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5 Gallon emergency water supply

So I have a couple of 5 gallon Igloo beverage coolers I'd like to turn into emergency water supply. My memory is fuzzy. I think you're supposed to put a couple of drops of bleach in? Anyone know the rule of thumb on how long you can store it before you have to dump it out and replace it and how much bleach per gallon you need to put in?

~TDQ

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  1. When we had the water boil alert here in Portland last month, the water bureau said that instead of boiling, you could use ⅛ tsp. of bleach per gallon, then let the water rest for 30 mins. before drinking.

    4 Replies
    1. re: RelishPDX

      Interesting, thank you. I think you're also supposed to put bleach in it if you're going to store it for any length of time so nothing grows in it, but maybe you just use the bleach before you're ready to drink it? Or maybe you do both?

      ~TDQ

      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        Lots of detail here:

        http://www.ready.gov/water

        I've lived in earthquake country all of my life, so I've always had water stored. 2L soda bottles are the easiest vessel for me to use currently. I've always dumped or used the water and replaced it every six months.

          1. re: RelishPDX

            Yes. Replenish the water every 6-12 months. We use for watering plants/garden, washing dishes, cooking, or bathing. Air-dry the containers, and then refill with filtered tap water (if we have time for filtering). Nice to have on hand if there's no rain for several weeks...

      2. I haven't stored bottled water since one of the bottles broke and flooded the cupboard... but I live in Florida so we have pre-warning of most natural disasters that might demand water storage. I have two big (empty) water containers that I've filled when there was a storm warning just in case... tap water goes really funky if you store it for more than a few days, and the bleach is supposed to prevent the funk. Sorry, I can't remember how much to use either...

        1 Reply
        1. re: Kajikit

          We do have a little time to prepare for a tornado (if it's a tornado warning or watch), though not long for a warning. And it seems so unlikely in the event of a watch. Maybe I just buy several of these (or similar) 2.5 gallon containers and call it a day? They have a nice spigot and a handle.

          http://www2.costco.com/Browse/Product...

          Then I don't have to worry about anything other than finding a place to put it and paying attention to the expiration date.

          Maybe it's just not worth bothering with the 5 gallon containers. I suppose I could fill them up at the last minute if I thought a tornado was truly imminent, but at that point I think I'd rather be hunkering down with my family and trying to keep everyone calm rather than trying to fill up water containers.

          ~TDQ

        2. DQ, if a tornado hits St. Paul and your home is damaged, you won't need to worry about drinking water. There will be so much help that you won't believe it. When the two tornadoes hit Pilger, Nebraska last week, there were busloads of volunteers, the Red Cross, and the National Guard on the scene.

          I know it's good to be prepared but you might be over thinking this a bit. (Please don't get too annoyed at me.)

          If you wish to have water on hand, you could buy several gallon jugs of water that are sealed without worring about storing water in an Igloo container that could get contaminated over time.

          22 Replies
          1. re: John E.

            That's a good point - tornados are very localized, so help is going to arrive fairly quickly. I'd see storing drinking water as important for the kind of disaster that strikes over a large area and will immobilize or strain rescue efforts, like typhoons, earthquakes or ice storms.

            1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

              Funny you should mention ice storms--I was going to say that during the 10 years I've lived in MN, the closest I've ever come to wanting an emergency kit is during a big snow storm last year (2013) where the plows didn't come for several days and we were pretty much housebound. It was hardly an emergency, but it was very difficult to leave the house even to get a gallon of milk, so we didn't. We were glad to have our "emergency" food (or, just a well-stocked pantry, really, although we were grateful to have shelf stable milk and powdered milk on hand for our toddler) to dip into. But, we had electricity and running water, so a back up water supply would have been pointless.

              But, we do often have big storms (this time of year) where the power goes out and you might be without electricity for a few days. Again, running water, no problem. Gas stove, no problem. But, fridge: problem.

              I'm not even sure we have ice storms in MN. But, does the power go out? In which case, how would you keep your water in the gallon jugs from freezing?

              ~TDQ

              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                How many times has the temp. in your home fallen below 32°F for an extended period of time? There's a lot of residual heat in the walls, furniture, everything, which keeps the home warmish, even if you've no heat.

