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What You Should Know About Emergency Drinking Water

Are you ready for a severe weather emergency? You can stock up on drinking water and water you can use in your home. Our experts offer this advice.

No one wants to think about what happens to the water following a severe weather disaster that has caused power outages and flooding and affected our water supply. Where can we turn to find water that’s not contaminated? Don’t panic — you can be ready if you plan ahead.

There are several potential sources of water in emergencies, and you can stock up before severe weather hits.

The experts suggest starting with these simple steps to prepare for emergencies when safe drinking water is unavailable from your faucet.

There are several potential sources of water in such emergencies, and you can stock up before bad weather hits. But there are also some kinds of water you shouldn’t drink at all.

Do stock up on bottled water.

Store it inside your home, not the garage.

Do prepare ice cubes to melt.

But only if they were made or purchased before the emergency. You can also fill lidded containers and freeze them for melting later.

Don’t attempt to freeze contaminated water.

Freezing will not kill bacteria.

Do collect rainwater from the sky, not the roof.

Rainwater collected in clean, NSF-certified water storage containers can be an emergency resource if you boil it for 2-3 minutes or test it for coliform bacteria. Roof water may contain contaminants that cannot be treated by boiling.

Don’t forget about water storage.

If you choose to store your own water, use glass or plastic containers with screw-on caps that previously had water in them. Once they’re filled, put the date on the containers and then replace them every year.

Don’t expose stored water to potential flood areas.

Keep water containers high enough off the floor, on a shelf that would be higher than possible flood levels.

Do use the “old water” for non-drinking purposes.

Last year’s stored water can be used for irrigation, watering plants, toilet flushing, etc.

Don’t drink water from your swimming pool or hot tub.

It may contain harmful chemicals and impurities.

What about treating water that has been contaminated? Experts warn this could be a mistake. They suggest erring on the side of caution and being prepared instead.

  • Boil It

    While this can affect the bacteria in the water, it may also concentrate metals or other contaminants. When you boil the water, steam evaporates from the pot. Now you have less water with the same amount of chemicals.
  • Purification Tablets

    These tablets come in many forms, sizes and concentrations of treatment chemicals. Using the wrong amount of water with them could make the water unsafe to drink.
  • Stored Water

    Don’t store your emergency water in a garage, in a shed, outside, on the porch or in another area where it could be exposed to extreme heat, exhaust or chemical fumes. It cannot be easily treated and should not be used for cooking or drinking.
  • Filters and Treatment

    Not all filters and treatment systems are the same. It’s tricky to know if the filter you have will treat the water without knowing what contaminants are in it.

What are your water tips to be prepared for an emergency? Let us know, and follow us on Twitter.

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