Water storage is the top priority for emergency preparedness. When natural disasters strike, they can disrupt the flow of water to your home or result in water contamination. For instance, earthquakes can damage water pipelines and treatment facilities, while hurricanes can overflow and flood rivers and other water reservoirs. Storms can cause contamination runoff from roads to enter water supplies, while various climate conditions can lead to the formation of algal blooms, contaminating drinking water.
As clean water is crucial for survival, there are several steps you might follow to ensure you always have a source of clean drinking water during these situations.
How to Prep for a Water Emergency
We need water to stay healthy and hydrated. Through sweat and other natural body processes, we're constantly depleting the amount of water we have in our bodies throughout the day. Humans are greater than 60% water, and healthy hydration habits are important to keep our bodies functioning correctly.
Water emergencies can make accessing clean water and staying hydrated more challenging. Here's how to prep for a water emergency so your household has plenty of clean water.
1. Ensure Proper Water Storage
It's crucial that you store the proper amount of water in the correct locations to keep it in the best possible condition for emergencies.
Here's how to store water for an emergency:
- Store the right amount of water: When determining how much water to store for an emergency, aim for at least 1 gallon or 3.8 liters of water per person per day. This covers drinking, cooking, and basic hygiene needs. Consider the number of people in your household and the potential duration of the emergency when determining the necessary quantity of water to store.
- Label your container: Labeling your containers is crucial for easy identification and rotation. Clearly mark the date of storage and use-by dates to keep track of water freshness.
- Keep it out of light: To reduce the growth of harmful microorganisms, keep your water containers out of direct sunlight, as UV rays can degrade the quality of stored water over time.
- Store it in dry, cool areas: Storing your water in dry and cool areas helps prevent mold and bacteria growth — ensuring your family is safe and protected from these health hazards. Use water from opened containers within one to two days if possible, and store at least one to two weeks' worth if possible.
- Consider a water filtration system: Before storing tap water, it's generally not necessary to add disinfecting chemicals. Most municipal water supplies are already treated. However, if you're using water from an untrusted source or if the water has been stored for a long time, consider using a water filtration system to ensure water safety.
Regularly check and replace your stored water every six months to ensure its freshness and reliability in an emergency. These tips can help provide a stable and safe water supply during unexpected situations.
2. Assemble an Emergency Kit
To prepare for a water emergency, ensure you have the proper tools on hand. These might include:
- A two-way radio
- Can openers for food
- Local maps for navigation
- Blankets for warmth and comfort
- A cell phone with backup chargers
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Extra batteries for flashlights and other electronics
- Personal sanitation items like moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties
You'll also want a first aid kit that includes:
- Pain relievers
- Adhesive tape
- Antibiotic ointment
- Hydrogen peroxide
- A rubber tourniquet
Having these essentials on hand can ensure your preparedness for various emergencies.
3. Consider Your Family's Specific Needs
When preparing for emergencies, it's crucial to consider your family's unique needs. For pet owners, this means having supplies like collars, leashes, food, and water. You may also need to cater to children's needs with toys, games, and activities to provide comfort during stressful times.
Here are a few items you might add to your emergency toolbox:
- Pet supplies: Pack collars, identification tags, food, carriers, and bowls for pets.
- Medical supplies: Remember specific medical needs for your family, like hearing aids with extra batteries, eyeglasses, contact lenses, syringes, and any essential medications.
- Baby supplies: Include bottles, formula, baby food, diapers, and other necessities for infants.
- Toys: Keep your child engaged and comforted with their favorite toys and activities during emergencies.
Tailoring your emergency kit to your family's requirements, including those of pets and children, is crucial for comprehensive preparedness. Addressing these individual needs can ensure the well-being and comfort of all family members during unexpected situations.
4. Store Nonperishable Food Items
Families should also prepare for emergencies by storing a selection of nonperishable, easy-to-prepare food items in the home. You'll want to maintain a balanced assortment of foods to meet dietary needs and provide comfort during uncertain times. These items should include canned goods and dried foods like:
It's best to opt for nutrient-dense options to maximize your sustenance. Ensure a three-day supply for evacuation and a two-week supply for home use.
Like water, keep foods in a cool, dry place to prolong shelf life. Check expiration dates and rotate your stock regularly. To open canned items, use a manual can opener. For dried foods, follow cooking instructions, which might require boiling water.
5. Build Survival Kits Tailored to Local Disasters
Construct survival kits tailored to specific local disasters to ensure readiness for the challenges your area might face. For instance, you might include:
- Rain gear
- Work gloves
- N95 masks for dust
- Entertainment items
- Whistles for signaling
- Tools and supplies for home security
- Extra clothing, hats and sturdy shoes
- Blankets or sleeping bags for warmth
- Household liquid bleach for disinfection
- Plastic sheeting, duct tape and scissors to shelter in place
These items can enhance your ability to endure and recover from emergencies.
6. Choose the Right Emergency Kit Storage Location
Since you don't know when an emergency could occur, prepare supplies for your home, work, and car.
- Home: Keep this type of kit in a designated spot where all family members can easily access it in case you need to leave your house quickly. You might store larger kits that include food and water supplies.