                If you've got a big hole in the roof or a wall, you've got bigger problems.

                1. re: RelishPDX

                  OK, I'll cross that off my list of things to worry about then. :) Thank you.

                  ~TDQ

                  1. re: RelishPDX

                    As a licensed plumber we tell people to leave a couple of faucets dripping , when the temperature is below 32 for a protracted period of time in the structure and there is no heat. Nothing worse than when the heat comes back on and the frozen pipes that might have ruptured, thaw out and start leaking...

                    1. re: PHREDDY

                      Yes, we also keep the cabinet doors open beneath sinks, so that the air circulates. As long as the interior of the home is above freezing, the convection effect of circulating warm air is supposed to help keep interior pipes from freezing (so I'm told).

                      1. re: PHREDDY

                        I hope I never need to follow that advice, but I am glad to have it, thank you!

                        ~TDQ

                    2. re: The Dairy Queen

                      There have been ice storms, but I do not recall any severe ice storms in recent years. You are correct when you say that losing electricity is the biggest problem with a bad ice storm. I think you live in an area with overhead powerlines. What is the longest you have been without electricity because of downed powerlines? An emergency generator might not be a bad idea if it was more than a couple of days.

                      1. re: John E.

                        Honestly, it's probably never been more than a day, maybe two, even though I've heard of people in my neighborhood having to go without power for up to 3 days.

                        ~TDQ

                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          Having lived through a couple of extended freezes, and 3 days without power once (in Oregon), the biggest problem you'll ever probably face in sub-freezing weather, if your home is whole, is freezing pipes. If one of the main ones go, you've got major problems.

                          You do what you can to keep your home oops-proof, prep a good e-kit usable for any type of disruption, then hope for the best. It really isn't a major deal. Lots of good info out there by just googling for emergency preparedness tips.

                          1. re: RelishPDX

                            Gah. That would be awful, if the pipes froze. But hard to imagine (or worry too much about) in June! HA! Thanks for sharing some of your personal experience. I appreciate it.

                            ~TDQ

                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              Just one more idea...

                              If you are worried about freezing pipes, a kerosine heater in the basement will keep the pipes from freezing.

                              1. re: John E.

                                Hey, good idea. I'll look into that, thank you!

                                ~TDQ

                                1. re: John E.

                                  A kerosene heater in the basement may keep you pipes from freezing, BUT in many jurisdictions Kerosene heaters are illegal and besides risking a fine, if you have a fire that was caused by your illegal kerosene heater (accidental or otherwise) your insurance carried can deny coverage.

                                  Back in the 80s Ker-o-sun was a big name in heaters in this area. Town by town they were made illegal by municipal ordinance due to fire hazard.

                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                    Back in the late 70s when natural gas spiked and we had a severe winter, and the winds out of the north blowing off the lake, the kerosine heater in the family room kitchen area really took the chill off. This was small town Minnesota so there were no ordinances against them. I wonder if there is such ann ordinance in St. Paul? Franky, the only reason I can see such a heater to be a fire hazard is if something flammable is too close to the radiant part of the heater.

                                    1. re: John E.

                                      If not operated according to instructions, kerosene heaters pose a carbon monoxide risk.

                                      1. re: greygarious

                                        You are correct. We never had a problem however.

                            2. re: The Dairy Queen

                              I know there have been times in summer storms when a lot of trees have gone down and took powerlines with them that areas have lost power for a week or more. I think it's been several years since that happened. As I recall, it was in the western suburbs.

                              We too have a large enough pantry and food in the freezer, so three days of food is not a problem. We have no water backup, but I'm not too concerned about it.

                              1. re: John E.

                                Well, I just padded my pantry and my medicine chest a little more (we've already got first aid kits), and purchased 5 gallons of water, so I think I'll stop worrying now.

                                ~TDQ

                              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                Went without power in the great state of dreary Washington for 11 days in below freezing temps, with icicles outside the windows.
                                The pipes were wrapped and the inside of the home had to be continually heated with the fireplace so someone had to be sure the fire didn't go out.
                                It's awful.
                                I'd never live in that environment again and now I have 5 gallon water bottles delivered for daily consumption and leave it to Arrowhead to make sure my water is healthy if anything happens.

