Emergency Preperation: Drinking Source
Emergencies and disasters can occur anywhere at anytime. The most important way to help survive the initial disaster is to be prepared. Previously I discussed having emergency lighting sources. The next subject to cover is water and drinking sources.
During any emergency, the potential to lose drinking water is high. Disasters can cause water sources to become polluted or even water flow to be disrupted due to destruction of pipes or buildings. Clean water is one of the first things brought in to disaster areas, and with good cause as clean water is necessary for survival.
The obvious solution is to have several gallons of clean water on hand. Try to keep between 3 and 4 gallons per person on standby. This will allow there to be clean water for drinking, and for cooking if need be. Storing the water can be tricky, because depending on what disaster occurs, there may be substantial structural damage, which could render the water jugs to be ruptured, lodged under a collapsed wall, or completely destroyed.
I would recommend storing the water in two places. In both places however, I would store the water in either a large plastic cooler, or another form of hard storage such as an old hope chest, or a plastic storage bin. This storage will enable the water to maintain its bottled integrity in case of shifting or falling debris. Keep one storage chest handy in the immediate house, and a second either in a basement or a garage, or an external building (in case fire destroys the main house). Pack some power towels and drinking glasses in the case with them. You can pick up some cheap plastic drinking cups at grocery or department stores, and these would be perfect for usage in these situations.
Assuming a very worse case scenario and both stores of water are destroyed or rendered undrinkable, make sure you have some water purification tablets or a portable filtration system. Keep these in your emergency bag for easy access. Boil the water first, and then apply any tablets or filtration afterwards. Boiling the water alone should kill most of the bacteria, but for safety sake I would recommend applying the tablet and filter afterwards.
The first few hours after an emergency are the most critical, as things are falling, burning, exploding and performing various other unnatural actions. Being prepared will help make those hours a little easier, and can help you hold out until professional help arrives.