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If you're prepared for a camping trip, you're well on your way to being prepared for an earthquake. It's that simple, says Mike Andrews, Emergency Management B.C.'s southwest regional manager.

After nearly 400,000 B.C. residents participated in the province's first earthquake drill, Mr. Andrews said he hopes people will make an effort to ready themselves and their homes for a quake.

B.C. residents should prepare to spend at least 72 hours alone in the event of an earthquake, he said. People might even want to prepare for larger quakes. In California, where larger earthquakes are expected, the state urges citizens to get ready to spend five days alone.

According to Public Safety Canada, residents should prepare an earthquake kit with such essentials as non-perishable food and water. Public Safety recommends that residents stock up on bottled water - at least two litres of water per person - twice a year.

For Mr. Andrews, too much heavy canned food could be a problem if residents must vacate their homes and travel by foot after an earthquake. He said people should be wary of weight and collect lighter food items such as energy bars.

Other items on Mr. Andrews's earthquake kit list: a wind-up or battery-powered flashlight and radio, a first-aid kit, change for a payphone and warm clothing.

A list of basic essentials aside, Mr. Andrews said that every kit will be different because "your best kit is suited to your specific needs," such as prescription medication and extra eyeglasses, he said.

Heather Lyle, co-chair of B.C.'s ShakeOut organizing committee, says emergency kits need not be extensive or exhaustive to do the trick. "It just has to be reasonable," she said.

Ms. Lyle said most B.C. residents already have the basic kit essentials in their homes, and it's a matter of putting things together in a "ready-to-go" bag.

"Look around, pull that flashlight together. Put those old runners into an emergency kit," she said. "Gather what you do have and then that will help dictate what you need to buy."

But Ms. Lyle said having a proper emergency plan is the most important part of preparing for the Big One.

"The emergency kit is only one part to sustain yourself," she said. "You need to have a plan of action."