Emergency Drinking Water - Sources, Disinfection, and Storage
Having safe drinking water in the event of an emergency is essential for survival and should be a vital part of your emergency preparedness and your disaster supplies. We take fresh water for granted every day, but in the case of an major emergency, such as a flood or earthquake, safe drinking water becomes a scarce commodity. Above all, knowledge in the care and mechanics of producing safe water can avoid the unpleasant side effects that can even result in a life threatening situation. By far the easiest way is to be prepared with commercially available emergency water that typically has a five year shelf life. Always have at least a 72 hour supply with your emergency supplies and don't forget to include enough for you're your pets. You should have at least one gallon per person and pet per day.
Sources Of Water
In the event that you run out of your emergency supplies or need to prepare for an event that is longer than 72 hours, there are several sources to consider and they all need to be treated for safe drinking. Don't forget the following:
Above all, never assume that water is safe based on its source (unless from your emergency water supplies within date code) and take the proper steps to disinfect. Extreme care must be taken as to not cross contaminate containers and hoses from questionable sources to those where you are storing and using your disinfected water. Disinfection is to kill disease-causing micro-organisms like Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium. As outlined by the EPA, there are several methods of disinfection.
As outlined above, be sure to have plenty of emergency water on hand as well as methods to treat water should additional supplies be needed. Be sure to be very methodical and strict with procedures when it comes to handling and sanitizing your water supplies. Contaminated water can have life threatening effects, especially on young children, the elderly, or people with poor immune systems. Follow recommended procedures and, above all, don't cross contaminate.
Be sure to maintain your supply of emergency water in case the emergency extends longer than expected and don't forget the pets. Water is just one part of the equation so be sure to have a well stocked emergency survival kit on hand.
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