Emergency Water Supply
With a twist of the faucet we immediately have water to drink, shower, and prepare our food. Having potable water at our fingertips is a luxury that we at times take for granted. However, as a result of natural disasters, parasites, a break in the water or sewer line, water supplies can become contaminated. How can you ensure your family has an emergency water supply should an unexpected event occur? When and what should you prepare regarding your emergency water supply?
Start Now—Not Tomorrow
Some disasters are foreseeable giving you time to purchase bottled water; but not all disasters or emergencies are predictable. For instance, tornadoes can hit suddenly without warning. Therefore, now is the time to purchase or prepare your emergency water supply.
Emergency Water Supply—How Much Is Needed?
The American Red Cross and the Centers for Disease Control recommend having on hand for each active adult at least one gallon of water per person. This amount would include two quarts of drinking water and the other two quarts for food preparedness and hygiene per person. However, an increase from two quarts to three/four quarts may be necessary for the elderly, pregnant and nursing mothers, sickly, or children. This would be an additional half-gallon of water per person. Also, a hotter climate may increase the amount of drinking water for everybody. One recommendation also favors adding four gallons more of water per person if the people are homebound. The important thing to remember is that to avoid dehydration no rationing of water should ever occur. Don't forget extra water for your pets and service animals.
Your emergency water supply should include enough gallons for everyone in your household for a three-day emergency. This is a good start. However, as a precautionary measure, gradually increase your water supply to cover a two-week emergency. In most instances, your regular water supply will return to normal before the two-week period.
Acceptable Containers and Water Preparation for Emergency Water Supply
The safest water for an emergency water supply to use is commercially produced bottled water. Do not open or break the seals. Keep in a cool dark place. Pay attention to any expiration or "use by" dates. Emergency water pouches are even more reliable and last longer. They can be bought packaged and ready for any emergency. This is the easiest and most reliable way to go.
Another option for an emergency water supply is to prepare your own containers and water. This involves a few easy steps:
Step 1: Container Preparation -- When preparing your own container do not use containers previously having milk products or fruit juices in them. Stay away from plastic jugs, glass or cardboard containers. Food-grade containers are acceptable and available for purchase at many camping or surplus stores. You can also use two-liter soft drink bottles. To sanitize your containers, thoroughly wash them with dishwashing liquid. Make sure you rinse container leaving no soap film. If you are using a soft drink bottle, you will need to sanitize the bottles with a chlorine bleach solution. Swish the inside of the container with a solution made up of one teaspoon of non-scented liquid chlorine bleach to one quart or ¼ gallon of water. After you have done this, rinse well with clean water.
Step 2: Water Preparation -- Once your container has been sanitized, you can now fill it with water. If you are using city water that has already been chlorinated, you will not need to add anything else to the water. Fill the container with water, cap it off (careful not to contaminate cap with your fingers), put the date you filled the container on the outside, and store in a cool, dark place.
If your water is not chlorinated, such as well water, you will need to add liquid chlorine bleach. Add two drops of non-scented household liquid chlorinated bleach to one gallon of water. Follow the above steps of capping off, labeling, and storage.
Very important: Remember to discard any unused water after six months if it is not commercially bottled.
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