BEFORE an Emergency
- Learn how to operate shut-off valves to water lines, water heater and how to remove any covers. Keep tools handy. Mark valves and covers with fluorescent paint or tape to locate in the dark.
- Brace, strap, or anchor the water heater.
- Store 3+ gallons of water per person and additional water for pets. Replace commercially bottled water by the expiration date. Any water treated with unscented bleach should be replaced after six months.
- KEEP — extra water in all vehicles — unscented chlorine bleach or water purification tablets on hand.
- Do not add coloring/disinfecting products to toilet tank (a source of emergency water).
- Store food and water away from household cleaners or contaminants.
AFTER an Emergency
- Check local news and on otaywater.gov to find out whether your tap water is safe before you drink or wash with it. Also, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
- Check pipes for leaks/breaks. If necessary, shut off main water valve to prevent contamination.
- Check if sewage lines are intact. If necessary, plug bathroom sink/drains to prevent backup.
- Avoid using food or water that may have been contaminated by untreated water (i.e. broken water/sewer/gas line, flood, etc.).
- Don’t use pool/spa water as drinking water.
How to Disinfect Water for Drinking
- Strain water through a coffee filter, clean cloth or handkerchief to remove debris or sediment.
- Then, do ONE of the following:
- Boil water rapidly for 1 minute.
- Add water purification tablets per instructions.
- Add unscented chlorine bleach.
- 4 drops bleach per 1 quart water
- ¼ teaspoon bleach per gallon water
- Let stand 30 minutes before using
Handy Household Tips on Drinking Water
Keep these earthquake preparedness tips as a handy reference in the event of an emergency that could affect your ability to receive tap water.
As a general guideline, it is best to be prepared to have sufficient food, water, prescription medications, personal care products, pet food and other supplies to address your daily needs to be self-sufficient for 72 or more hours.
Emergency Drinking Water Sources
- Stored drinking water
- Hot water heaters hold 30 – 60 gallons of water (turn off electricity or gas to water heater before draining into containers)
- Toilet reservoir tanks
- Melted ice cubes or juices in canned vegetables