Short-sleeved shirt (summer)
Shoes- Always there and ready. An absolute MUST. You do not want to be running through the house in the dark after an earthquake in bare feet. Broken glass will be everywhere.
Pocketknife- Include as necessary.
Work/Leather Gloves- In my opinion, a must.
Flashlight with batteries- This is a quick grab and go. I store my batteries in my flashlight so I know it is ready to go. But check them periodically. Following a night emergency is not the time to be fumbling around looking for flashlights or putting batteries in your flashlight.
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 these in the parent kits.
Prybar- Useful for getting into locked or jammed doors, breaking windows, prying, anything to get to your kids and out of the house. Our prybars also have a gas shut-off feature built right into it (not shown above; I've since upgraded). So these prybars are, again in my opinion, a must. I keep a 15" pry bar in my kit as well as my wife's kit. The kid kits do have one.
Storage container- I use long plastic storage bins with lids that slide under our bed for the adult kits
Since the above picture and video were taken, I've added a small fire extinguisher to the adult bed kits, or at least next to them. I'd rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
Clothes (as necessary)
It might not be a bad idea to have an extra layer stored during the winter months.
Shoes- Always there and ready. An absolute MUST. The shoes, in my opinion, are the whole reason for the bed kit.
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 kid kit. Make sure the kids know how to use them.
Whistle with lanyard- A must for the kids kit. Explain why there is a whistle in there and when they might use them.
Bin or grab bag- I use small bins with lids under the kids beds. Small duffel bags work as well.
Whistle- About $2.50: Amazon Link Nothing special about these. Any whistle will work.
LED Lantern- $8: Amazon Link These are my favorites for the kids because they are omnidirectional. 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.
Respirator Masks: Still tough to find and on the expensive side, but coming down in price. I like the N95 masks for their ability to filter more than a standard face mask.
15" pry bar- $10: Amazon Link I like this one because it has a gas shutoff feature built right into it.