- Work: Be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit can include food, water and other smaller items like medication and comfortable walking shoes — all stored in a backpack or "grab and go" case.
- Car: If an emergency leaves you stranded in your vehicle, you'll want quick access to emergency supplies, such as flashlights, first aid kits, and blankets.
7. Maintain Your Emergency Kit
Once your emergency kit is assembled, proper maintenance is crucial to ensure you're ready for unexpected situations. Follow these steps:
- Store canned food in a dry and cool location.
- Keep boxed food in sealed plastic or metal containers.
- Regularly replace expired items to ensure freshness.
- Reassess your needs every year and update your kit to reflect changes in your family's requirements.
By consistently maintaining your emergency kit, you guarantee that it remains reliable and effective in times of crisis, helping you and your loved ones stay safe and prepared.
8. Prepare All House Members
Prepare your entire household for emergencies by making sure all family members can access emergency kits easily. You'll also want to take the time to demonstrate how to use the kit to each person. Here are ways to prepare your family for an emergency:
- Communication plan: Establish a clear communication strategy, including meeting points and emergency contacts. Discuss staying calm and following instructions during crises.
- Roles: Assign responsibilities for tasks like pet care, turning off utilities or grabbing essential documents.
- Local hazards: Educate your family on potential dangers in the area and how to respond. Each family member should also know how to monitor alerts and updates during emergencies.
- Kit familiarity: Ensure that everyone in your home knows the location and contents of the emergency kit and how to use each item.
A proactive approach can empower everyone to respond effectively during a crisis, promoting a sense of readiness and confidence within your household.
The Importance of Having Clean Water During an Emergency
The importance of having access to clean water during an emergency cannot be overstated. In times of crisis, having a reliable supply of clean and safe water can make all the difference in maintaining health and well-being. Having access to clean water is vital for the following reasons:
Severe storms, hurricanes, or other natural disasters often result in power outages and disrupted water services. Electric power loss can affect water pumping and purification systems, leaving you without running water for days or even weeks. In such events, having stored clean water becomes crucial for drinking, cooking, and basic hygiene.
Humans can survive with a scarcity of food for weeks but cannot go without water for more than a few days — making it crucial to store clean water in your home for survival.
First Aid and Cooking
Beyond consumption, clean water is pivotal in first aid and cooking during emergencies. Clean water is required for cleaning wounds and medical equipment to prevent infections. It's also necessary for rehydration and mixing with certain medications. In cooking, clean water can help you prepare food and maintain proper sanitation practices.
Prevent Waterborne Illness
Natural disasters can quickly leave everyday drinking water supplies contaminated without notice. Floodwaters can carry pollutants, sewage, and harmful chemicals, rendering drinking water unsafe. Extreme heat from wildfires can also break down plastic water service lines, releasing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that pass through the lines. VOC exposure can irritate the skin and damage your immune, nervous, and reproductive systems.
Drinking, bathing, or cooking with clean and uncontaminated water can prevent waterborne diseases that cause symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. Dehydration is also a risk that can be especially dangerous during emergencies when medical assistance is limited. Drinking clean and safe water can prevent illness, deliver nutrients to your cells, and keep your body functioning correctly. It can also improve your sleep quality, mood, and cognition.
Keeps You Hydrated and Energized
Clean water is a vital source of hydration and energy. Staying properly hydrated helps maintain your bodily functions, regulate temperature, and support your overall health. Clean water can replenish lost fluids, flush out toxins, and help transport nutrients. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, decreased cognitive function, and reduced physical endurance.
Access to clean water becomes even more critical during emergencies when resources might be limited. Clean water will quench your thirst, help sustain your energy levels, support mental clarity and focus, and allow better decision-making in challenging situations.
How to Choose the Best Water Filtration System
Water filtration systems play a crucial role in addressing the risks of contaminated water. They can help reduce pathogens and pollutants, making water safer for consumption. During emergencies, having access to water filtration systems can prevent the outbreak of waterborne illnesses and provide a lifeline for clean water.
While authorities might advise you to avoid using tap or well water and instead boil it during natural disasters, boiling will not mitigate the effects of non-microbial contamination. It can still be contaminated with heavy metals, inorganic compounds, or PFAS. Additionally, boiling only works when a water supply is available for use from the tap.
As a safe alternative, Multipure offers the Water Emergency Treatment (WET) System and the Aqualuxe water purifier to help you make your water supplies safer. While the Aqualuxe requires a pump or water pressure from your plumbing, the WET System can process water from a bathtub or rain barrel — rendering it safe for consumption and hygiene purposes.
The Multipure Aqualuxe is certified to remove bacteria and viruses, making it the ideal system for filtering questionable water. At the same time, the WET system provides a portable, convenient solution for water emergencies.
Be Prepared for Water Emergencies With Multipure's Water Filters
Natural disasters can leave you without a safe, reliable water source for drinking, first aid, cooking, and bathing. Installing a water filtration system in your home can prepare you for water emergencies and help prevent waterborne illnesses and dehydration. Multipure offers the Aqualuxe, a water filtration system certified to remove bacteria and viruses and reduce VOCs. Additionally, our emergency water treatment system can provide your family with a reliable source of clean and refreshing water when you need it most.