The Do 1 Thing site won the Awareness to Action category of FEMA’s 2014 Individual and Community Preparedness Awards. It’s a 12-month program of small steps that you can take to increase your personal and household preparedness. Throughout 2015, DEM will feature Do 1 Thing items during our weekly blog post series of One Thing Wednesdays. Check back here every week for a new preparedness activity or tip!
If you’ve read the last couple of weeks’ posts, you know we’ve previously discussed storing an emergency water supply and bottling your own water. However, if you haven’t had the chance to do either of those things – or if the disaster spilled your carefully-stored water all over the floor – you also can reclaim water from some unconventional sources in your home.
If you have freezer space, consider freezing part of your water supply. The chest freezer (or beer fridge) in your garage is a particularly good place for this. This has the added advantage of keeping food in the freezer cold longer during a power outage.
Even if you’ve lost water pressure, there’s still residual water in your pipes. Here’s how to reclaim it.
- Turn off the main water valve where the water line enters the house (usually near the water meter if you have city water).
- Let air into the pipes by turning on the highest faucet in your house.
- Get water from the lowest faucet in your house.
Your water heater is a ready-made reservoir of fresh water (and this is another reason to secure it to the wall so it doesn’t topple and leak in an earthquake or tornado).
- Turn off the gas or electricity to the water heater. Shut off electricity at the breaker box. Turn off gas by locating the valve supplying the water heater and turning the valve handle so that it crosses (is not lined up with) the gas line.
- Turn off the water intake valve, which should be located near the water heater.
- Get a container to collect the water.
- Open the drain at the bottom of the tank.
- Turn on a hot water faucet somewhere in your house. Water will drain from the tank, not the faucet.
Discard the first few gallons if they contain rust of sediment. Don’t turn the water heater’s gas or electricity back on until the tank is refilled.
Caution: Never get water from faucets, fixtures, or a water heater that has been submerged in floodwater.