Emergency Management

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During an emergency, the water supply may be compromised or become contaminated. It’s important to make sure you have enough water for everyone in your household to last at least 3 days.


In addition to property damage, water can cause electrocution when exposed to electrical wiring. Be sure to shut off your water when there is a severe leak in your building.

  • Store 1 gallon of water per person per day in an easily-accessible, cool, dark place
  • Children, nursing mothers, and sick people may need more water
  • If you live in a warm weather climate more water may be necessary
  • Rotate your water supply every 6 months
  • Water should be stored in tightly sealed plastic containers labeled with the date they will expire (6 months after storage)
  • Keep a small bottle of unscented liquid bleach for purifying water

If you have concerns about the safety of your water supply, you can:

  • Boil water for at least 5 minutes at a rapid boil and let it cool before using
  • Add 8 drops of unscented liquid bleach per gallon of water and shake or stir. Let it stand for 30 minutes before using. Chlorine smell and taste is normal.

If you exhaust your water supply, you can use the water in your water heater by straining it through paper towels or clean cloth and treating it in one of the methods mentioned above.

Contact Us

Polk County Emergency Management
1907 Carpenter Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50314
(515) 286-2107

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