Always be prepared: How much water do I need to keep on hand in case of emergency?

By on Apr 20th

Fallout shelter water storage can © by Minnesota Historical Society, used under Creative Commons license.

If disaster strikes tonight, if a mob of zombies comes down your street, and the ensuing army tanks crush the pavement, and water service shuts down, will you be prepared? Part of running a household means making contingency plans. How will you stay safe and healthy in case of natural disaster, monster infestation, disease outbreak, service interruption, alien invasion, civil unrest, or war?

Deep in the basement of Rockethaus sits our emergency kit, full of food and supplies should we suddenly encounter an emergency situation. Living in Iowa, I don't expect to use anything in our kit, but I still feel strongly about having supplies on hand at all times. Whether or not you live in a place plagued by earthquakes, hurricanes, or other natural disasters, you should absolutely start prepping right now. Today. THE LIFE YOU SAVE MIGHT BE YOUR OWN!

Where do you start? With the most important things! Food is important, but dehydration and water-borne illnesses are the fastest path to death in a survival scenario. By stashing just a bit of water in your household, you take your health and safety out of the hands of fate and into your own control.

How MUCH water should you have?

You should have at least one gallon of water per person per day, and enough for at least three days. There doesn't have to be an apocalyptic disaster to disrupt your access to clean drinking water. The power could go out, a water main could bust, your region could enter water rationing, you could find your supply contaminated and you'll be glad to have some jugs on hand.

In our two-person household, we should have at least six gallons of water on hand at all times. And we do. There are six gallons of clean, fresh water in the storage room, and I've plugged their "expiration date" into my Google Calendar so I can receive reminders to get new water every six months — and spend that water on something else.

If you don't have a storage room to call your own, you can still stash your emergency gallons:

  • Under a bed!
  • In a freezer! We have extra water stored in two-liter bottles in two freezers. There's an extra perk in keeping an extra supply in cold storage: freezers are much more efficient when they're full, and without the water our boxes would be mostly empty.
  • On a balcony! This is good intermediate storage, as well as a way to purify suspect water; two days in strong sunlight will make water potable.
  • On the floor of your tiny studio apartment closet! We started prepping when we still lived in 650 square feet. We found room in the only closet in our place after we took a long look at the tennis racquets and roller blades we hadn't used since we moved and decided that, in case of emergency, six gallons of water would do a lot more for us than rollerblades we don't know how to use.

Step one to safety is good hydration — and to zombie outbreak success. Take this to heart and start prepping!

Preppers unite! If you're securing your home in case of emergency, tell us about it!

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About Cat Rocketship

I was the Managing Editor of Offbeat Home for a year and a half. I have a rich Internet life and also a pretty good real life. Hobbies include D&D, Twitter, and working on making our household more self-reliant. I also draw things.