Emergency Preparedness Essentials


Emergency Water Supply

Water is one of the basic necessities of life and one of most important items you'll need to address when creating your emergency supply kit. Following a disaster, it's not uncommon for water to be unavailable or contaminated. Be prepared by making sure you have an ample supply of clean water to help you and your family weather an emergency.

How Much Water Do You Need?

We recommend that you store a minimum of one gallon of water per person per day to last at least two weeks. An average adult will drink at least one gallon of water a day depending on health, physical condition, and diet. Children may require slightly more or less depending on their activity level. To calculate how much water your family needs consider the following:
  • An average person will use one gallon of water a day for drinking and sanitation.
  • Nursing mothers, active children, elderly and sick people may require more than a gallon a day.
  • A medical emergency might require additional water so it is wise to have extra water on hand for natural disasters or major emergencies.
  • If you live in a hot climate your water needs may increase up to double.
  • Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person MINIMUM. However, we recommend that you maintain a least a two week supply of water as some natural disaster can destroy infrastructure and water systems for weeks.

The Best Way To Store Water

If you can purchase commercially bottled water that has been properly sealed and maintained this is ideal. Do not store water that has been opened, as it can quickly become contaminated. Store bottle water in a cool, dark place.

Preparing Your Own Containers of Water

When commercially bottled water is not available you can prepare containers of water yourself. Make sure that you store water in food grade water containers that have durable airtight seals.

Before filling the containers with water make sure they are thoroughly cleaned with dishwashing soap or a comparable disinfectant.

If you opt to use your own storage containers, only use two-liter plastic soft drink bottles or bottles that previously held water. Do not use cardboard containers, milk jugs or any other container that contained anything but soda or water. Milk protein and fruit sugars are difficult to remove from containers and can cause bacterial growth when used as water storage containers. In addition, milk jugs and cardboard containers are not durable and can spring leaks. Avoid glass containers because they tend to be heavy and break easily.

Storing Water in Plastic Soda Bottles

If you're going to store water in plastic soda bottles we recommend that you take the following steps:
  • Thoroughly clean all bottles with dishsoap and water. Make sure to also rinse thoroughly to avoid leaving any soap residues.
  • Once clean, sanitize the bottles by rinsing with a solution made up of 1 teaspoon of regular liquid chlorine bleach and one quart of water. Make sure the sanitizing solution comes in cantact with all bottle surfaces to make sure all germs and bacteria are killed. After sanitizing the bottles, re-rinse each bottle with clean water.
  • Now you can fill each bottle with regular tap water (make sure to fill the bottle to the top leaving now air pocket.) If your water comes from a source other than a commercial water utitlity (i.e. well, river, lake, etc.), add two drops of non-scented liquid chlorine to each water bottle. The water will be ready for use in about 30 mintues. (Note: You can also purify your water using water purification tablets that you can pick of an most sporting goods stores.)
  • There should be a slight smell of chlorine left in the water. If not, add another drop of bleach and allow the water to sit for another 15 mintues.
  • Once you're sure the water is not contaminated close the container using the original cap. Do not touch the inside of the cap with your finger or anything else as this can contaminate your water.
  • Place the current date on each recently filled water container so that you'll know how old the water is. Store the water in a cool, dark location.
  • Water that has not been bottled commercially should be replaced twice a year.
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