                                1. re: latindancer

                                  Gah! Sounds dreadful. I'm so sorry that happened to you! Great thinking on the bottled water!

                                  ~TDQ

                        2. re: John E.

                          I'm not annoyed. :) I didn't grow up in tornado country, so I don't have a lot of personal experience. I appreciate your input. I went to the city of St. Paul's website and followed the links (the few that weren't broken) they provide for emergency preparedness and they were all the standard recommendations re: 3 days of food and water.

                          I think I'm going to buy a couple of those gallon jugs of water as you say. It's cheap and not really that difficult to do. I know a person can survive without food for several days, but not without water. (Recalling Buck Helm, the gentlemen they pulled out of his car on the collapsed freeway four days after the '89 earthquake. He eventually succumbed to his injuries and they were dehydration related.

                          Nevertheless, I've yet to visualize a scenario in MN where an emergency water supply would seem helpful. Even when we had that tornado in the metro area --North Minneapolis in 2011-- and a whole section of town in a major metro area was affected, it seemed like help arrived pretty quickly.

                          ~TDQ

                          1. For posterity, I'm linking to chartreauxx's excellent tips regarding emergency water supplies from another thread.

                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8897...

                            ~TDQ

                            1. If you know a natural disaster is coming that may interrupt your water supply, fill up your bathtub and add some bleach. You probably won't want to drink that unless you are really desperate, but you can use buckets of water from the tub for toilets and other non-drinking purposes. This will allow you to save your potable water for drinking and cooking.

                              Also if your water supply is cut off, you should move quickly to turn off the power/gas and supply water intake to your hot water heater. This will give you a sizable supply of drinkable water. There are directions on the web for how to do this.

                              28 Replies
                              1. re: follick

                                How about just buying a few flats of 1 litre bottled water? I don't know about the shelf life but I assume it must be a long time.

                                1. re: Puffin3

                                  Yeah, I've now got 10 gallons of those water in a jug, which should be enough for our family, I suppose, but in one of the links I read it said one gallon per person per day (and plan on 3 days), unless you have kids, pets or you expect the weather to be hot in which case you could need double that! So, I think I'll get some of those flats as you describe. Because we might actually use those, although I think bottled water is wasteful in general.

                                  ~TDQ

                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                    I agree bottled water is very wasteful in many ways. I've never bought a bottle of water.
                                    But in an emergency situation where you have enough to worry about having safe water to drink is worth it.

                                    1. re: Puffin3

                                      My thinking too, thought I have to say, I've bought may a bottle of water and always feel cheated doing so!

                                      ~TDQ

                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                        Bottled water is probably the best way to go for drinking water in an emergency. But how many times is your toilet flushed in 3 days? How many gallons does it take for each flush? Depending on the age of your toilet it's probably 1.6 to 3.4 Gallons (in the USA). You don't necessarily need to flush quite as often in an emergency, but if you're using purchased bottled water for that it can get expensive pretty quickly.
                                        Also you might not be comfortable going 3 days without washing yourself at all. That can go through water pretty quickly too.
                                        And what if the water is cut off for a week instead of 3 days? It just makes sense that if you have some warning of an impending disaster to fill your bathtub and any large containers with water.

                                        Most people don't seem to realize just how much water an average family actually uses in a day. However much water you stockpile, if an emergency happens, you will probably want more.

                                        1. re: follick

                                          You bring up good points. To be honest, if you get a tornado warning, you don't have time to fill your bathtub, although I wish I could. :(

                                          I suppose you could do it if you suspected severe weather (which you have plenty of warning of), but believe it or not, one of the things you're supposed to stay away from in a lightning storm is your water pipes as they are good conductors of electricity! Furthermore, I have a pet and a young child and I don't keep standing water in the house. Too high a risk of drowning.

                                          However, I have printed out some directions on how to drain your water heater and put them in my emergency kit. And I know I can get a good bucketful from my dehumdifier. And maybe I can fill those 5 gallon igloo beverage coolers I started this thread with and not consider those my primary source of drinking water unless absolutely necessary? You can also start filling ziplock baggies with ice and putting those in your freezer to help keep food colder longer, but also as a potential source of water.

