Preparing for an Emergency: Water Preparation
click: 0 date: 2017-08-12 09:50:00 source:
Portable Water Systems
If a disaster strikes your area you may find yourself short of the necessary food and water to survive. What should you do to have what you need to survive until help becomes available?
Here we address what you need to do to have an adequate supply of water to provide for you and your family during the time of need.
Make Sure You Have Enough Water
In an emergency situation you must have an ample supply of clean water – at least one gallon per person per day. You should store, at minimum, a two-week supply for each member of the family. You will use this water for drinking, food preparation and personal hygiene. Store your water in thoroughly washed plastic, glass, fiberglass or enamel-lined metal containers. Never use a container that has held toxic substances. Plastic containers, such as soft drink bottles, are best. Seal water containers tightly, label them and store them in a cool, dark place. Rotate water every six months.
If, for some reason, disaster catches you without a stored supply of clean water, you can use the water from the ice cubes in your freezer, the water in your pipes and the water in your hot water tank. If you have time before the event (disaster) you can fill the bathtub and sinks with water. As a last resort, you can use water in the reservoir tank of your toilet (not the bowl). To use the water in your pipes, let air into the plumbing by turning on the faucet at the highest level (upstairs) in your house. A small amount of water will trickle out. After doing this you will be able to draw water from a faucet at the lowest level of the house (downstairs). To use the water in your hot-water tank, to be sure electricity or gas is off, and open the drain at the bottom of the tank. Start 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.
You can find water outside your home from the following sources – rainwater; streams, rivers and other moving bodies of water, ponds; lakes and natural springs. This water must be purified for drinking purposes. Avoid water with floating material, an odor or dark color. Use saltwater only after it has been distilled. You should not drink floodwater.
Purify Your Water Before Use
You should purify all water of uncertain purity before using it for drinking, food preparation or personal hygiene use. There are different ways to purify your water. None is perfect. Often the best solution is a combination of methods.
If you don't have a purification system, boiling and disinfecting and distillation are methods that will kill most microbes in water.
Boiling and disinfecting are two methods that will kill most microbes in water. Distillation is another method that removes the microbes that resist boiling and disinfecting. It also removes heavy metals, salts and most other chemicals. 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. Boiled water will taste better if you put oxygen back into it by pouring the water back and forth between two clean containers. This will also improve the taste of stored food.
Disinfecting involves using household bleach to kill microorganisms. Use only regular household liquid bleach that contains 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite. Do not use scented bleaches, color-safe bleaches or bleaches with added cleaners. Add 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water, 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. Again, the only agent used to purify water should be household liquid bleach. Other chemicals – such as iodine or water treatment products sold in camping or surplus stores that do not contain 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite as the only active ingredient – are not recommended and should not be used.
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 dangling into the water) and boil the water for 20 minutes. The water that drips from the lid into the cup is distilled. Distillation actually removes some microbes that resist boiling and disinfecting. It also removes heavy metals, salts and most other chemicals.
If supplies run low, never ration water - drink the amount you need today, and try to find more tomorrow. You can minimize the amount of water your body needs by reducing activity and staying cool.