My family has a family communication plan. Preparedness step 1: locate your loved ones…CHECK!
So we’ve found each other. Great. And it really is great. But now what? Now we need to start surviving. How long do we need to survive? Well, at least today. And probably tomorrow. And, well, preferably every day after tomorrow too. But preparedness step two, survive today, will get us through today so that is the one we will focus on next. Once today is taken care of we can worry about tomorrow.
In the next series of posts I will discuss the basic elements required to survive today. We will talk about 72 hour kits, meeting short term food and water needs, shelter, and equipment and tools that are like gold in a natural disaster/weather type emergency.
I will have a couple of videos for you, a planning tool/checklist, several other resources where you can go into additional detail and learn more, and my personal examples of what I have done and am doing to prepare to survive today.
Today, however, we will start the discussion with water.
We should have on hand at least a gallon of water a day for drinking and hygiene, according to FEMA. We also, however, should make sure that this is a sufficient amount for our situation. In especially hot and humid climates, like Arizona or Florida, you may need to plan on more than a gallon of water a day. But for most people most of the time a gallon a day per person is a good rule of thumb.
If you suffered an emergency right now (well, as soon as you finish reading this), what would you do for water? Let’s say that you immediately hop in the car and head to the store, assuming it is open, and buy a couple of cases of bottled water because everyone else had the same idea and that is all that is left. Now you have about six gallons of water. There are four people living in your home so you have a day and a half of water.
Next, you get all of the water in your house together that you can. Melt the ice cubes in your freezer (I bet you didn’t think of that!). Drain the water from the pipes in your home. To do this, shut off the main water line into your home (in disaster situations often the public water system becomes contaminated and by shutting off the water to your home you prevent the contamination from entering, which is why one day I hope to own a home with its own well).
Then open the faucet that is the highest in your home. Go to the lowest and turn it on and all of the water in the pipes will flow out. Make sure you have a couple of buckets or some container to hold the water. The last thing you want is for the good water in your pipes to be lost to the sewer.
Another place to look is the water heater. Water heaters typically hold anywhere from 40 to 60 gallons. That will take care of your drinking needs for quite a while.
There you go, even if you were not prepared you can now survive today and a couple more days…at least as far as water is concerned.
Ideally, however, you would not need to run to the store as soon as the power went out and fight for the last case of water. Go and buy a couple of cases of water now. Three or four will last most families a few days.
You can also store water in your own bottles ahead of time. If you would like to do this, Ready.gov provides some guidelines for storing water. I also found valuable this review on Ready.gov’s guidelines. I think you will too.