10 Things You Need to Survive an Earthquake

Windstorm car emergency

The House of Knives vision is To Improve Lives through Education and Innovation, so it’s safe to say we value being prepared. But in light of the recent windstorms and the 4.8 magnitude earthquake in the Vancouver-Victoria region, we’ve realized that the vast majority of British Columbians have no plan or equipment to handle a real natural disaster. Our hope at House of Knives is that we’ll all be prepared to keep ourselves and each other safe should an emergency occur, so we’ve put together a list of 10 items that could help you if you’re stuck outside, in your car, or at home during a disaster.

The ResQme

ResQme Car Escape ToolThs ResQme Car Escape Tool is a keychain-sized life saving device, essential to any vehicle in case of emergency. Should the worst happen and you’re trapped in a car after an earthquake, you can break a windshield or window and escape with the spring-loaded glass breaker. It also includes a razor-sharp blade, securely protected within the tool, so you can shear through your seat belt if your buckle jams (a frequent occurrence after a sudden impact). An earthquake or storm can knock over trees, powerlines, and buildings, and although we all think it will never happen to us, this little tool is cheap insurance for you and your loved ones’ safety.

A 30 Day Lantern

Ultimate Survival_10-30 Day LanternLet’s be honest; how prepared were you when the windstorm hit Vancouver in August? Probably as prepared as we were when the earthquake hit. During the windstorm, most of us were stuck without power or light, and many of us were unprepared for the 2-3 days in the dark. We have it on good authority that the Ultimate Survival 30 Day Lantern was an indispensable aid when the power went out. Not only is it impact- and water-resistant, but it’ll last up to 30 days on Low using normal D sized batteries. It features glow in the dark visibility and 4 operating modes: High, Medium, Low, and SOS Flashing. And if you think 30 days of light might be a bit much to keep in your car or bedroom, there’s the Ultimate Survival 10 Day Lantern. Which is also perfect for kids and their blanket forts.

A Water Bottle

Quench 500mL Bottle

This may seem like a bit of a no-brainer, but in an emergency, you may very well be in a situation where you have very little or no water to drink or clean a wound. Keeping a water bottle like the Quench 500mL Bottle on hand could potentially save your life or someone else’s if water pipes were to rupture during an earthquake. Its a good idea to have 72 days worth of food, water, and medicine stored up in case of an emergency, so having something like this filled up and stored away in your car or emergency kit is never a bad idea. Plus it can be refilled and reused indefinitely.

A Lighter or Firestarter

Ultimate Survival Floating Lighter

It’s scary to think that most of us have never had to build a fire, and many do not know where to begin if they need to start one without immediately available materials. Keeping a lighter like the Ultimate Survival Floating Lighter or Ultimate Survival BlastMatch in your car, bag, and home could prove to be the one item you most cherished in an emergency situation. Especially in the winter time, if disaster strikes when you’re not at home and unprepared, a fire will not only keep you warm, but signal rescuers to your side.

Arm Yourself with Information

Ultimate Survival Technologies Learn & Live Cards - Fire Building

Many of us have lived in the city our entire lives and never needed to build a shelter, create a fire, or use a compass. But these are good life skills to know, so if you can’t afford to hire Bear Grylls to teach you how to survive in the wild, the least you can do is stock up on information. Ultimate Survival Learn & Live Cards are vital resources for anyone with the potential to be stuck outside in a disaster. Their how-to’s and tips on Fire Building, Using Paracord, Shelter Building, and Way Finding could save your life and keep you calm when you can’t “just Google it.” Each pack is water-resistant with step by step instructions and illustrations. As the cards’ name suggests, its better to Learn & Live, rather than the other way around.

A Compass

navigation-folding-map-compassIf something happens and you’re out on unfamiliar ground, chances are you won’t have GPS or access to Google Maps. Especially if an earthquake knocks out cellular service. A compass like the Explorer’s Tool or Folding Map Compass will help you navigate and find your way to safety if you’re in a situation where you can’t find home. Some even have a mirror to help you signal for help. Keeping the Way Finding Cards handy may not be a bad idea either.

A Multi-tool or Knife

Leatherman Wave

You never know what situation you might encounter, or what you’ll need to get through a natural disaster. A multi-tool like the Leatherman Wave or pocket knife like the Victorinox Soldier are sure to have almost anything you need for when you need durability, power, and functionality. Need to open canned food if you’re delving into survival rations? Cut through clothing or bandages? Make sure you’ve got a multi-tool with loads of functions on hand, like the SwissTool X with its impressive 22 tools in one.

A Whistle

JetScream Whistle

One of the loudest whistles you’ll ever find. The JetScream Whistle is able to signal help if you’re in need, and can be heard above most natural and man-made noises. The pea-less design won’t freeze or clog, and because its plastic, it won’t rust. Small enough to fit on a keychain or in a pocket. It’s better to have one and never use it, than wish you had one when you need it.

A Flashlight

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Without electricity, fire, or daylight, if you’re in an emergency, you’ll need to find your way home somehow. Keeping a flashlight like the iProtec Chameleon or the Inova X3R Rechargeable Flashlight in your survival kit, glovebox, or bedside table can prove more useful than you might think. Use batteries or recharge your power source—just make sure you have one if you ever need it. And if you don’t now, it’s time to stock up.



In an emergency when things seem uncertain, the comfort of normalcy, like eating with a fork and knife, can be a much missed privilege. Boker’s Snacpac houses all your essential eating tools and even salt and pepper shakers for when you’re without utensils. Want something with even more functionality and portability? The Eat’N Tool from CRKT has you covered with a spork, bottle opener, and hex bolt cut-outs in an easy-to-carry keychain addition.

Come Visit Us

We don’t want you caught unprepared in the midst of a crisis, so let us help you stock up your survival kit. Come into any of our 17 locations across BC and Alberta for excellent service and product knowledge, or you can check out our online store for more survival items.

And from all of us at House of Knives, have a Happy and Safe New Years!

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