Emergency Prep: Everything You Need to Know About Water

As you know, water is essential for survival. However, during an emergency, clean water for drinking and sanitation may not be readily available. This is why it’s imperative to always have a supply of water on hand that will meet the needs of your household.

Determining How Much Water to Store

The CDC recommends storing at least one gallon of water per person per day for three days to use for drinking and sanitation (so, a minimum of three gallons per member of the household). However, storing a two-week supply (14 gallons per member of the household) is ideal. It is also important to consider your climate and special needs of family members. For example, if you live in a hot climate, or if any family members are sick or pregnant, you will need more water.

How to Store Your Water

Sealed, commercially bottled drinking water is the safest source of water during an emergency. However, if that is not readily available, there are ways to make your own safe supply at home.

Choosing Water Storage Containers

Before you create your own safe supply of water, it is important to select a safe storage container. Safe containers have lids that can be tightly closed, and are made of durable, unbreakable, food-grade materials. If possible, use containers with narrow openings so that water can easily be poured out.
Note: Never use a container that was previously used to hold any sort of chemical, such as bleach or pesticides

Where to Store Your Water

Water containers should be stored in a cool location, ideally one that stays between 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit. They should not be stored in direct sunlight or in areas near toxic substances, such as chemicals or gasoline.

When to Replace Stored Water

Note the expiration date on any store-bought water you have on hand and replace it by that date. Water that you have collected and stored yourself should be replaced every six months, unless it is treated and stored in a special container to increase the shelf life.

Choosing a Water Filter

In the event of an extended emergency situation, you may run out of your supply of water. This is why it is ideal to have a water filtration system. There is no “best” water filter on the market. However, it is important to make sure that you choose one that meets your family’s needs. Consider the following when purchasing a water filter:

  • Where are you collecting water from?
  • Are you filtering water for taste preferences or because it has been contaminated with biological materials and/or chemicals?
  • Does the filter need to be portable?
  • What rate of flow does the filter need to have?
  • How does the filter work? Who will use the filter? Is it easy for all family members to use?
  • How much water will you need to filter?
  • What is your budget?

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