It is common knowledge that having a supply of water in an emergency is a necessity but most often people do not store water unless they hear of an imminent disaster. This is evidenced by the long lines of people buying water at grocery stores in the hours leading up to a hurricane landfall or snowstorm. Just how much water does a person need for an emergency and what is the best method to store it?
Recommended Amount of Emergency Water Storage
The U.S. Government’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends that every person should store two weeks worth of emergency supplies including water. Although the average American uses over 69 gallons of water a day indoors, in an emergency situation a person will have to use much less. FEMA recommends that storing a minimum of one gallon per person per day, so each individual would need 14 gallons of water for a two-week period. Half of the recommended water will designated for drinking and food preparation and the other half will be for hand washing, teeth brushing and sanitation. 14 gallons of water is the equivalent of 150 twelve-ounce water bottles, which is not a practical storage solution for most families.
Buying Commercially Bottled Water
Individuals can choose to buy their emergency water from the store in plastic bottles or jugs but you must realize that there is an expiration date on all water bottles. This is due to the fact that the bottles that the water is stored is a permeable plastic that breathes and can become contaminated with time. For this reason, it is important that you carefully store any water bottles a clean environment away from any contaminants.
How to Keep Your Stored Tap Water From Becoming Contaminated
Another method for short-term water storage is to bottle tap water that has been treated by your local municipality in food grade containers. These containers can vary in size from 55-gallon drums to more manageable 5-gallon containers and can be purchased at your local food supply store. It is important to rinse all containers with hot water and soap thoroughly before filling them with water as well as to take precaution not to touch the inside of the container or lid before sealing them. Tap water that has been treated by your local municipality will be good for 6 months if stored in away from heat and light. Be sure to label all containers with the date that they were filled and set a reminder for yourself to clean and refill them every six months.
Remember that you never know when the next disaster could happen so it’s important to always be prepared. Taking simple steps like filling containers with water could be the difference between life and death for you and your family.