Toldeo Drinking Water Crisis Reminder of Need to Prepare

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    Are you ready for a disruption in your food and water supply?

    Experts say your disaster crisis management should include stocking at least one full week’s worth of food and water for each person in a household, but even in earthquake-prone California where we’re based it’s a rarity to see anyone who is properly prepared.

    Early this month, residents of Toldeo, Ohio and surrounding areas were left in a lurch when their tap water was declared undrinkable due to a algae bloom in nearby Lake Erie that resulted in the presence of microcystin, a toxin that causes nausea and impair liver function in humans, and can be fatal to animals and plant life. Compounding the situation was the fact that boiling water containing microsystin would not make it safe, but actually concentrate the toxin further.

    Although the state, National Guard, and major grocery chains did their best to bring as much fresh water as possible to residents, LA Times coverage illustrated how tense the situation was for those affected:

    As truckloads of water came in from across the state, Toledo leaders set up distribution centers at schools around the city, limiting families to one case of bottled water each, AP reported.

    Sam Melden, a native of West Toledo, told The Times he rushed to the nearest supply store around 9 a.m., only to find the shelves virtually barren.

    “Costco was like a war zone, and they were limiting to like five cases,” he said.

    Melden, who lives with his wife and two young daughters, and many of his neighbors were facing daunting trips out of town once they realized that local supplies were running short.

    No matter how safe you think you are from disaster, reality is circumstances, both natural and man-made, can result in you and your family being be cut off from food and water for an extended period of time. Stocking a week’s worth of water and high-calorie, low-spoilage items like meal bars, dried fruit, canned soups, vegetables and meats is fairly inexpensive, and could mean anything from making you a bit more comfortable to literally saving your life, so what are you waiting for?

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    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management
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    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., an international crisis management consultancy, author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is Social Media Manager for the firm, and also editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]