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!
This month, we’ll be talking about water and ways you can establish a safe water reserve for your household. Water is critical for everyone (including your pets). Like any critical resource, emergency managers recommend having at least a three-day supply on hand in case normal distribution systems are disrupted (and really, we’d prefer you to have two to three weeks if your budget and storage space allow).
Bear in mind that it doesn’t take a water main break or a frozen pipe to shut down water to your house or workplace. Whether you’re on city water or well water, the pumps that deliver water to your tap probably run on electricity. Thus, any large-scale power outage – like, say, an ice storm – can potentially interrupt your water supply.
Purchase and Store Water
The easiest way to set up a water reserve is to buy bottled water. How much? Generally speaking, one gallon per person per day is sufficient for drinking, cooking, and a minimum of hygiene (think sponge bath). If you have pets, don’t forget to include them in your numbers. A gallon may last a large dog one or two days, while a cat or smaller dog can stretch a single gallon three or four days.
One gallon is 128 ounces. Seven 20-ounce bottles or 4 liters will provide the same volume.
Under emergency conditions, you should drink at least two quarts (half a gallon) of water a day. Drink 3-4 quarts a day if you are in a hot climate, pregnant, sick, performing hard physical labor, or a child. Some of the water in your emergency water supply will be used for cooking or washing.
If you buy commercially bottled water, replace it once a year. Store it in a cool, dark place to keep it tasting fresher longer.