Emergency Preparedness Blog Series

Welcome to our Emergency Preparedness Blog Series! After Hurricane Maria welcomed us to St. Croix in September, we feel like we have certainly learned about surviving a disaster. We wanted to share some of that knowledge with you! For the next several weeks we will be posting each week about different topics that we have learned about. We hope that they will help you assess your own preparation in light of an emergency. We will ask some questions that will get you thinking about what plans you have in place.

We also want to share with you some of the amazing things that helped us. In order for us to be completely transparent, we will get a small portion of affiliate sales if you choose to add any of these fine products to your own emergency preparedness arsenal. Thank you!

As with any preparedness plan, ours started with Food, one of the 3 main components and today we are going to discuss WATER.


What is your plan for water? Drinking? Cooking? Cleaning? Think about it. How many times do you put your hands under a faucet in one day? How many times do you flush a toilet? How much water do you drink in a day? Now imagine that it was not simple to get that water. What would you do?


We have a cistern. We don’t drink from our cistern. We have had conflicting advice to either choice. We were not confident drinking our cistern water before the storm and had a water dispenser that we got our drinking water from. It ran on electricity. Now we use bottled water. We get cases of it from the local grocery store. We stocked up and got several cases of water prior to the storm. I was paranoid about having enough drinking water and not being able to go buy more. I got a lot. Now every time I go to the store I usually get 3 cases. Once power is restored we can go back to using our water dispenser and cut down on our carbon footprint.

If we didn’t have bottled water we do have a back-up plan for using the water available to us. We have purification tablets, water purifying pitcher, and water purifying straws. What water supply do you have to use for drinking water? Do you plan on water bottles? Do you have enough to last several weeks? Or enough until you may have to go with option B and start purifying other water? Do you have means to purify water?


As most of the water we use for cooking will be boiled we pull it from our cistern. Our cistern has an access right inside of our house. We use two 14 quart buckets (this affiliate link is a pack of two – winning!)to lift water out of the cistern. Thankfully the water is high enough that we can do this. We did have a wonderful friend send us a pump – that should we ever need it – could easily pull the water from the cistern.

Perhaps you also have a cistern or a well. Do you have a way to draw water that does not require power? If you don’t have an onsite source of water, and you get your water from your city, what is your plan to get water? Do you have 55-gallon drums? Do you have a pump to get water from the drum? You can’t just pour the water from there – you’ve got to get it out somehow. What will you use to get water into your pots or pans? We keep two small carafes full of water so we don’t have to always pour from our buckets into our pots or pans.


If you have ever gone for even a few days without water you know the pains of having to wash dishes, hands, or bodies without flowing water. And flushing a toilet is also an adventure!

We have wash basins in both of our bathrooms. We trade out the water at least once a day. They are much easier to wash hands in than trying to juggle a bottle of water. When we were in Utah, we lost our water for a few days while they took care of some pipes in our neighborhood and we used water bottles. Wash basins are MUCH better.

We don’t have a dish washer so washing dishes wasn’t too much of a shock to our regular routine. The only difference was plugging up the other side of our sink for rinsing. One side of the sink is for washing and one for rinsing – done. If you are used to throwing everything in the dishwasher, try hand washing one night and see how it goes.

Bathing in a bucket is no fun. We were so grateful that we had brought along our camp shower. I praised this little wonder in this post. It was so much better to have flowing water from the camp shower than a sudden deluge from a bucket. I highly recommend adding one of these to your own preparedness kit. It will allow you to have a little bit of your humanity as you are struggling to survive.

I had always had city water prior to moving here. I had never experienced flushing a toilet without the lever. I didn’t even know you could! When you don’t have water from your cistern because your pump runs on electricity, you learn pretty quickly. Especially with two little boys in the house – I am intimately acquainted with it now.

Flushing a Toilet with a Bucket

  • Fill your bucket up far enough to be able to provide enough force to flush things down the hole.

  • Pour the water quickly into the bowl of the toilet. If you go too slowly it will just fill up the bowl with more water and will not provide the force to send things down.

  • Wipe up any water drippage that has happened on the floor or on the seat.

  • Give yourself a high five for being a self-sufficient survivor!

I have flushed many toilets with buckets now. I could call myself a bucket flushing pro – very little drippage from my bucket flush. Is it glamorous? Nope. Does it do the job? You bet. Try flushing your toilet with a bucket sometime….it works! We also live by the motto: If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.

As for cleaning of counters, toilets, or any other surfaces, we do it with Clorox or Lysol wipes. It helps things get clean without using our precious water. It is amazing how quickly things can get dirty when you don’t have running water. It has been interesting to learn that.

Water sustains life. What is your plan for how you will get that much required resource in the face of disaster?

Do you have a source for water already?
Tell us in a comment below.

Up Next – Shelter!