                                          Finally, not bathing is going to be rough. Thankfully, we have lots and lots of baby wipes. But, a bath would be better. :)

                                          ~TDQ

                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                            If the concern is standing water, then you can google "emergency bathtub water storage bag" which is just a big plastic bag that fits in your bathtub.

                                            As far as your freezer goes, better than stockpiling ziploc bags of ice cubes, you can partially fill up the biggest drink containers you have about 3/4 full. 2 liter bottles or gallon water jugs work well. Then freeze them in the freezer for a couple of days. You get a big chunk of ice, which will last much longer than ice cubes and later will be easier to use for drinking water. If you have space in your freezer you can just keep some frozen bottles in there all the time. (They are also great to take out and stick in a cooler to keep it cold.)

                                            All of this implies time to prepare. I guess I'm more used to hurricane preparedness where you have warning days in advance.

                                            1. re: follick

                                              Not ziplock bags of ice cubes: just fill the ziplock bags themselves with water and freeze!

                                              I'm going to look into that emergency bathtub water storage bag, thank you!

                                              ~TDQ

                                              1. re: follick

                                                I just looked this up: the average lead time you get for a tornado is 13 minutes. http://www.noaa.gov/features/protecti...

                                                And, of course, that means that sometimes you get less. And that's the amount of time you have to round up your family and get to the basement, maybe grab your purse, cell phone and weather radio as you go. Although if you're wise, you head down to the basement as soon as there is a tornado watch. No time to fill up bathtubs!

                                                ~TDQ

                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                  It gives you just enough time to crack the windows to equalize the pressure and then get to the southwest corner of your basement. ; )

                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                    I've never cracked my windows. Is that for real? I prefer the Southeast corner of my basement because it's under the staircase which I think offers additional protection from flying debris. is that good enough?

                                                    ~TDQ

                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                      The wink is there because it was satire. Now you're making me feel old. Back in the old days, 1970s and prior, the idea was to open the windows a bit so your house did not explode from the sudden change in air pressure. The idea behind the southwest corner is because most tornadoes, and thunderstorms too for that matter come from the southwest and if you're in the sw corner the debris would be blowing away from you. There really is no scientific evedence that either strategy is effective. At some point, those instructions were void and the idea is to get to your basement as fast as you can. If you have a heavy table, and you hear/ feel a tornado hitting your house, it is still a good idea to get underneath it. An interior bathroom is another option. Get in the bathtub and hold a mattress over your head. That would be for someone without a basement.

                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                        OK, thank you. I didn't see the wink because on my screen the eyes are on one row of text and the smile is on the next row of text. HA!

                                                        I'd heard of the window cracking, but thought it had been debunked, which is why I asked you if it was for real, but I wasn't sure about the sw corner thing!

                                                        ~TDQ

                                                2. re: follick

                                                  That aquapod is fantastic. http://www.amazon.com/Emergency-Drink...

                                                  I don't know when I might ever use it, but it's worth having on hand just in case we ever need it.

                                                  ~TDQ

                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                    I wish I'd known that that sort of thing existed in our previous apartment -we had a bathtub that had a broken built-in plug, so I spent seven years without being able to put water in the tub! Which was the main reason I bought half a dozen large buckets and two jumbo water cans. The two times we had actual hurricanes I had to make do... the plugs in our new apartment are fully functional and I hope they stay that way! I'll probably get one anyway, just in case... it never hurts to be prepared when you live in hurricane country. (PS. Just showed the link to DH and he said 'buy one'. So thanks for the heads up!)

                                        2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          TDQ, a caution about plastic gallon jugs of water. I had to buy a number of them at the supermarket when my town's water tower was drained after being tampered with. I had several unused jugs that I left on the kitchen floor and inside stairs. They never were jostled in any way, and sat there for at least a year, maybe more. Eventually first one, then weeks or months later another, began to leak. At first I had a hard time pinpointing the source of the water on the kitchen floor and afterward had to apologize to my old dog. These leaks were slight, in the "seam" of the jug. I had to buy water again a few months ago and am on the lookout for leakage.

