In this continuing series on disaster prep I wanted to talk to you today about an important topic for everyone, WATER. Sure, you might not be thinking about a bottle of Evian when there’s a foot of water in your front yard, but you will be thinking about water very soon in any disaster situation. I just want you to keep the Rule of Three in your mind; it’s something that I was taught in a outdoor survival class a few years ago. The rule is simple: You can last three weeks without food, three days without water and three minutes without air. Oh yeah, and in a pinch you can recycle your urine (you know, drink it) three times before it becomes too concentrated to be ‘healthy’. Just let that stew for a minute before reading on. Sure, it’s sterile, but is that a bridge you want to cross?
Water is an essential element when planning for disasters, because your body needs it so much. In fact, your body is approximately 57% water and much of that water is being cycled through your body daily. It is absolutely essential to survival, especially in emergency situations. During Hurricane Sandy, some residents had no water supply, except for bottled water, for nearly a week. Those that still had water were told to boil it due to possible contamination from sewage.
To make things worse, many were ill prepared. I remember listening to the radio just prior to the storm and the radio host said he had called friends in New York to check in. When he asked if they were ready, they were quick to reply, ‘We sure are! Our iPhones and iPads are fully charged!’ Ahhh, are you kidding me?!?!? Perhaps it’s the NYC mentality (no offense), you know ‘Hey, we’re New Yorkers, we can handle it’. But as with most big storms many that think they are prepared truly are not.
The Red Cross suggests storing as much as a gallon of water per person per day. Yep, that much. This includes 2 quarts to drink and another 2 quarts for food preparation, hygiene, etc. That can be a lot of water for sure. For the average family of 4 that’s 28 gallons of water for the week. But the alternatives could be much worse. The Red Cross also recommends that you never ration water. Drink what you need and try and find more the next day. It is a scary concept to think about. But rationing water can effect your body and mental capacities without you even realizing it.
Finally, when prepping for a disaster, use only bottled water or store water in food grade containers. Like one’s you get at camping supply stores. Recycling milk jugs may not be safe since it’s hard to get the milk’s proteins out of the jug which could then spoil your water supply.
Keep that Rule of Three in mind and make sure your household has plenty of H2O on-hand, just in case.
4 thoughts on “Disaster Prep Basics – Water, Water Everywhere but Not a Drop to Drink”
There is a great way to store water in your bathtub too. You can find large, food-grade plastic bags (available from various survival stores like CheaperThanDirt and probably Amazon too) that can be placed in your bathtub and filled with dozens of gallons of water in preparation for loss of services. Many come equipped with a little pump and most would be able to store enough safe drinking water for a family of four for up to two weeks in one tub. That and it’s just plastic on top of that so when not in use it can be folded up and tucked in the linen closet…anyway just another good way to prepare if you live in an area prone to such possibilities!
Interesting tip Matt, thanks for sharing it!
Leroy, great article and so true. I’ve been through a dozen or so hurricanes living here on the west coast of Florida. Water flies off of the shelf whenever a hurricane even comes close to the state.
Filling up your bathtub with water before the storm strikes is a great way to store extra water for hygiene, cleaning and even drinking (unless your tubs as dirty as mine:b ).
We also like to freeze a few gallons prior to the storm for drinking, but they also double as ice for the coolers when the power is off for a few days after the storm has left.