CERT Program of Kirkland, WA

Water in an Emergency

If an earthquake, hurricane, winter storm or other disaster strikes your community, you might not have access to water for days, or even weeks.  By taking some time now to store emergency water supplies, you can provide for your entire family.  This brochure was developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in cooperation with the American Red Cross and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and adapted by Prepare Northwest.

Having an ample supply of clean water is a top priority in an emergency.  A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day.  Hot environments can double that amount.  Children, nursing mothers and ill people will need even more.  You will also need water for food preparation and hygiene.  Store a total of at least one gallon per person, per day.  You should store at least a two-week supply of water for each member of your family.

If supplies run low, never ration water.  Drink the amount you need for today and try to find more for tomorrow.  You can minimize the amount of water your body needs by reducing activity and staying cool.

How to Store Water

Store your water in thoroughly washed plastic, fiberglass, or enamel-lined metal containers.  (Glass containers can be used but are not preferred because they can break and be a safety hazard.)  Never use a container that has held toxic substances.  Plastic containers, such as soft drink bottles, are best.  You can also purchase food-grade plastic drums or storage containers.  Seal water containers tightly, label them, and store in a cool dark place away from volatile chemicals.

Purifying Water

Boiling: Boiling is the safest method of purifying water.  Bring water to a rolling boil for 3-5 minutes, keeping in mind that some water will evaporate.  Let the water cool before drinking.

Disinfection: You can use unscented household liquid bleach to kill microorganisms.  Use regular bleach with 5-6% sodium hypochlorite.  Add 1/8thof a teaspoon (about 16 drops) to a gallon of water and let stand for 30 minutes.

Distillation: Distillation involves boiling water and then collecting the vapor that condenses back to water.  The condensed vapor will not include salt and other impurities.  To distill, fill a pot halfway with water.  Tie a cup to the handle on the pot’s lid so that the cup will hang right-side-up when the lid is upside-down (make sure the cup is not dangling in the water) and boil the water for 20 minutes.  The water that drips from the lid into the cup is distilled.

This information was provided by Prepare Northwest
www.PrepareNW.com or (206) 890-1104.

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