BECOMING ‘WATER WISE’ IN PREPARATION FOR AN EMERGENCY
Q: How much water should I store?
A: A practical plan includes one gallon per person per day for sanitation, food and drinking, with enough for one week. You can store your own water in cleaned food safe containers such as empty 2-liter soda or you can purchase bottled water in varying sizes. Just make sure to rotate water every six months or so.
TIP: Keep your water in a dark location and away from gasoline or chemicals as fumes can travel into your stored water supply. Set a cell phone alarm to remind you to refresh the water supply.
Q: After the ‘big one’ my tap is still working so no worries, right?
A: Immediately after an emergency such as a major earthquake there may still be water coming out of your taps. This water can be saved in bathtubs for later use but you should shut off water supply to your home to keep water in your pipes as a safe drinking water resource. It is possible after a large event water supply might be diverted for fire response or main breaks might drain a large part of the water system.
TIP: The water stored in your pipes and water heater can be used as part of your family’s water supply during an emergency. Have the appropriate tool to shut off your water at the street to hold the supply. Consider making a potable safe hose for accessing the water heater tank a part of your home emergency kit.
Q: I’ve got a backpacking filter, my plan is to filter drinking water, okay?
A: You may have a stream in your back yard, but in a large earthquake it is anticipated for example that sewer mains could break and make streams and lakes your last choice for drinking water/food prep even with filtering and boiling/chlorination. Be aware that contamination due to toxic chemicals and viruses could be an issue.
TIP: STORE water and guarantee safe drinking water for 1 week. Have filters as a back up strategy in case you run out of safe water. If you plan to filter, also remember to store fuel for boiling, and chlorine to treat filtered drinking water.
EMERGENCY DRINKING WATER – PLAN! BEFORE THE EVENT
STORAGE: Recommend 1 gallon/person/day, for 1-week, ideal goal is 3 weeks, use home/car/boat/motor home. This water includes drinking, sanitation and cooking needs. Either purchase several cases of bottled water or store in foodsafe, clean and sanitized containers. If using well water or untreated source add 2 drops chlorine per gallon.(Assume urban streams or lakes will not be safe drinking sources.)
KEEP SOME SUPPLY MOBILE IN CASE YOU HAVE TO MOVE: Store 1-5 gallon water containers, fill freezer bags/soda bottles and store in freezer, store breakable glass jars low. Date containers and set reminders on electronic devices to rotate every 6 months. Do not store water near gasoline or chemical containers, fumes will make water UNSAFE to drink. Keep water in dark cool place.
STOCK UP ON SUPPLIES: USE AFTER DEPLETION OF SAFE DRINKING WATER
- Prepare to boil large amounts of water without power. Boiling is the safest method of treating water.
- Store (non-scented) liquid bleach (5.25-6 %) or commercial chlorination tablets (Aquatabs, Katadyn etc.)
- Buy commercial sealed water packets with long shelf life (DATREX, Mainstay, etc.) for cars.
- Purchase Devices that filter/purify: Water Filter (Sawyer Mini etc.), Iodine/Taste Neutralizer, UV lights
RECORD LOCATIONS OF WATER SHUT OFF: BUY TOOL FOR WATER/GAS TURN OFF AND MAKE SURE FAMILY MEMBERS KNOW HOW TO USE & LOCATION- (EXAMPLE: ATTACH GAS/MULTI TOOL TO GAS METER)
STREET WATER METER NUMBER/SHUT OFF LOCATION:
HOUSE WATER SHUT OFF LOCATION:
EMERGENCY DRINKING WATER – RESPONSE AFTER A MAJOR EVENT
IMMEDIATELY PRESERVE POTABLE WATER RESOURCES IN YOUR HOME: SELF SUFFICIENT FOR 1-3 WEEKS
- SHUT OFF HOUSE METER/STREET METER TO KEEP CLEAN WATER IN YOUR PIPES (ACCESS WATER IN PIPES BY OPENING THE HIGH TAP IN HOUSE TO RELEASE VACUUM AND OPEN 2ND TAP TO RELEASE WATER)
- RECOGNIZE THERE IS WATER IN ICE MAKERS, HOME PIPING, TOILET TANKS, HOT WATER TANKS
- KEEP CLEAN WATER CONTAINERS RESERVED FOR TREATED WATER ONLY – AVOID CROSS CONTAMINATION
- TURN GAS OFF AT METER – REDUCE FIRE POTENTIAL
TREATMENT OF WATER FOR DRINKING/FOOD FROM UNSAFE SOURCES: FILTER or LET SOLIDS SETTLE FOR A DAY, THEN
BOIL– BOILING IS THE SAFEST METHOD OF TREATING WATER. Rolling boil for one full minute, cool before drinking OR
CHLORINATE– Use only regular household liquid bleach that contains 5.25 to 6.0 percent sodium hypochlorite to kill MOST organisms. Do not use scented bleaches, color safe bleaches or bleaches with added cleaners.
Follow instructions on chlorination tablets if available. Liquid bleach: add 16 drops (1/8 teaspoon) per gallon of water, stir and let stand for 30 minutes. The water should have a slight bleach odor. If it doesn’t, then repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes. If it still does not smell of chlorine, discard it and find another source of water.
KEEP IN CONTACT WITH SOCIAL MEDIA/RADIO/CELL REGARDING WATER SUPPLY AVAILABILITY
FOLLOW ALL “BOIL WATER” AND/OR “DO NOT USE” NOTIFICATIONS FROM YOUR WATER PROVIDER