Stay Safe: Storing Emergency Drinking Water

It’s Tuesday! Better Stay Safe!


Disasters like earthquakes and winter storms can damage water systems. Broken water mains can happen after an earthquake or even a construction accident; freezing temperatures can also rupture pipes in homes.

Store at least 3 days of water for each member of your family.

1 gallon = 1 person = 1 day

Store 1 gallon of daily water for each family member.

  • 3 day supply for a family of 2 = 6 gallons of stored water
  • 3 day supply for a family of 5 = 15 gallons of stored water

If you have pets or additional needs, be sure to account for those too.

How to store water

Gallon-sized juice containers, 2-liter soda bottles, and water cooler jugs are all great water storage containers.

  • Clean your container. Put a small amount of bleach (~1/8 teaspoon) and a few cups of water into the bottle. Cap it and lightly shake the container. Empty the bottle, and wash the lid and around the top of the bottle.
  • Fill your container. Fill up with fresh tap water, all the way to the top of the bottle. Screw the lid on tightly, and you’re set.
  • Label the container. Label the bottle “emergency drinking water” and add the date you filled the container.
  • Keep your water fresh. Every 6 months, empty and refill the containers- use it to water plants or rinse off outdoor furniture. Changing your water when you change your clocks in the spring and fall is an easy way to remember this.

Things to avoid

This is mostly common sense. Still, make sure:

  • Don’t use glass bottles (they can break)
  • Avoid plastic milk jugs (hard to sanitize, and the plastic gets brittle)
  • Don’t use bottles that held bleach or chemicals

If you’re going to buy water, it pays to invest a little extra for a sturdy container. When I stored hurricane water in Florida, I bought the rectangular 3-gallon containers with the little spouts, and stacked them under my kitchen counter.

Eight or nine months later, I came home from work one day to find a tiny flood across my apartment… the containers had gotten brittle, and a tiny crack in the corner of one was all it took to drain the whole thing. Keep an eye on your stash, and keep it in sturdy containers!

The blue plastic 5-gallon jugs are easiest, and most grocery stores have them. Add one to your cart each time you go, and you’ll have it taken care of quickly.

Police reports for two more property crimes, plus contact information (and an update)

UPDATE (11:15 am): Called Seattle Times circulation, where I was told that the district manager for our area can occasionally check up with subscribers on their delivery service. However, the woman I talked to had no information on recent activity in our area. I have left a message for our area’s district manager regarding these house calls.

This afternoon/evening, two more police reports for recent burglary activity became available online. I have summarized both below:

  • 1600 block of NE 73rd Street – Victim leaves home at 7:30 am, returns at 4:45 pm to a broken into back door (glass panel broken, deadbolt unlocked). Home has been rummaged through. Missing items reported at the time include a digital camera, laptop, and approximately $100 of coins from a coin separator.
  • 7000 block of 14th Avenue NE – Homeowner reports that her housekeeper noticed a window in the basement of the house had been pried away from the frame. A pry mark was found on another window as well. However, no entry was made.


It has been mentioned by a few Ravenna Blog commenters that someone has been knocking on doors during the day, and when presented with an occupant, says something to the effect of, “Did you receive your paper in the usual spot today?”

I have just sent off an email to the Seattle Times circulation folks to see if this is a quality control tactic they use. I have a feeling that the answer is going to be, “No, we don’t do that,” but I want to be sure. Will update post when I hear back.

Let this just be a reminder for all of us: If you see something suspicious, CALL THE POLICE. We all know the emergency number (9-1-1), but there is also a non-emergency number you can call (206-625-5011).

The Seattle Police Department suggests you call the non-emergency number when (from their website; emphasis mine):

  • You want to report a nuisance, such as a noise or parking complaint.
  • To report a non-emergency crime – one that did not just occur, and the suspects are not in the immediate area.
  • You have questions about something suspicious occurring in your neighborhood, and you are not sure it is criminal activity.
  • The calltaker will determines how best to handle your call. In some cases, your information will be taken and you will get a call back from the telephone reporting unit, and your report may be taken over the phone.

Might I suggest we all keep that 206-625-5011 number handy, in case of non-emergency?