My good friend Hannah Katsman has written this useful guest post on stocking water for emergencies. Thank you, Hannah, it’s a post to print out and keep.
While the Israeli Homefront Command’s exercises are over and forgotten, there’s never a wrong time to prepare for emergencies.
The amount of your emergency water supply will depend on the emergency. If you have to evacuate your home, you might be able to carry only a liter (about a quart) or two per person. If you would need to stay at home or in a shelter, it is recommended to have four liters per day per person, for three days, for washing and drinking. That means you should have twelve liters available per person. The IDF Home Front Command recommends that all citizens keep this amount of water in the house at all times.
The water does not have to be purchased. Any clean plastic or glass containers can be used to store water safely. Keep in mind that in case of a long-term electricity outage, the water supply to homes would be affected as well because pumps use electricity.
Water set aside for emergencies needs to be changed every three months, with old water used for the garden, bath or washing machine. “Old” water can be made safe for drinking by boiling for ten minutes. If you can’t boil it, add 10 drops of household bleach (without fragrance) for every 4 liters of water and let it sit for 30 minutes. Pouring the water from one container to another can help rid the taste of bleach from the water.
A useful item for your emergency kit is a bottle of water purification tablets, for when clean water is unavailable.
Most Israelis have a large container of drinkable water in our homes, the “dood” or water heater. We can also store water as ice in our freezers. This helps the freezer run more efficiently, keeps it cold in case of electricity outage, and serves as an extra supply of emergency water. You can also keep bottles of water in your refrigerator, if you have extra room. If you lack both running water and electricity, avoid opening the freezer and save the ice water for last. That way you might be able to save the contents of your freezer until the electricity returns.