Earthquake Kit Essentials According to Neighborhood

The more prepared, the better

With the Big One 20 years behind us, Los Angeles has been lulled into a sense of safety. Jokes about us falling off the map and floating into the ocean appear to have withered on the vine—maybe that’s because it’s more likely that we’ll slide northward over Oregon, or maybe, like my parents say, there’s just no escaping earthquakes these days. They’ve hit everywhere from Georgia to Wisconsin. But not every state has earthquake culture. Many Angelenos follow @earthquakeLA on Twitter. More and more people are participating in the annual October Great ShakeOut. And then there’s the chatter about earthquake kits, which every last one of you should have! 

Of course, if you’re anything like me, you have yet to actually make (buy?) an earthquake kit, you’re not sure what, beyond water, needs to go in them, and you are resigned to living with a mild amount of fear and that nagging sense that you forgot to do something today. Why do we live like this? Why don’t we all go out tomorrow, take out some cash, and buy a ton of canned goods, flashlights, fire extinguishers, candles, keys (I don’t know, I’m guessing). It’s (probably) not that difficult! Most of the things we need are (I think) right here in our homes and apartments.

But I have another idea. Perhaps earthquake kits need a makeover. Perhaps they need to feel essential, as though tailored to the lifestyle of each community and the local interests of its inhabitants. This way, people can be convinced of the importance of maintaining their standard of living in times of great stress and possible calamity. Behold, some suggestions beyond the basic disaster amenities:

Santa Monica

  • Fishing poles
  • Battery-powered juicer
  • Roller blades
  • Salt water desalinator
  • A fully charged phone for sunset photos with Instagram’s Toaster filter

Silver Lake

  • A 3-in-1 avocado slicer
  • Wellness dog food
  • Battery-operated record player and the new Real Estate LP
  • Sqirl jam
  • Some green paint to repair Sunset Triangle Plaza for future Farmers Markets


  • Miracle Grow
  • A case of chardonnay
  • Code to the safe
  • Life Alert
  • Golf clubs

Echo Park

  • Beef Taco Filling MRE
  • A case of Negro Modelo
  • Battery-operated CD player and a Big Black Delta CD
  • Sunscreen
  • Sriracha

Los Feliz

  • A few bottles of wine/small-batch whiskey
  • Hiking sneakers
  • More sriracha


  • The cell phone number of your assistant


  • A Razor scooter
  • Bags of frozen Ikea meatballs
  • Battery-powered DVD player and Chapelle’s Show
  • Cat litter
  • UCB student ID 


  • Bookman bike lights
  • Apolis reusable Market Bag
  • Mustache wax and scissors
  • Keys to the secure rooftop
  • $500 in cash for cocktails
  • Black-and-white photographs of New York City

Eagle Rock/Highland Park

  • Vegan cookbook
  • Case of Eagle Rock Brewery’s Solidarity
  • Vintage camera
  • Ben Medansky ceramic pipe and really good weed
  • Everything in the Echo Park earthquake kit, only bigger and with more room

 Venice Beach

  • A medicinal marijuana card

Abbot Kinney

  • Modfire Tablefire
  • Baggu Leather Bag
  • Air plants
  • Spray bottles of water (for the air plants)
  • The latest issue of GQ

Beverly Hills

  • Tennis whites
  • Keys to Tesla
  • Framed copies of Juris Doctor
  • Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, Ambien

West Hollywood

  • A pair of Nike Flyknits
  • Keys to the Prius
  • A bottle of Patrón Silver
  • Brick’s CrossFit schedule
  • The name of the bartender from Laurel Hardware


  • A plane ticket home

Kyle Fitzpatrick is a writer, an infrequent performer, and a lover of dogs, art, shorts, champagne, and L.A. You can find his musings Fridays on CityThink. For more, check out his locally focused art, design, and culture website, Los Angeles, I’m Yours, or follow him on Twitter and Instagram.