                                          1. re: greygarious

                                            How long were you without city water?

                                            I bought these kinds of jugs: http://www.amazon.com/Arrowhead-Water... Which have an expiration date on them of spring 2015 or 2016 (I think). Hopefully I can trust them to last at least until the expiration date? I wonder if the expiration date takes into account the lifecycle of the plastic jugs themselves?

                                            ~TDQ

                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              Goodness, I hope you got them locally and not online - shipping being as pricey as it is. I have used that kind too but never had them around for months or years. I am talking about the typical gallon jug from the supermarket, used for water or milk. We were only without water for a day but I like to have a few gallons on hand for when it happens. Much better than waking up to no water and not even being able to wash your face or brush teeth before heading out to buy some.

                                              BTW, I also keep a package of unscented body wash sheets on hand. They are permeated, I think, with witch hazel or alcohol. And some sort of aerosol dry shampoo. Learned to do that when the pipes froze last winter. Twice.

                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                Our pipes froze twice this past winter, thank the gods for baby wipes and baby powder! :)

                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                  Yeah, I bought a couple at the grocery store and another couple at Target. No worries--I didn't pay any crazy shipping.

                                                  ~TDQ

                                                2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                  If you stand up those jugs with the valve on top, I think you'll be ok. I think those jugs are a bit more hardy than the typical gallon jug with the handle. Report back if they spring a leak. ; )

                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                    I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner. We have a northern Minnesota hunting cabin without running water. We have a sink, so we use these 7 gallon blue jugs for water. There is a county campground a few miles away that has an artesian spring where we get our water. Here is a link to Target. (They are $3 cheaper at Fleet Farm, but the nearest Fleet Farm to you is in Oakdale.)

                                                    http://www.target.com/p/reliance-7-ga...

                                                    We have 6 of these jugs, several of them are at least 15 years old. We've have to replace some of the white valves, but the jugs are going strong. (They are a little dirty on the outside, but I usually rinse them out with water and bleach at least once a year to disinfect the inside.

                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                      Those are great! And, yeah, now that you mention it, I see those all over the place!

                                                      Target will do!
                                                      ~TDQ

                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                        I assume they stay fresh better if filled to the top, which means very heavy. Take that into consideration lest you buy jugs you can't lift when full.

                                                        1. re: greygarious

                                                          That's what the nephews are for. I'm going up this weekend with my dad and meeting my brother with his middle son. He just graduated from college and he was a three time all-conference nose guard. He played in every single game in his four years, and started every single game his last three years. This weekend he'll be handling the 60# jugs of water. He's already dropped 30 pounds from his 315# playing weight from his 6'4" frame.

                                                          We don't fill them quite to the top because the valve works better that way.

                                                          (My brothers and I are all 6'+ and 200#+. We're ok with the jugs when the big boys aren't around.)

                                                        2. re: John E.

                                                          newest models advertise they are bpa free.

                                                      2. re: greygarious

                                                        That was exactly what happened to our emergency water. I had ten gallons under the kitchen sink, never touched... and then one day two of them spontaneously started leaking and poured water all over the kitchen floor.

                                                        1. re: Kajikit

                                                          How funny that two failed on the same day! Do you recall if they were within the "best buy" date?

                                                          ~TDQ

                                                3. around here earthquakes are the issue. those big jugs are liable to fall and spill. so we would secure them and the lid.

                                                  even home untreated tap water keeps a long time, it already has chlorine in it.

                                                  those milk jug sized gallon water bottles are notorious for springing leaks, they are no good for long term storage over say a year and i would not want to risk a leak anyway. repurposed 2 liter soda bottles are free, not heavy filled and strong.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: divadmas

                                                    5 gallon water jugs (mine are Arrowhead delivered to my home) are very heavy and a house would have to fall on them in order to risk having them break…
                                                    They're like Nalgene bottles…which don't break.

                                                  2. I've used those coolers (the big orange ones?) as emergency water supplies.

                                                    For me: it depends. Depends on how much notice I have of a water outage and how long that outage lasts.

