WATER IN AN EMERGENCY
When you and your family are affected by a disaster such as a winter storm or flood, you might not have access to food, water and electricity for days, even weeks. Water is a survival priority and it is important that you have an emergency supply of clean water that will provide for your entire family in a disaster situation. You should figure at least one gallon per family member, including pets. You should store at minimum a two week supply for each member. Don't forget that you will need this water, not only for drinking but for food preparation and hygience. The water can be stored in plastic, glass or enamel lined metal containers. Seal the containers tightly and label them, storing in a cool, dark place. Change water supply every six months.
If you do not have a water supply to use during a disaster or your supply is not accessable or has been destroyed or the safety of the water compromised, you can use the water in your pipes, hot-water tank and ice cubes. Lastly, you can use the water in toilet tanks, not the bowl.
To use water in water pipes:
- Let air into the plumbing by turning on the faucet at the highest level in your house.
- Then obtain water from the lowest faucet in the house.
To use water in your hot-water tank:
- Be sure the electricity or gas is shut off.
- Open the drain at the bottom of the tank.
- Start the water flowing by turning off the water intake valve and turning on a hot-water faucet.
- Do not turn on the gas or electricity when the tank is empty.
Water can also be found outside of your house:
- Other moving bodies of water such as ponds & lakes, natural springs.
- Must purify this water before drinking or using in food preparation.
- Avoid water with material floating in it, an odor or dark colored.
- Saltwater can be used if distilled first.
- DO NOT DRINK OR USE FLOODWATER FOR FOOD PREPARATION.
HOW TO PURIFY WATER:
- Boiling - bring water to a rolling boil for 3-5 minutes.
- Boiled water will taste better if you pour the water back and forth between 2 clean containers.
- Add 16 drops of non-scented, regular household bleach that contains 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite per gallon of water.
- Do not use color-safe or bleaches with added cleansers.
- Stir and let stand for 30 minutes.
- If the water does not have a slight bleach odor, repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes.
- Distilling is a more through method. It removes microbes that resist boiling and disinfecting as well as metals, salts and most other chemicals. It involves boiling water and then collecting the vapor that condenses back to water.
- 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 and boil the water for 20 minutes. The water that drips from the lid into the cup is distilled.
IF SUPPLIES RUN LOW, DO NOT RATION WATER. DRINK THE AMOUNT YOU NEED TODAY, AND TRY TO FIND MORE FOR TOMORROW. YOU CAN MINIMIZE WATER NEEDED BY THE BODY BY MINIMIZING ACTIVITY AND STAYING COOL.
If Public Health Department information differs from this advice, the local information should prevail.