Where can I buy a good, pre-made earthquake kit in Vancouver?
May 20, 2013 8:51 PM   Subscribe

What with recent disasters, and recently moving to BC I'd like to get an earthquake kit. Now, I don't have a car, so I'd like to not having to travel all over the city picking things up in my backpack if possible. So I'd like to buy a pre-made kit. Back in 2007 acoutu was able to get a deal on a "Ready Kit", but those appear to have been discontinued shortly after they were created.

So, there are a zillion of these things online, ranging from $50 to $200 and up, and all claim to be exactly what you need. When I try for reviews I find a bunch of them that either reek of astroturfing or are in the vein "You can't buy one: You need to make your own! You need 90 days of food and water, and this list of expensive supplies".

So can anyone give me advice on a good 72-hour earthquake kit I can stash under my bed? Either that will ship to BC or that I can buy here. It doesn't have to have everything; I can buy some canned food and water myself to store with it for example, but I'd like a start for the camping type supplies they recommend.

Oh yeah, and I'm a student, so somewhere near the $50 end of the scale would be a lot better for me, provided that I'm not buying garbage that will break the first time I use it, something I'm rather wary of as I've had several 'bargain' items I bought when I moved in a couple weeks ago break on me the first time I used them.
posted by Canageek to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
These guys have been around for a long time and are reputable. Their basic 72 hour food and water kit is $56 US. They have a car kit for $39 US. They ship UPS in the US but they don't say whether they ship to Canada, though.
posted by overleaf at 9:11 PM on May 20, 2013

Best answer: The Canadian Red Cross site still seems to have a Ready Kit, which they now call the 72 HR Disaster Preparedness Kit. Also, throw some canned food and water bottles under there. And you should have one or two of those $3 LED flashlights near your bed in any case.

Also, download the British Red Cross app to your smartphone (if you have one). It's free (unlike the American one).
posted by eye of newt at 9:27 PM on May 20, 2013

Best answer: The provincial government offers Home Preparedness Kits though a one person kit is $132. Their car kit is $85. It gives you an idea what the government thinks you should have on hand though what criteria they used I don't know. They also offer a preparedness check list.

The federal government also has a recommendation.

Personally I think the government's goal of 72 hrs is inadequate. The Montreal Ice Storm for example had lots of people sheltering in place without power for a much longer than 72 hours. IMO you should have calories and water for at least a week ready at hand if you can at all swing it. This isn't very hard, expensive, or bulky using off the shelf processed food items. A pop-tart for example is 200 calories; eight boxes has you covered for a week. Same with a Power Bar. Most of those little granola bars are a 100 calories. These kind of things effectively don't go bad (buy what you like and rotate out once a year) and are much cheaper and easier than MREs. Most nuts are energy dense and bought shelled are easily consumed on the move (IE: stash away a bag of your favourite trail mix). Chocolate. Costco sells dried mangos that I love. Basically my preparedness food is all food is 50% stuff I really like. I figure if I'm breaking my kit open I'll need some cheering up.

Canned food is heavy and freezes in the winter so I don't have it explicitly as part of my plan though if sheltering at home I have lots of home canning on hand.

If you assemble your own kit you save on sales tax, get exactly what you want, and you can spread the cost out a bit.
posted by Mitheral at 10:04 PM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Chances are you already have much of the stuff for an emergency kit already scattered around your home. The trick lies in putting it all in one place. Dig out an old backpack or duffle bag and start loading it up with stuff you think would be useful then check one of the online lists mentioned above to supplement it as time and finances allow.
Even if you don't ever have to use it for an actual earthquake you will always know exactly where to find a stash of tools and supplies in crisis.
Some of the commercial "emergency kits" can, as you rightly suspect, contain a fair amount of shoddy and probably useless filler.
As for water, keep a big container or two in your freezer and another one or two in your fridge. The cold thermal mass helps to keep things cool for a bit longer if the electricity goes out, you'll have some drinking water on hand if the taps are dry and you'll always some water to grab on your way out the door if it comes to that.
A couple of relatively inexpensive places in Vancouver for the kind of stuff you're looking for would be 3vets (they don't appear to have a website) or MEC.
posted by islander at 12:55 AM on May 21, 2013

I would recommend assembling it yourself. It’s a good time to get summer camping equipment. Perhaps the most costly item would be a crank radio & light (I got mine at Lowes - but have seen cheaper at Cdn Tire!). Most recommendations are for having a kit for 72-hours of survival. After 72 hours, local rescue centres should have been established.
Food, batteries and water should be replaced every six months. Some people replace these items at the same time of spring/fall clock changes. The city offers free, regular workshops on how to prepare for an emergency. Why not recommend to your student centre that they organize a workshop at the school?
posted by what's her name at 8:13 AM on May 21, 2013

Go to the 3 Vets shop on Yukon Street. Free parking and a block or so from the Canada Line. They usually have a table set up with everything you need, although you might get someone to help you. It's super cheap there. I used it to set up my school's kit and those for my kids and car.
posted by acoutu at 10:41 AM on May 21, 2013

Response by poster: eye of newt and Mitheral: Those kits look good. I'll look over them and decide which to buy. Buying it right now is probably a good idea, as I just got a scholarship.

islander: I just moved into a new, one bedroom apartment, in a new province. So I have basically nothing right now. I don't have a freezer to speak of, and my fridge is a minifridge, so I am planning on getting some of those big things of water and keeping them under my bed (ie the only storage space I have).

I'll see about walking over to 3vets next weekend, with the goverment recommendation list in hand, and see if I can get the stuff I need for less then the red cross kit.
posted by Canageek at 4:35 PM on May 21, 2013

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