This article is part of a series that I'm writing: "Learning to be more self-sufficient, one skill at a time." I'm not writing about being a hardcore "TEOTWAWKI" (The End of the World as We Know It) prepper, but just being resourceful and responsible for what I consider basics (water, food, safety, shelter, etc.).
Be prepared. I know, I know, we've all heard it by now. But, like most things, it's "in one ear and out the other." Recently, I heard Derek Sivers say, "...If more info was the answer, we'd all be billionaires with perfect abs." Ouch. So true.
Sometimes, when we consume new info, (even just skimming headlines) we mistakenly feel that we've actually "done the the thing" the article/book is talking about. I know I'm guilty of this.
I hope you don't do that with this. It's easy to do, so let's actually do it!
FEMA and Ready.Gov recommend storing one gallon of water (or more) per person, per day, for three days (72 hours) for drinking and sanitation.
According to some folks, this isn't nearly enough. While I agree that more is better, we're just talking about having enough for a 3-day emergency supply, so this is a good place to start. You might want to store more for special circumstances like nursing moms, medical issues, pets, or hot weather climates. p.s. The Red Cross recommends storing two weeks worth.
Why 3 days? Simple: If you're in the U.S. and there's a "federally declared disaster," it takes FEMA about 3 days to organize supplies and show up to provide help. Preparing for necessities for 3 days is easy to accomplish and something I believe we should all do.
Water Storage: How & How Much Store it in a cool dark place and don't open it before you need it. You don't want contaminants getting in it. Two options:
- Buying commercially bottled water isn't the cheapest option, but is the easiest to do. Purchase a minimum of 24 - 16oz. bottles per person to get you through 3 days. (8 bottles per day x 3 days per person). (Not my preference; I think the world has way too much plastic waste as it is!)
- Filling your own food-grade plastic jugs, soda bottles or "Jerry Cans" that have been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized is another option. (Don't use anything that had milk or juice in it.)If the tap water your filling your jugs with is clear: - Add 1/8 teaspoon of unscented household liquid bleach to 1 gallon (16 cups) of water. - Mix it well. - I know we're doing this for storage, but if you want to drink it right away, wait at least 30 minutes before doing so.
For my 72-hour water supply, I bought two inexpensive 6-gallon "Jerry Cans" at Walmart. I sanitized the containers, added tap water & bleach and stored them in my basement. I swap the water out every six months as a habit to keep it fresh. I don't know if this is absolutely necessary, but it's easy to do and keeps me aware of my supplies.
How about you? What's your water storage plan for disaster preparedness? Do you have a plan, and if not, are you ready to start one? Leave a comment & let me know.
p.s. Check out my post on keeping a preparedness kit in your car: "23 THINGS IN MY WINTER EMERGENCY CAR KIT"