How to get drinkable water in an emergency

You'd expect FEMA to release Hurricane Preparedness tips maybe, but earlier today it was the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) that released a helpful reminder. This is about how much water to store per person in your family. And what to do if it gets contaminated during a storm.

One gallon per person per day is the key. 1 + 1 + 1 = :)  Yes, the dog counts as one person.

Tips for keeping your drinking water safe:
  • Use bottled water that has not been exposed to flood waters if it is available. (Okay, that's pretty obvious but...)  If you don't have bottled water, you should boil water for one minute.* This will kill most types of disease-causing organisms that may be present. Let the boiled water cool and store it in clean containers with covers.
  • If you can't boil water, you can disinfect it using household bleach. Bleach will kill some, but not all, types of disease-causing organisms that may be in the water. Add 1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) of regular, unscented, liquid household bleach per gallon of water. Stir it well and let it stand for at least 30 minutes before you use it.  (Ewww, but okay.)
  • If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for disinfection.
  • If you have a well that has been flooded, the water should be tested and disinfected after flood waters recede. If you suspect that your well may be contaminated, contact your local or state health department or agriculture extension agent for specific advice.
  • Plan for your pets, too. 1 gallon per day per dog. Your pets count on you for fresh water and food and shelter.

*Tip: keep a mini-propane burner stored in a sealed plastic bag. Inexpensive ones work fine, like this or like this. You can get them at Dick's or order them through LL Bean or REI or any outdoor-gear store. If a storm is on the way, make sure you have a can of propane. This is an easy way to make sure you and your family can always boil water. A cup of tea or coffee, a cup of soup, these can make all the difference in morale under stressful circumstances. 

Wait! I know what you're thinking so I will say it now: NO BOOZE! Booze dehydrates the system. Also, especially if you are in a role of responsibility, it's important to be alert in situations where any of this information would apply. You may well need quick reflexes, all your strength, and clarity of mind. 

Be safe, and don't stay thirsty my friends.

Kathleen Hurleywater