Preparing for an earthquake means having more than a steady foundation. For Astrid Rial, it means having shelves stocked with non-perishable food and a basement with nine gallons of drinking water.

It means bolting heavy pieces of furniture to the wall and having enough supplies to last at least three days should disaster strike.

It is an unknown, but I think there are small things you can do to be prepared, said Rial, who knows all about earthquakes.

Her husband is from New Zealand, which is now reeling from a major quake. And she lived in San Francisco when a deadly quake rocked the region in 1989.

I was running outside and it was a flat parking lot, but I felt like I was running over hills because the earth was moving and that was really jarring, she said.

It's why she's among the estimated 25 percent of people in the Northwest who are prepared for such a disaster. But emergency officials say that's not enough.

We'd like to see that 25 percent be up around at least 75 percent. We know that people have the means, if only they'll take the action before the disaster, said Barbara Graff of the Seattle Office of Emergency Management.

And that means putting together a disaster kit.

Katherine Boury with the American Red Cross says you should definitely pack a first-aid kit, food, drinking water, a flashlight and extra batteries. It's also important to have a communications plan and a radio so you can get information about the quake.

So when a disaster happens, like an earthquake, you have one person that's out of state that all your friends and family are calling so you can let them know you're OK, said Boury.

Rial's family plans to call a friend in California.

So that we can contact her and let her know we're OK, she said.

She figures there's no harm in preparing but there could be harm if she doesn't.

The Red Cross also recommends have a light stick and blanket in your disaster kit, along with copies of important documents in a plastic container. You should also keep shoes or slippers by your bed in case there's broken glass.

The Red Cross does sell pre-made disaster kits or you can check their website for a list of items so you can build your own.

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