Prepare in a year Step 3: Meeting drinking water needs after a disaster

water storage
Two-liter soda bottles can store emergency water supplies (plan for at least six per person in your household).

With massive water shortages in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan (the Toronto Sun reports desperate survivors digging up water pipes), we continue a disaster preparation series initiated last month on Ear to the Ground: Prepare in a Year. The goal is to break the preparation effort into easier-to-handle monthly tasks. The Washington Emergency Management Division outlines a 12-part plan called Prepare in a Year — spend one hour on disaster preparedness each month and within a year you’ll be better prepared for disasters whenever they occur. Here in Washington State, the list of potential disasters includes earthquakes, large storms, landslides, wildfires, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions for starters.

Here briefly are the basic steps of planning for your water needs during the first three days after a major disaster. Experience shows that it may take three days or more for outside help to arrive following a major natural disaster.

  • Store at least three gallons per person for the first 72 hours (don’t forget pets)
  • Use appropriate containers
  • Store safely in a cool, dark place that won’t freeze
  • Be prepared to treat or distill water of questionable purity

Get important details about how to Prepare in a Year

What are the geohazards in your area? See the DNR online Interactive Geology Maps Portal

See our previous posts on this topic:

Do you have an out-of-area contact in case of a major disaster? (October 9)

What’s your plan if a disaster strikes? (October 8)

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