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Are You Ready for the Next Disaster? 

   Keeping Water on Hand

Disasters happen, whether manmade or natural. Some are inconveniences; others are life-altering. Some of us live in higher risk areas for certain disasters and definitely need to have preparations in place. The best scenario for all of us is to have various response plans for potential disasters that could happen in our areas. Ask yourself what you would do if the following occurred.

  • Power outages, even long term

  • Storms and damage (wind, water, etc.)

  • Geophysical disasters (earthquake, volcano, tsunami, etc.)

  • Chemical spill or gas leak

  • Water source contamination

  • Climate dangers (wildfires, drought, extreme temperatures)

  • Food or fuel shortages

  • Epidemic or pandemic

  • House fire

  • Job or income loss

  • Terror attack

Preparedness doesn't have to involve a lot of money or creating an underground bunker, although it is recommended for those living in tornado alley to have a basement, storm cellar, or safe room. Sometimes small changes and acquiring new habits could make a big difference in times of disasters or shortages. 

Storing Water

Have you noticed when people get scared about things like a potential hurricane, a pandemic, or when a community's water system becomes contaminated, their first response is to make a panic run on the stores to buy bottled water? And it disappears fast. Why not avoid that hassle by storing extra water? 

I asked my father to build some water storage shelves in the garage almost 10 years ago, and we have been drinking filtered water and storing tap water ever since. I've had as much as 30 single gallon containers of water and 21 gallons in the 3 and 5 gallon jugs at one time. The water jugs do wear out over time, so I have to replace them occasionally. 


Three shelves can hold up to 30 gallons of water. The jug handle positions reveal which water needs to be used first.


Filtered water will not store a long time like chlorinated water, so I devised a simple way to help me use the oldest water before the newest ones. The pictures below show how the jug handles reveal the ages of the water. 


The handles reveal three different ages of water. The oldestwater jugs' handles will be turned left; the next oldest water handles will be centered; and the most recently acquired water jugs' handles are turned to the right. 

Minimize handling the water jugs. You do not have to rearrange them in any particular order. Looking at the handles tells you which water jugs need to be used first. 


Oldest water - handle faces left - Use 1st

Next oldest water - handle faces center 

Newest water - handle faces right - Use last

Before shelving the most recently acquired jugs of water, turn all of the handles to the next oldest positionThat way you don't have to physically move the jugs to keep them in some kind of order. Post a little note if you can't remember the handle turning order.


Place any empty jugs on their sides so it's easy to see when it's time to get water. For us, that's when we reach 10 empty jugs.

My father and I have actually avoided those "run-on-the-store" events for supplies like water, food, toilet paper, and groceries because we keep a good inventory of necessities. 

This is one way you can take back some control from outside events, disasters, and crises beyond your control that impact your life. 

Donna Van Cleve

May 2020

Archived - "Preparedness"

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