Health department and public water
safety officials use many safeguards to protect the sanitary quality
of your daily drinking water. However, this protection may break
down during emergencies caused by natural disasters.
During times of serious emergency,
the normal water supply to your home may be cut off or become so
polluted that it is undrinkable. A supply of stored water could
be your most precious survival item!
You and your family may then be on
your own to provide a safe and adequate water supply. Remember that
typhoid fever, Dysentery, and infectious hepatitis are diseases
often associated with unsafe water.
Don't take a chance! Generally, under
serious disaster conditions, no water can be presumed safe--all
drinking and cooking water should be purified.
Amounts of Drinking Water Per Person
A minimum of two quarts and up to one
gallon of water is needed per day, depending on the size of the
person, the amount of exertion, weather, and perspiration loss.
A minimum of seven gallons pure water per person would be needed
for a two-week survival supply. With careful rationing, this amount
would be sufficient for drinking, food preparation, brushing teeth,
etc. Fourteen gallons per person will allow for hygiene care.
Keep an emergency supply of drinking
water in plastic containers. Commercially bottled drinking water
is available. It stays pure for months and has the expiration date
clearly marked on it.
There are several other sources of
water if your water supply is turned off--water drained from the
hot water tank (usually contains 30 to 60 gallons of usable water),
clear water from the toilet flush-tank, if kept constantly clean
( not the bowl !), melted ice cubes, canned fruits and vegetable
juices, and liquid from other canned goods.
How to Purify
Water for Drinking
Mix thoroughly by stirring or shaking
the water in its container. Let it stand for 30 Minutes.
A slight chlorine odor should be detectable
in the water; if not, repeat the dosage and let the water stand
for and additional 15 minutes before using.
Use an eye dropper to add the chlorine
or the iodine to the water. Use it only for this purpose.
How to Prepare
and Store Bottles of Purified Water
Keep the drinking water safe from contamination
by carefully storing in clean non-corrosive, tightly-covered containers.
Use one-gallon containers, preferably
made of heavy opaque plastic with screw-on caps. Plastic milk bottles
are not recommended. Sterilize the bottles.
- Wash bottles with soapy water, then
- Run about three quarts tap water
into one of the containers, then add 3/4 cup bleach to the water.
- Shake well, turning upside down
a time or two so that the stopper will be sterilized also.
- Let the mixture stand for two to
three minutes, then pour it into the next container. You can use
the same chlorinated water for several containers.
- Fill the empty bottle with pure
or purified water and seal it tightly close with cap or stopper.
- Label with "Drinking Water--Purified",
and the date of preparation.
- Water purification tablets may also
be used and are available in drug stores and sporting goods stores.
They are recommended for your first aid kit. Four tablets will
purify one quart of water.
- Some stored water may develop a
disagreeable appearance, taste, or odor. These properties are
not necessarily harmful. Inspect your water supply every few months
to see whether the containers have leaked or other undesirable
conditions have developed. Replace the water if it becomes contaminated.
Water Purification Equipment
A high quality filter system should
possess the following characteristics: light-weight; have fewer
parts (less to go wrong); a fine pre-filter; a replaceable or clearable
filter; tight, well-made pump; high volume output; quick filtration;
should screen out organisms over 0.5 microns (0.2 microns is best).
A system with all of these features
may not be inexpensive, however. The cost will usually reflect reliability
as well as technology of design.
Always use a filter properly. Use clearest
water available, allowing suspended matter to settle out. Use pre-filter
if your system has one. Do not let outlet end of filter come in
contact with contaminated water. Be sure vessel you're pumping into