PREP Checklists - Stay Kit

In gathering what you need to make it through a disaster, put together both a GO KIT, in case you need to evacuate, and a STAY KIT of gear and supplies you’ll need to ride it out at home. Even after a major earthquake, your house might still be safe to stay in, and with enough preparation you can stay at home even if utility and transport services are out. Studies show people fare best at home if it’s safe. Here are PREP’s suggestions – based on Red Cross, and other sources – as a starting point for customizing your kits for your family’s needs. 


In a large disaster such as a regional earthquake, supplies will be a long time coming due to damaged or impassible roads, so it’s best to plan for 3 weeks on your own. You don’t need to assemble your STAY KIT into one place as long as you know where it all is. To build up your kit a little at a time, use the Family Emergency Supply Calendar as a buying guide. To the GO KIT lists, add this list:
Water: Store tap water in clean food-safe bottles (not milk jugs), or buy bottled water. Also, you can use water from your water heater if it’s not damaged. (Be sure now that it’s securely strapped down, and flush the heater annually to remove sediment.) This water may not be drinkable without treatment but can be used for washing.

  • You need 1 gallon per person per day for drinking, cooking and hygiene. See Beyond 72 Hours for more information on how to store and purify water


See Beyond 72 Hours for using food from the fridge and freezer. Choose foods household members like, which don't need refrigeration, are not too salty, and mostly don’t require cooking. (If you use very salty food or dehydrated food, you’ll need more water.) Don’t store food for your kit in glass. Include

  • protein items such as nuts & canned meats, fish, beans, soups & stews
  • canned vegetables & fruits; canned/boxed juices
  • high energy foods such as energy bars, peanut butter & crackers, trail mix, dried fruit, cookies
  • dry cereal/granola & sealed boxes of milk or boxed milk substitutes
  • comfort foods (coffee, tea, chocolate!)
  • vitamins
  • special needs for infants & elders

Kitchen gear & supplies:

  • camp stove & fuel (see Beyond 72 Hours for why to cook OUTSIDE ONLY!)
  • non-electric can opener
  • antibacterial dish soap
  • household bleach to dilute for a disinfectant (10 drops per gallon of water, let stand 30+ minutes)
  • zip seal bags; garbage bags & ties
  • To minimize the need for washing water, store paper plates & cups, plastic utensils, paper towels & napkins, disposable disinfecting hand wipes

Emergency gear:

  • battery lanterns, more batteries
  • magnesium striker
  • candles with matches in waterproof holder (last resort light source only—fire hazard)
  • cell phone; battery or hand crank phone charger (test it!)
  • hand crank battery charger or auto battery inverter
  • dust masks to filter dust-contaminated air
  • local maps


  • separate buckets for pee & poo with toilet seat lid & sawdust or other carbon material to cover poo (see Beyond 72 Hours for details; learn how!)
  • heavy duty trash bags & ties
  • personal & feminine hygiene items, soap, shampoo


  • Swiss Army knife, field knife with razor bands & sharpening stone, multi tool
  • pliers sets, vise grips, multi screwdriver set, screws, hammer, nails, wire, epoxy, staple gun & staples
  • small axe, shovel, foldable root saw, hack saw blade, metal file for sharpening, crowbar or pry bar
  • shutoff tools (non-sparking) to turn off utilities
  • ABC fire extinguisher


  • tent (see Beyond 72 Hours for how to use indoors)
  • plastic sheeting & duct tape for covering broken windows
  • roofing tarp
  • 2 painter drop cloths 10x20
  • nylon rope