Tom Smart, Deseret News
In this 2009 archive photo, Sandra Elfinga (left} from Canada and Gloria Loftin, from Tennessee, prepare 72-hour kits for refugees and vulnerable populations.

Editor's note: This article is part of a series on earthquake preparation. Read the rest of the articles here.

When disaster strikes, you may only have enough time to grab the essentials: food, water and survival supplies. Or worse, you may not be anywhere near food, water or survival supplies.

The trick, then is to make sure you have those essentials near you.

This week, to get ready for earthquakes, start building your grab-and-go kits. Commonly called a 72-hour kit, the grab-and-go kit is what you take with you when you have to flee. You’ll notice I said grab-and-go kits — plural. It’s important that you have a kit at home, at work and in your car.

Remember, Utah is earthquake country. We’re overdue for a major earthquake, which could strike at any time. To prepare, the entire state of Utah is participating in an earthquake drill on April 17 at 10:15 a.m. called the Great Utah ShakeOut.

Now with more than 631,000 Utahns, the drill is designed to help Utahns from all walks of life prepare for a major earthquake. Each week, Be Ready Utah, Emergency Essentials and the Deseret News are bringing you emergency preparedness tips to help you get ready for the ShakeOut and a major earthquake.

Your grab-and-go kits can be assembled from household items, such as a backpack, flashlight with extra working batteries, a first-aid kit, garbage sack and work gloves.

Other kit essentials include:

Emergency drinking water

Food or MREs

Battery-operated or hand-crank radio

Hand-operated can opener

Cash in small bills


Waterproof matches


Personal and/or feminine hygiene items

I like Skittles. So I have Skittles. Pick your own snack.

A more extensive checklist can be found at

Don’t forget to pack a kit for your pets to include food, medicine, a kennel and litter box. Add a puzzle or coloring book for children, and pay attention to a family member’s special medical needs. Your car and work kits should include walking shoes in case you can only get around under your own power. Make sure to include extra clothes or blankets in your car.

The most important thing, of course, is to start today. Remember, these kits don’t make themselves.

Make A Kit — Be Ready Utah

The Great Utah ShakeOut is happening April 17, 2012, at 10:15 a.m. This week, make sure to build your grab-and-go kit in case you have to flee. Full details on creating a kit can be found at

(Video shot on iPhone 4 using iMotion and iMotion Remote by Joe Dougherty, public information officer for the Utah Division of Emergency Management.

Music: Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, by Franz Liszt)

Joe Dougherty is a preparedness expert and spokesman for the Utah Division of Emergency Management and Be Ready Utah. Email your tips to him at [email protected]. Daily preparedness tips at