Unlike the other 5,347,106 households in the Los Angeles/Riverside/Orange/Ventura County metropolitan area, we have taken at least some minimal earthquake preparedness steps.
Some of it’s common sense – don’t hang a big and heavy mirror or painting on the wall over your bed, for example. We have flashlights next to our beds, just in case. (The 1994 Northridge earthquake hit at 04:30:55.) And we have a series of backpacks, or “bug-out bags,” lined up in the front hallway.
The bug-out bags (five of them, one for each of us if we’re all home and one for the pets – that’s my way-too-little-used flightbag on top) each has water, flashlights, whistles, dust masks, granola bars, a little cash, candy, tools, a first aid kit, gloves, and so on. Every year or so I go through and pull out the old perishable items (candy, granola bars) and replenish them with new. (This is an excellent excuse to eat the “old” candy – although my kids will testify that there is no such thing as “old” candy to me.) In the past, we’ve also swapped out the collection of liter water bottles in each, because they have an expiration date on them.
Today I finally stopped to wonder if it’s actually necessary to change out the bottled water. I mean, it’s just water, right? Does the water pick up chemicals leeched from the plastic bottles? Does it start off with almost insignificant amounts of bacteria or contamination but over the course of years and years it gets worse and worse until finally toxic? Or has the bottled water industry found yet another way to get us to toss out a perfectly good product and replace it with something identical?
This is why they invented Google.
Short version – it’s just water and it never expires. After an extended period it might possibly have a slightly different taste and odor (unlikely), but it will still be perfectly healthy so long as the container hasn’t been opened.
So when The Big One hits and we’re sitting in the rubble with all of our worldly possessions burning and collapsing around us, the ever-so-tiny-bit-“off” water will be the least of our troubles. If it’s really that big of a deal, eat some M&Ms to get the taste out of your mouth, then double check your priorities. Someone (maybe me!) might need to get dug out of the burning rubble.