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Water: Emergency Information

Public Involvement in Water Security

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Drinking Water Security Poster: Report Suspicious Activity at Reservoirs, at Utilities, and at Water MainsLocal drinking water and wastewater systems could be potential targets for terrorist or other criminal acts. Concerned citizens can help protect their water resources by joining together with law enforcement, neighborhood watch groups, drinking water and wastewater system personnel, and local public health and safety officials to promote public awareness and education in areas relevant to water security. Several resources are provided below to help increase public awareness of water security issues and to give citizens information and guidance to help them prepare for potential emergency incidents and incorporate security activities into their daily lives.

What Do I Do If I Notice Suspicious Activities?

Residents can help protect the supply of safe drinking water and the removal and treatment of wastewater. Suspicious activity around local water utilities should be reported to local law enforcement authorities. The resources below provide further information and examples of suspicious activities, what concerned citizens can do if they notice such activities, contacts for reporting apparent violations, and posters and fliers that can be displayed in public areas to increase awareness.

  • Water Security and You (PDF) (1 pg, 106K) - This brief article identifies types of suspicious activities and the information to include when reporting an incident.
  • Drinking Water Security Posters - These fliers are available to download in three different formats. They can be posted in public areas to help educate and alert communities about water security.
  • Useful Links to State Agencies - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security provides links to governmental agencies listed by state. The agencies are responsible for homeland security, public safety, and emergency management and services and may be contacted regarding issues of infrastructure protection and potential terrorist and emergency incidents.
  • Reporting Violations: Compliance and Enforcement  -To report incidents that could affect water security, visit this EPA site. Although most environmental violations are handled by state environmental offices, tips or complaints may be reported through this Web site and will be reviewed by the appropriate EPA regional office.
  • When reporting suspicious activities or potential incidents, citizens may contact local law enforcement authorities or a local FBI field office .

How Do I Verify the Quality of My Water?

The links below can help answer questions about the water quality in your community and home.

  • Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Water Safety - EPA's Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water provides answers to frequently asked questions such as how people can find out if their tap water is safe, how they would be notified if an incident compromising the safety of their water occurs, and how they can disinfect drinking water if a contamination incident occurs.
  • Local Drinking Water Information - EPA provides links to local drinking water systems and safe drinking water partner organizations. From these local systems, consumers can get information on the annual drinking water quality reports required of water suppliers, including summaries of the susceptibility to contamination of local drinking water sources.
  • Food Safety.Gov  - This site serves as a central hub for gathering information from various government agencies about how to protect food and water supplies from potential contamination incidents.

Citizen Preparedness Resources and Emergency Response Resources

Concerned citizens can help protect their community by

  • Taking personal responsibility for being prepared for any instance of terrorist attack or other emergency situation
  • Getting training in emergency skills
  • Volunteering to support local emergency response, disaster relief, and community safety organizations

Provided below are resources regarding potential incidents resulting from terrorist attack, how communities and individuals can be prepared for such events, and publications and organizations that promote emergency preparedness.

  • Are You Ready? A Guide to Citizen Preparedness - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) presents survival techniques and disaster-specific information on how to prepare for and respond to natural and man-made emergencies.
  • Food and Water in an Emergency (PDF) (4 pp, 617K) - This brochure gives instructions specific to drinking water in emergency situations, such as how to shut off the incoming water valve in a home to stop contaminated water from entering during a contamination incident. Information on how to purify water in the home is also provided.
  • The U.S. Department of Homeland Security - This site gives links to publications and organizations for further information to help citizens be better prepared for potential emergency situations, including scenarios potentially affecting public health.
  • Ready.gov - To help citizens begin to learn about potential terrorist threats, the Department of Homeland Security has developed another Web site specifically concerned with incident and emergency preparedness in the event of a potential terrorist attack. The site discusses actions to be taken depending on the specific type of terrorist attack.
  • Citizens' Preparedness Guidebook (PDF) (30 pp, 646K) - Crime and disaster response techniques are provided to help citizens make preparedness a part of their daily lives in their homes, neighborhoods, workplaces, and public spaces. This guide includes steps such as making a list of phone numbers and contact information for use in the instance of noticing suspicious activities. It also gives contact information for preparedness, health services, and safety and security organizations.
  • Citizen Preparedness Publications - FEMA and Citizen Corps Councils have developed this site to provide information on publications to help citizens be better prepared for crime, terrorism, and disasters of all types.

Citizen Organizations Promoting Preparedness

The following organizations enable citizens to participate directly in security efforts in their own communities.

  • Citizen Corps - Coordinated by FEMA, Citizen Corps enables Americans to volunteer to promote safety in their communities, to get training in emergency skills, and to assist other public health and safety organizations. A national network of state, local, and tribal Citizen Corps Councils will carry out local strategies to help make members of communities better prepared to respond to threats of terrorism, crime, public health issues, and emergencies.
  • Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) - Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, has announced the availability of $19 million in grant money to train citizens to be better prepared to respond to emergency situations in their communities through local Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) coordinated by FEMA.

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