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Water in an Emergency

THE INFORMATION BELOW, THE WATER SOURCES AND PURIFICATION METHODS DESCRIBED SHOULD BE USED ONLY IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY.

If an earthquake, winter storm or other disaster strikes your community, you might not have access to water for days or weeks. By taking some time now to store emergency water supplies, you can provide for your entire family in the event of an emergency.

A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Children, nursing mothers and ill people will need even more water. You will also need water for food preparation and hygiene. For these reasons, the Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends that you store at least a two-week supply of water for each member of your family. You should store your water in thoroughly washed plastic, glass or fiberglass containers. Plastic containers, such as soft drink bottles, are the best. Seal containers tightly, label them and store in a cool, dark place. Replace your emergency water supply every six months.

However, if a disaster catches you without a stored supply of clean water, there are other resources for water. Water sources outside of your home such as rainwater, streams, rivers, ponds, lakes and natural springs can be used, but must be purified. You can also find sources of water inside your home, such as the water in your hot water tank. To use this water, be sure the electricity or gas is turned off and open the drain at the bottom of the tank. Start the water flow by turning off the water intake valve on the tank and turning on a hot water faucet at a sink. This water must be purified before using, and do not turn on the gas or electricity when the tank is empty.

There are many ways to purify water and none is perfect. Often, the best solution is a combination of methods.

BOILING: Bring water to a rolling boil for 3-5 minutes. Let water cool before drinking.

DISINFECTION: For this process, use only regular household bleach that contains 5.25% sodium hypochlorite. Do not use scented bleaches, color-safe bleaches or bleaches with added cleaners. Add 16 drops of bleach per 1 gallon of water, stir and let stand for 30 minutes. If the water does NOT have a slight bleach odor, repeat the dosage and let stand for another 15 minutes. 

The above information was obtained from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website 

 www.FEMA.gov


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