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5 household items to have on hand in case of an earthquake

The Big One is coming. But it's not too late to get prepared.

5 household items to have on hand in case of an earthquake

If you haven't heard already, the Big One is coming.

We hear about earthquakes all the time, but we often associate them with blockbuster movies or faraway places like Japan and Nepal and Haiti.


A destroyed building near Kathmandu after an earthquake in Nepal. Photo by Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images.

But the United States is due for a major earthquake of its own.

And despite what every disaster movie wants you to think, that earthquake probably won't happen here:

Because it's much more likely to happen here:

Seattle.

The Big One is set to hit the Cascadia Subduction Zone, a region stretching from Canada to Northern California, and by all estimations it's going to be a doozy.


But even if you don't live in the Pacific Northwest, there are seismic zones across the country that are due for a quake, including the New Madrid zone located across Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Illinois, and yes — OK, Hollywood darling — San Andreas.

While earthquakes aren't preventable, they are survivable, and one of the best ways to prepare is to create an earthquake kit.

And what goes into a good earthquake kit aside from a life-sized Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson inflatable rescue doll?

If you don't have the time or space to collect everything, here are five items you should be sure to pull together to help you survive for up to two weeks.

1. Water. The stuff of life. You knew it had to make the list, right?

The U.S. government natural disaster preparation site Ready suggests stocking your kit with one gallon of water per person per day. Kids and nursing moms may need a little more.

That may sound like a lot, but water isn't just for drinking, it's for sanitation, cooking, and first aid. You can survive without food for quite some time, but you won't make it long without clean water.

This is not an area you want to skimp on.

Photo (altered) by dotjay/Flickr.

2. Food. Consider this an excuse to stock up on all of your favorite canned goods. I see you, Campbell's Chicken and Stars.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests stocking your kit with canned and packaged goods that you regularly eat.

This saves you a special trip to the grocery store and may prevent future intestinal distress. Be mindful of expiration dates and swap out the food as it starts to go bad.

And of course, don't forget utensils and a can opener. You can eat with your hands if needed, but a can opener is key.

Photo (altered) by F Delventhal/Flickr.

3. A first-aid kit. Yes, a kit within a kit. Not to be confused with the Swedish folk group, First Aid Kit, but their soothing sounds can't hurt to include, either.

In addition to the usual Band-Aids and alcohol wipes, the Los Angeles Times suggests storing extra essential medications or eyeglasses in your kit.

Photo (altered) by Medisave UK/Flickr.

Don't forget tweezers. Splinters will definitely be a part of your post-earthquake reality.

4. A phone charger. Because the only thing scarier than an earthquake is your mom when she can't get a hold of you.

If your area maintains cell service, your phone will be your lifeline to friends and family. Keep a spare charger in your kit, or better yet, purchase a portable or solar charger.

Solar power was vital to regaining telecommunication after the Nepal earthquake last April. Nearly 24% of Nepal's citizens lost power, but solar-power stations helped restore a sense of normalcy. We should all take a page out of Nepal's playbook and have solar solutions at the ready in case of emergency.

A solar-powered charger. Photo (altered) by Mark Guim/Flickr.

5. Toilet paper. You are worth it. Pack. The. TP.

It will be frightening and desolate after the big one. Treat yourself to the comforts of two-ply.

Photo (altered) by Chris Waits/Flickr.

For other items to include in your emergency kit, watch Ali Ryan, earth science information officer, unbox her supplies in this video from The Oregonian:

Wherever you live, but especially if you live near a seismic zone, take some time to pull an emergency kit together, and store it away for a rumbly day.

You'll be glad you did.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Yamiche Alcindor/Twitter, U.S. Department of State

It takes a lot to push a career diplomat to quit their job. A diplomat's specialty, after all, is diplomacy—managing relationships between people and governments, usually with negotiation and compromise.

So when the U.S. special envoy to Haiti, whose "diplomatic experience and demonstrated interagency leadership have been honed directing several of the United States government's largest overseas programs in some of the world's most challenging, high-threat environments," decides to resign effective immediately, it means something.

Daniel Foote, who was appointed special envoy to Haiti in July of this year, explained his decision to quit in a strongly-worded letter to Secretary of State Blinken. His resignation comes in the wake of a wave of Haitian migrants arriving at the southern U.S. border and widespread reports of harsh treatment and deportations.

"I will not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and illegal immigrants to Haiti, a country where American officials are confined to secure compounds because of the danger posed by armed gangs in control of daily life," he wrote. "Our policy approach to Haiti remains deeply flawed, and my recommendations have been ignored and dismissed, when not edited to project a narrative different from my own."

Foote went on to describe the dire conditions in Haiti:

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