On April 18, 1906, San Francisco experienced a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that caused devastating fires and destruction. Over 3,000 people died and between 227,000 and 300,000 were left homeless. The damage was estimated at more than $8 billion in today’s dollars. Fun fact? There’s a 99% chance of a magnitude 6.7 or larger occurring in the next 30 years.
And while it'd be great for the housing crisis if the threat of a catastrophic earthquake made us all scared enough to move elsewhere, we know that’s just not gonna happen. So instead, we’re here with a handy list of a few things that'll help most of you survive the Big One. Maybe.
1. Vodka Vodka is good for cleaning windows, keeping flowers fresh, cutting down on stinky foot odor, tightening pores, and acting as both a local anesthetic and disinfectant for wounds. You, however, should just keep a few bottles tucked away for drinking, because you were just in a major earthquake and you’re going to be freaking out a little bit. And after you stop freaking out, you’re going to be bored and want a cocktail.
2. A portable, battery-operated radio No electricity. No Wi-Fi. No phones. This is the one of many things on the list that you won’t actually go out and get, but it’s the one you’ll regret most, when you’re literally in the dark with no information.
3. A flashlight You should have several flashlights in different locations, including one by your bed. And the batteries should be new. But we all know that that won’t happen, so…
4. Batteries You’ll want lots of spare batteries in different sizes for all of your portable electronics, including your vibrator... if you’re the type of person who wants to play with sex toys while the lives of thousands are falling apart.
5. Bottled water Three-days-worth for everyone in the household, at one gallon per person.
6. Sturdy shoes beneath your bed One of the biggest causes of earthquake injuries is broken and flying glass from windows. #TheMoreYouKnow
7. Cash money A couple hundred, at least. And quarters. Cash because the electricity will be out and your ATM card will be useless. Quarters for pay phones. Also to feed the meter since SF will probably still hand out parking tickets even as the city burns down.
8. A first-aid kit Because even though it would have been so easy to put a pair of old sneakers beneath the bed -- you didn’t. So you stepped on glass and now you’re bleeding.
9. Non-perishable food & a manual can-opener GrubHub isn’t going to be delivering sushi for at least a day or two. Instead, you’ll be eating canned tuna fish on gluten-free chips while wishing you had a bag of Doritos and hating every sanctimonious food decision you ever made. Bon appetit!
10. An out-of-state contact Aunt Milly in Nebraska? She’s perfect because she still has a landline. She should have everyone in your family’s number and be the main point of contact, since you won’t be able to get through to other people in the city.
11. A meeting place and a map of how to get there If things are really bad, you’ll want a meeting place for your SF friend-family or your real family, if they live here and you like them. Consider things like bridges (they might collapse) and traveling on foot (debris in roads) when choosing your spot. Yay!
12. A good realtor Because after all of that, you’re going to want to move.
Daisy Barringer is a freelance writer whose piano teacher hugged her tightly for the duration of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake while telling her the world was ending; she switched doorways mid-quake and has hated hugs ever since. Follow her on Twitter.