Here are 10 ways to help you start with water before an emergency:
- Start your emergency prep with water. Your goal is to have one gallon of emergency water per person per day or enough to last 14 days. You may need more water if you have family members who are pregnant, on medications, or have other special needs.
- Keep it fresh by occasionally replacing your emergency water. The general rule is to replace your emergency water that is stored in your own sanitized containers every six months or to use the "best by" dates on your store-bought water.
- Build up your supply of emergency water over time. Pulling together enough water for a household can be a big undertaking, but the hardest part is getting started. Build up your supply of emergency water over time by putting bottled water or a sturdy container on your list for the next time you shop.
- Store what you can, where you can. Many homes don’t have a ton of storage space, so you may need to get creative with how and where you store your water. Slim containers, bottled water, or two-liter soda bottles fit nicely in small spaces such as under beds, in the back of closets, or in cabinets.
- Include your pets in your emergency prep. Whether feathered, furry, or scaled, your pet will also need water in an emergency. Ask your vet about how much water to store for them to drink and to keep them clean. Find out more about how to prepare your pet for emergencies at PublicAlerts.org.
- Have a toilet plan. Emergency sanitation is an often-overlooked element of preparedness efforts. Learn how to prepare and use an emergency toilet system before a disaster. Having a proper toilet will help keep you and our local waterways healthier after a disaster.
- Make sure that you can easily access your stored water. Water is about eight pounds per gallon, so keep that in mind when choosing the size of your containers and where to store them. You may find that a five-gallon container is too heavy for you to move to its storage location or that you’ll need a spigot or siphon to access water in larger containers.
- Be able to treat more water. You should also have at least one way to treat additional water, so pick up a bottle of unscented chlorine bleach the next time you shop. Bleach is inexpensive and it can be used for emergency water treatment and for sanitation purposes. Bleach loses its strength over time, so be sure to replace it yearly.
- Know how to get water from your water heater and other at-home sources. Your home’s water heater could provide you with 30-80 gallons of water for drinking, cooking, and hygiene. You may also be able to get water from your home’s pipes, canned food, bottled drinks, or melted ice cubes.
- Know how to shut off your home's water supply in an emergency. Emergency water shut-off valves are often located outside your home by the foundation or in the basement, crawl space under your home, or the garage. (Note: some homes don't have shut-off valves.)
Go beyond water at PublicAlerts.org
Sign up for local emergency alerts that come via text, email, or voice message. Get other preparedness information including what else to put in your emergency kit, how to stay informed, and other things to consider in your planning efforts.