Emergency Water

Are you prepared for every disaster?

Extra food – check, first-aid kit -check, flashlight with extra batteries – check, generator – check, water – huh, what about water.

Water is often the last item on a survival checklist. The recommendation on the amount of water needed per person per day is one gallon.

When disaster strikes fill the bathtub with water. With some purification you could end up with several useable gallons of water.

The best advice is really to plan ahead and have water stored prior to any disaster.

Storing water options

One gallon of water per person per day is quite a bit. One option is to purchase bottled water. Another option is to fill 5 gallon, food quality, buckets with water. Buckets can be purchased at Lowe’s or Home Depot. If this option is chosen the buckets run about $3.25 each and the lid is an additional $1.68. With tax each bucket/lid combination run about $5.

Planning ahead and with a little work at Firehouse Sub 5 gallon pickle buckets are only $2 each. For $10 two buckets (10 gallons) can be purchased at a home improvement store or 5 buckets (25 gallons) at Firehouse Subs.

Firehouse Sub Buckets

The one issue with Firehouse Sub buckets is the pickle smell. Doing an internet search “remove pickle smell from Firehouse Sub buckets” will show lots of results and methods to remove the smell.

I have tried several: baking soda, newspaper, coffee grounds, soap and water to name a few. All of these fell short. The best way I found was to place the buckets in the sun and let the sun bake the odor away. Placed the buckets and lids in the sun and let them sit. In a day or two the smell will be gone.

Storing Water

Whether you purchase food quality buckets new or use Firehouse Sub buckets the goal is to store water.


The first thing you need to do is sanitize your container. Wash the bucket with soap and water. Rinse thoroughly. Using 1 teaspoon of household bleach per quart of water. Fill the bucket with some water/bleach mixture and then swish the water/bleach around the bucket making sure the entire bucket surface gets wet. Rinse well once again.

Filling the Bucket

If the water is not clean, it must be disinfected prior to storing it. Using a water filter or purifier works well. Boiling the water is the best. Bring the water to a rolling boil for 1 minute. If at altitudes greater then 5,000 feet continue the boiling for 3 minutes . If there is sediment floating in the water prior to purifying or boiling run it through a coffee filter to remove them. Once clean water is available fill the container and close the container tight.

Storing Water Container

Once the water containers are filled and the lid is tightly on, label the container with the date the water was stored also put “Drinking Water” on the label. Store them in a dark cool space. Check your supply every six month. Store purchased bottle water should be safe for approximately one year, homemade bottled water should be replaced every 6 months.

Using Emergency Water

When a disaster happens and the emergency water is used the water should be used  between 1 and 5 days. Three to five days if refrigerated, 2 days if kept in a cool place and 1 day if the water gets warm. If the purity of the water is in question boil again or purify with chlorine. Add 1/2 teaspoon of unscented bleach for every five gallons of water. Use 1 teaspoon of bleach if the water cloudy. Always let the water stand for 30 minutes or more before drinking or use for cooking.