Mother's Day Present Good Reminder to Keep Emergency Water



My happy Mother's Day was really very happy. I spent much of the day with my mom and received flowers and gifts from my children and husband. One of my favorite gifts of the day was completely unplanned - I got to take a shower before the water pipe under the house broke. We were sitting in bed drinking coffee and BANG, an explosion-like sound shook our bedroom wall. We rushed outside and didn't see anything wrong. We wondered if it had been a fluky earthquake (We don't have many earthquakes in North Idaho). Then my husband noticed that the water pressure was down. Rushing back outside we could then hear the sound of rushing water under the house. My wonderfully talented DIY husband was able to turn off the water and repair the pipe but we were without water for a good part of the day, which made me question our emergency water supply. The answer to the question was that, if this was a real emergency, we didn't have enough water stored.

In an emergency you can survive quite a while without food, though stocking your pantry shelves with emergency supplies is still important, but you can only survive a few days without water.
Here is some simple information for storing emergency water:
  • How Much Do You Need? For personal use, a minimum supply of 3 gallons of water per person for 3 days. Other sources that I have found suggest storing a minimum of 6 gallons per person, enough to last one week. Each person will drink about 1/2 a gallon per day and use the other 1/2 gallon for brushing teeth, washing hands, etc. You will also need to store water that you can use to flush toilets and do dishes and rinse out laundry. Don't skimp on that water. I know from experience that it is really a blessing to be able to flush your toilets.
  • What Containers to Use to Store Water? For personal use water use any food grade plastic or glass container. A food grade container is any container that has held soda, juice, bottled water, punch, etc. You can also buy food grade water containers from sporting good stores. I use milk jugs for water that I wont be cooking with or drinking (toilet flushing water).
  • How Do You Clean the Container? Always clean and sanitize your containers before filling them with water, even if the containers are new.
  1. First wash the container out with hot soapy water. Use a bottle brush to scrub the inside and be sure and clean the outside of the container and the cap. Rinse well.
  2. Next sanitize the container with 1/2 tsp of bleach per quart of water, so if you have a gallon jug use 2 tsp of bleach. Fill the jug with water, add the bleach and shake. Rinse again with clean water.
  3. Once the container is well cleaned and sanitized fill with drinking water from a clean source of drinking water. To be on the safe side, it is recommended that you ad about 1/8 of a tsp of chlorine bleach to your water to kill any bacteria that may have been missed in the sanitation process.
  4. For your non drinking water be sure and clean and sanitize the container as well. It will store better and you never know what you might be using that water for.
  • How To Store Emergency Water: Be sure and store your water in a cool dry place, heat and direct sunlight will weaken plastic containers, and store away from gasoline and chemicals. Mark each container with the words "drinking water" and the date. You also need a strong shelf to hold a large supply of water. Once again, I know this from experience, wimpy plastic shelves sag and break. We have also stored some emergency water in the freezer. That way if your power goes out your frozen water helps to keep your food cold. Just be sure and leave a little room at the top to allow for expansion. Rotate your stored water after a year. Use it in the garden, your plants will thank you.
Here are a some sites that have good information on Emergency Water Storage:
Mississippi State University Extension Service
About.com/First Aid
National Terror Alert

Thankfully, for many of us, emergencies are few and far between. But doing a few things to prepare ourselves and our families for just-in-case is easy and inexpensive and worth the piece of mind.
I'm thirsty, I need a drink of water.

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