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Replacing the Water in My Home Emergency Kit

A couple weeks ago I was reminded of the importance of storing extra water for emergencies when the Water Bureau issued a Boil Water Notice for Southwest Portland after routine testing detected E.coli. As a member of the Hillsdale Neighborhood Emergency Team, also known as NET or CERT, I understand the importance of emergency preparedness and having a good home kit. With the boil water notice I realized it had been quite a while since I changed the water in my home emergency kit. The weather forecast was predicting 98˚ today, so here was a good indoor project for me.

FEMA recommends storing one gallon of water per person or pet per day for at least three days, and preferably seven. My household usually consists of Garry and me and our cat Chicken, and we store 18 gallons, which is what we have room for right now. My son Jack helped me pull the two very heavy boxes of water out of the closets.We keep them in large plastic boxes just in case there is ever a leak. Today I noticed something else in with the water bottles.Then I laughed, remembering the importance of coffee in our lives. I’m counting on the fact that in an emergency we won’t be too picky about what type of coffee it is.Jack set out the water bottles in the kitchen for me, and of course being who he is, arranged them beautifully, which actually is what inspired me to do this blog post about emergency kit water.The water itself must be stored in the type of clear plastic that water or soda pop is sold in, not the kind of plastic that milk or juice comes in. And, it must be replaced with fresh tap water every six months. Uh-oh……this water was last changed in October of 2010 – hard to believe it has been that long, but there was the proof. It’s time. Instead of pouring the old water down the sink, I decided to use it for the garden this very hot day.I rinsed the empty container with a few drops of plain bleach (not the non-drip or scented kind) mixed with a bit of water,then rinsed out any bleachy residue, and re-filled the bottle with clean tap water.The measuring cup above contained a few tablespoons of the bleach – I found it easier to pour from than the bleach bottle. After doing this seventeen more times, I was nearly done.The Mineral Point Dog hidden behind the water bottles is another story for another time.The final step before putting the water back into storage was adding the new date.All done. I apologize for all the pictures here that contain what seem like shameless product endorsements, but I have to include one more,because I really do love Sharpies.

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For more information on preparing an emergency kit for the home, go here. For specifics about storing water, I like the ready.gov website. The Pacific Northwest is due for a subduction zone earthquake any time now. Southwest Portland’s hills and many bridges will isolate it more than the rest of the City in a widespread disaster. So it is especially important for those of us who live here to have households that are as well-prepared as possible.

Thanks to Jack Rossing for allowing me to use here the photo he took of me. And for helping with the heavy lifting.

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2 responses to “Replacing the Water in My Home Emergency Kit

  1. My husband and I, on hearing the emergency notification to Tigard residents, commented how glad we were that out in our garage we had gallons of drinking, cooking and all-purpose water, especially as I was at that moment in the process of putting together a potato salad for a potluck on Sunday and didn’t want the responsibility of anyone becoming ill after eating the salad.

    • This is great to hear. May I ask how you store your water? My garage gets very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter, so I don’t store water there, but I would like to because it takes up so much space. Thank you for your interesting comment.

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