This is Part 2 of our Being Prepared series, which focuses on water storage. Provident Living provides some great insight on being prepared.
Do you have enough water stored for you and your family in the event of an emergency? If so, is it stored properly? Adults need to drink at least two quarts of water each day. There are four quarts in a gallon. And, if you add in other needs, such a water for cooking, cleaning, etc. you really need one gallon per day per person. Children, nursing mothers, and ill people may need more. Additional water is needed for food preparation and hygiene—for a total of one gallon per adult per day. Experts recommend storing a two-week supply as a minimum. For an adult, that’s 14 gallons (53 liters).
A gallon of water weighs about 8.3 pounds. Water is not easy to transport because it is so heavy. That means your emergency water plan should account for that.
Keep these items in mind when you are planning. For example, you may want to put a gallon of water per day in your 72-hour kit. But, that will weigh about 25 pounds. Are you and your children strong enough? Will it even fit?
How do we do this? An approach
Here is an approach to water storage. The Ready Store says you need to have three ways of getting to clean water:
1. Store water. Every shelter-in-place supply should have water storage. A small word of caution: Don’t try to go cheap on your water storage. Buy a food grade water storage container like a 55, 30 or 5 gallon container and use that. Don’t fill up your old juice bottles or your old milk jugs. They’ll crack more easily and they’re not designed for long term storage.
The barrels and water containers are not very expensive and when the time comes that you need the water, you will be glad you stored water you can actually use. Also, have a variety of sizes of storage containers. Don’t just have a 55 gallon barrel that you never move and never clean out or fill up. Use smaller, easier to transport containers like a 5 gallon stackable.
2. Have a portable water filter. If you do have the water stored but you are not sure if it is safe or you come across water in an emergency and you don’t know if it is safe, portable water filters are extremely handy and will allow you to clean suspect water that you come into contact with and make it drinkable.
These portable micro filters will remove bacteria and protozoa from the water, but won’t kill viruses. If you have a stream, lake, pond, river or well by your house; you will be able to clean the water from those sources using these filters. Each filter will clean up to 500 gallons of water. That is nearly ten 55 gallon drums worth of water. They are also great for camping or hiking.
3. Have water purification tablets. These are very handy to have around and a small bottle will chemically treat up to 25 quarts of water. They work fairly quickly (typically in less than a half an hour) and will kill bacteria, protozoa and viruses.
Remember that if you don’t have any of these three things, you can still clean water by boiling it. As a matter of fact, boiling is most effective way to clean water except it won’t take out the floaties like a filter will. The problem with boiling water to drink is it uses a lot of fuel that you may not want to use for that purpose. Also, don’t forget to have portable water pouches in your emergency supplies. They have a 5 year shelf life and are very handy to have around.
According to providentliving.org, water storage containers should be thoroughly washed and should be airtight and resistant to breakage. Plastic soda bottles are commonly used. If the water has been treated with chlorine by a water utility, you do not need to add anything before storing it. If the water is not chlorinated and is clear, add eight drops of household bleach (5 percent sodium hypochlorite) per gallon. If the water is not chlorinated and is cloudy, add 16 drops per gallon. Seal the containers tightly, date them, and store them in a cool, dark place. Since many containers are clear, and light can permeate them, you may want to cover them or store them in dark plastic bags. Replace water every six months.
Other water sources in your home include the water heater and water remaining in the pipes, but in the event of contamination, this water would need to be purified. Having ready, potable water available for immediate use is one of the most important ways to help your family be prepared for an emergency.
If more families and homes are prepared for an emergency that places less burden on local governments and first responders.