                                                    The last time we used them we had ~4 hours (?) of notice before city water supply was expended.
                                                    We filled every container, every tub.

                                                    We were sans municipal water for ~ 3 days.

                                                    I used stored bottled water for cooking and drinking. The water in the tubs and coolers was used for sanitation (flushing toilets) and such.

                                                    Also, IME, when things go sideways and you have no tap water, you often also have no electricity or gas or other power. Just a heads up.

                                                    15 Replies
                                                    1. re: pedalfaster

                                                      Yes! The big orange coolers. Oh, gosh, if I had notice of a water outage, I would do exactly as you did and fill every sink, every tub.

                                                      ~TDQ

                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                        DQ, if this preparedness is still about tornadoes, you probably don't have to worry about the water. If something like a water interruption happens to you because of a tornado, your house won't be in habitable condition anyway.

                                                        Having a water supply on hand would be in order in hurricane areas because the water treatment plant got flooded.

                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                          It's really hard to imagine what a widespread water disruption in our area might be that you'd also have sufficient notice to fill up a bathtub, right?

                                                          ~TDQ

                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                            I have never heard of it happening in the Twin Cities, although I am sure it must have happened somewhere, sometime.

                                                            My dad is an Arizone snowbird in a senior trailer park. It is almost routine that they shut the water off in tbe entire park. When it was built, the owners didn't pay the plumbing contractor his complete bill, consequently, they don't have the plans for the plumbing and anytime there is work to be done, the entire park's water supply is shut off.

                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                              In St. Paul you are pretty much golden for water that's filtered through four lakes before treatment. In Minneapolis we have the summer yuck factor due to too much organic matter (algae and leaves) in the water before treatment.

                                                              And are you somewhere where you can't get to a store? I'd understand this if you weren't in the city. Cub or just about any store has water galore - even after flooding and/or tornadoes. I dunno - this seems very Henny Penny to me.

                                                              1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                Well, just call me chicken little. :) But, seriously after you've lived through a natural disaster of some serious proportions (and perhaps you have, not wanting to make any assumptions here) you get a little more religion about emergency preparedness, especially when you're responsible for a young child. I started this question about the water when the double tornados were ripping through Nebraska. Since I'm not originally from MN, I went to the City of St. Paul's website for some direction. They just provide you links (many of which are broken) to the standard, all-purpose emergency preparedness guidelines, 72 hours of food and water for all blah blah blah...

                                                                So that was my starting point for this thread. I think i've gotten a little less freaky about it (mostly Thanks to some of JohnE's feedback--he's also local as you know) but I've still taken some precautions because you just never know when you're going to get stormed in. Sure, we can get to a grocery store, but if the power goes out, we might not be able to get our car out of the garage. Or, in a big snow storm a couple of years ago, we were kind of housebound for 3 days because the plows kept forgetting us. Not that we couldn't have gotten out if we needed to, but it was pretty hard.

                                                                Anyway, so there you go.

                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                  Blushes red...

                                                                  I can help you with one more thing not to worry about. There is a rope (or there should be) coming down from the garage door that you can pull to release it from the the electric door opener system. You can easily, depending on the weight of the door, manually lift your overhead garage door.

                                                                  One caveat however, you should use a nylon zip tie to tie the latch shut and then cut it if you need to manually open your garage door. Burglars can use a coat hanger and poke it between the garage door and frame and hook the rope or latch to manually open a garage door.

                                                                  http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kSO_HTBHLFI

                                                                  I may have inadvertantly given you something else to worry about, but the zip tie solves the problem.

                                                                  If you have an attached garage, you probably should always lock the door from your house to the garage. I have two brothers who never do, and they're cops.

                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                    I understand. Just know that tornadoes are not in the habit of wiping out large cities. Portions of cities, sure. Tornadoes are not hurricanes.

                                                                    But should a tornado or other disaster hit know that your neighbors will be there with chainsaws, food, labor and whatever else you need PDQ. We really are wired that way. And there is the lookyloo factor. People will help just to get a good look at fantastical storm damage. Weird, but true.

                                                                    Being snowbound is just a part of the glory of living here. I wouldn't call it a disaster and you still have water during those times. Plus water is mechanical, not electrical, so even when the power goes, you still have water.

