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Self-sufficiency and emergency preparedness, part II

Last week the subject was making a location for emergency supplies in the home, car and office.

In the home location there should be backpacks or suitcases for placing the supplies – totes and backpacks in the cars – in the event evacuation on foot becomes the mode of transportation.

This week the subject is water.

Remember that the three-day supply is no longer recommended. Now experts are saying that every person should be prepared with a two-week supply of necessities in case of an emergency.

Recommended amounts of water vary between two quarts per person per day to one gallon per day per person.

That’s all well and fine until you start to do the numbers.

For a family of four, that would be between 28 and 56 gallons of water. This amount is possible to be kept in the home but impossible in the car and the office.

For the home, buying a 50-gallon drum and filling it is one option; however, evacuation would mean that it’s not going with you, in most cases.

The other option is containers that hold five gallons or less.

Those who receive home delivery of bottled water should talk to their supplier to see what options are available.

Physical ability should also be taken into account. If you can’t lift a five-gallon bottle of water onto the dispenser, you probably couldn’t load it from the house into the car if you needed to evacuate.

Purchasing a couple gallon-sized containers of water each week at the store for emergencies takes the sting out of an all-at-once purchase.

The shelf life of bottled water varies between six months and one year, so stored water should be cycled and marked when purchased for use in the home.

For those on a budget, getting creative on bottled water includes using plastic bottles that previously held soda or certain juices that don’t leave a residue, such as cranberry or apple.

Never use milk containers – for two reasons, according to experts. The first is because the seal is not as good and the second is because milk products are difficult to clean from the container and will contaminate it.

The Red Cross states on their Web site that if “local water is treated commercially by a water treatment utility, you do not have to treat the water before storing it.”

My very first auto emergency supply kit involved two 2.5-gallon containers, which, within a couple of months in my trunk, began leaking.

So now my car supplies include a case of water in the individual bottles. They can be placed in a backpack to carry with me if necessary and won’t leak. This is rotated out every six months.

Since my vehicle is always with me when I am at work, my car kit is also my office kit.

At 10 a.m. on Nov. 13 the Great Southern California ShakeOut will include a drill for “millions of people in homes, schools, businesses, government offices and public places all over southern California.”

To find out more on the event and even register to be counted and to get e-mail updates, visit

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