It’s not the first-aid kit.
It’s not the roadside flares.
It’s not your cellphone.
The thing that everyone needs, every day, no matter what, is water.
Emergency officials recommend having one gallon of water per person or pet for each day. And they recommend storing enough for three days at a minimum, and up to a week, ideally.
How to keep the water we need? Here are a few small steps to take to insure that you have water when you need it.
If you have warning that you may lose your regular water supply, consider this bathtub storage system from the American Red Cross. It is for one-time use only. For those who live in hurricane or flood-prone areas, and for apartment dwellers, this could be the simplest way to keep a large supply of water.
If you have outdoor space to store water, the 30-gallon barrel from Shelf Reliance will keep a family of four in water for a week. Pair the high-density polyethylene barrel with a chlorine-based purification system (or just use unscented household bleach at a concentration of 14 drops per gallon of water) to make sure the water is safe to drink.
Don’t forget your car. Keep at least a one-liter bottle of water in the trunk along with water purification tablets to sanitize any refills you may need.
(The Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct, pictured above, supplies pristine water to many communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. It crosses earthquake faults, including the Hayward Fault, on its way to the reservoirs. In a major earthquake the Hetch Hetchy is highly vulnerable. Its loss would cut off water to 2.4 million people in the Bay Area, according to the US Geological Survey.)