                                                                    Get to know your neighborhood kids. Kids still always need money and they will shovel you out. If you can provide cocoa as well as cash, you will be their first stop when a big snow hits. One of our local kids now has a big landscaping and plowing concern. His business started when he was 10 during a very snowy winter. When Spring rolls around and you want your grass mowed or a garden dug, offer lemonade or a soda instead of cocoa.

                                                                    Of course you should do what makes you feel comfortable. In the meantime, enjoy the nice weather.

                                                                    1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                      Many years ago, a neighbor kid of my parents' wanted to mow their lawn. My dad paid him to mow the lawn, but the kid used my dad's lawn mower and gas. Then the kid started mowing other lawns on the street using my dad's lawn mower and gas. My dad just laughed about it. The kid is 27 years old now and owns his own small engine repair shop and sells Toro lawn mowers and snowblowers.

                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                        Yeah, our neighbor kid did not have a lawnmower when he started so he used whatever was in the garage. We had a push mower so he wasn't thrilled about using it. He only let it get extra plush once though... mowing really long grass with a push mower is a pain.

                                                                        When he was about fifteen his prices jumped so he could pay back his parents who'd invested in equipment - a really good snowblower he bought in the summer and the loudest leaf blower and super powered mower bought in the winter. Smart kid.

                                                                    2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                      You are NOT Chicken Little. My apologies. The algae bloom problem in NW Ohio and Michigan has me rethinking everything.
                                                                      http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20...

                                                                      1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                        I immediately thought of this thread, too. You know, the odds are that I would never use this emergency supply of water. And I hope to never have to. But it's really not that hard to be prepared, relative to how important it is to have it if it's ever needed.

                                                                        I hope the folks in Ohio and Michigan are hanging in there...

                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                2. re: John E.

                                                                  We are currently in the flat Midwest and our water-disruption was due to flooding..

                                                                  IME: with flooding and hurricanes one has a few days/ hours to "prepare".

                                                                  Tornadoes and earthquakes, not so much.

                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                      We half joke that even if a tornado were to hit our Twin Cities home, we would still have running water thanks to our 2 sump pumps. Not sure if I would really want to drink it to start, but they pumping the sump every 5-6 minutes currently. At least if things got rough you could float a couple of chilled beverages. . .

                                                                      Thanks for whoever up thread provided the bleach ratios. Pray I will never have to use it.

                                                            2. Where are you people putting your emergency water? I was just thinking about this the other day and thought that I too would like to keep emergency drinking water around. But I'm wary of leaving it in the house because if there's an earthquake and the house goes down...how do I access the water? Same for the garage.

                                                              Do I just hide it in some bushes so that it's shaded?

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: PandanExpress

                                                                Modern American wood framed houses are very earthquake resistant. Building codes require the house to be specially tied together and bolted to the foundation. Unless you have brick or stone or are on landfill your house is unlikely to collapse. Maybe burn though with leaking gas and loose wires. So you need to know how to shut off utilities.
                                                                Maybe have some rain barrels under the roof eaves? You can fill with tap water and change every year.

                                                                1. re: divadmas

                                                                  PandanExpress--I laugh that I magically think my supply of emergency stuff will be spared while the rest of the house is a pile of rubble. Maybe that's where a Magic House comes in handy. (Actually, I have my jugs of water in bins--double wrapped in giant plastic garbage bags--in the laundry room closet.)

                                                                  And, divadmas, "rain barrels"--in my part of earthquake country, we had a whopping 5.5 inches of rain last year, so rain barrels would be woefully inadequate, I'm afraid. Filling with tap water is an interesting idea, though. My backup idea is the neighbor's swimming pool (for non-potable needs)--he's a snowbird, so not here much of the year, altho' the pool stays full.

                                                                2. re: PandanExpress

                                                                  You know, wherever there's room for it (which also hopefully happens to be a disaster resistant place) and just hope it's going to survive the emergency, whatever it is.

                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                3. I've bought extra water before forewarned weather events, but otherwise don't keep a supply--there's really nowhere to store such a thing.

                                                                  Luckily the liquor cabinet is abundant.