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I Finally Get Why I Should Prepare for Earthquakes (And Why You Should Too)

Alena Hart | JUL 11, 2019

How I learned to stop worrying and love earthquake preparedness

A Redfora customer submitted a guest post about her experience riding the recent earthquakes, and how it’s changed her perspective.

by : Sophia Aguinaga

There I was on July 4th, innocently texting a few friends about celebration plans while getting ready for my morning run. Suddenly there was that ever-so-eerie feeling of a tremble. Nothing I hadn’t felt before - I live in LA and the little quakes come and go in seconds. But this one didn’t stop. Honestly, for the next 10 seconds of shaking, I panicked. I had no idea what to do, where I should go, whether I should call someone or who, stay inside or go outside - the definition of unprepared. Enter floods of texts to friends and family checking in on each other.

Once the shaking stopped, I thought I’d be able to relax but the aftershocks kept coming. Once the second big quake hit on July 5, I knew I had to do something. Enter more texting and (finally) incessant Googling of “what to do during an earthquake.”

Why was this the first time I had talked to my family and friends about earthquakes or Googled how to prepare, even though we live in California with “the big one” looming over us? A lot of reasons: earthquakes are scary and I don’t want to jinx it, who has the time?, the odds of “the big one” hitting seem low (or maybe I just like to think that), preparing won’t actually save my life. All solid excuses in my mind, but none of them held water during the 36 hours of shaking and aftershocks and more shaking.

Luckily I wasn’t alone. Facebook, Instagram, and news sites were all flooded with people sharing earthquake safety information. Evidently, lots of people are thinking about this! So many that I started to get the feeling that maybe I should too. 

I started researching how to build an emergency kit… Whoa. There’s a ton of information out there. Everything from doomsdayers to hyper-technical professionals, none of which felt accessible to me. I was excited when I landed on Redfora because their vibe was practical and surprisingly… normal. You have a spare tire in your car and a savings account just in case, and Redfora reminds us that having an emergency kit is equally as normal and matter of fact. For the first time, I felt like I could approach the topic without having a panic attack or having to pull out a textbook.

Redfora has guides on how to build your own kit and create an emergency plan (which are, news to me, two different things, folks!).

Here’s what I learned:

1. Building your own kit is doable, but it’s expensive and requires a lot of research to make sure you’re stocking the best quality products and your kit is comprehensive. Apparently, some people think that’s fun, and more power to you! If that’s your game, check out Redfora’s Guide on Building Your Emergency Kit.

2. Buying a ready-made kit is even more doable and, frankly, much more my personal data-style. Redfora’s Earthquake Bag covers all the same categories as in the DIY kit, except they do it for you, it’s (way) more cost-effective, it’s quality-checked and professionally researched, they send you reminders for when it’s time to replace expired items, and they even have options to cover everything from one person or a whole family. Guys, they even have kits to cover your pets! This was a huge seller for me. I’d put my dog’s oxygen mask on before my own, ya feel me?

3.Creating an emergency plan is another necessary part of preparation. Remember all those luxuries like running water, GrubHub, and cell phones? The time to figure out what to do in that situation isn’t as it’s happening, it’s before - even better, it’s right now. Redfora can’t build the plan for you, but they come close with the Creating Your Emergency Plan Guide. These guides seriously got me, my family, and my friends talking about how we can take care of each other if “the big one” hits. Everyone was actually relieved to talk about it after the holiday quakes.

Besides making the preparation and planning process feel accessible and pragmatic, I love that Redfora reminds us that the best time to prepare is right now. Not tomorrow, not next week, but now. We wear seat belts and bicycle helmets and install smoke detectors and fire hydrants not because they’ll stop a crash or fire; it’s because they mitigate the damage and give us confidence that we can navigate it when things we can’t control wind up happening. Tectonic plates moving underneath the earth’s surface, for instance. Thanks, San Andreas.

I’ll be upfront with you. Before July 4th, 2019, I would never have given this a second thought, but I’m glad I got the chance to start thinking about this. Because July 4th could have been “the big one,” and I would’ve been an absolute mess. We can’t predict the future and we don’t want to believe bad things might happen, but I’m telling you - everyone along the San Andreas Fault line right now wants to hear you say, “Hey, can we talk about what we’ll do if another earthquake hits?” Including your pets.

The best part is, Redfora has our backs. Literally with backpacks, but with guides, advice, and, even on the ground. They donate 1% of sales to disaster relief and do yearly volunteer trips to help victims of disasters like Hurricane Harvey and the Northern California Wildfires.

Key takeaway? Whatever region you live in there are natural risks to take into account, and the best way to handle risk is to stay informed and prepared. Starting now (yes, right now-right now) is the best way to take care of yourself and those you love.

It’s a hard topic but if I can reform, anyone can. I’m rooting for you, and I know the Redfora team is too.