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Preparedness Tips: Safe Drinking Water After a Large Earthquake

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WATER IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ITEM TO STORE
Loss of safe drinking water can be deadly. Most people, with few exceptions, will be feeling the effects if they do without water for more than 36 hours. Dehydration occurs much quicker than starvation. Our bodies can tolerate the loss of food much better.
With an ample water supply, starvation is delayed many days, even weeks.
The City water supply is vulnerable to the effects of a large earthquake. Contaminants can get into the drinking water supply through ruptures in the pipes, through the mixing up of sediments, through the adulteration of filtering systems, etc. Now, we take our water for granted. That will be dangerous after a big quake.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I STORE?
A good rule of thumb is: 5 GALLONS PER PERSON (MINIMUM)
NOTE: Treat your pet as a family member when thinking about how much to store.
WATER SOURCES:
Bottled Water from the Store – 1- and 2-gallon sealed containers (NOTE: The 1- and 2- gallon containers you purchase in your local store are not designed for long-term storage and will begin to leak/fail after about 6 months. )
1- and 5-Gallon Sealable Containers – From camping or survival stores. Be sure to sanitize container and treat the water that you are storing. Old bleach bottles, clearly marked, make good containers for water storage.
20-oz. to 1-Liter Designer Water Containers – Are usually marked with an expiration date, but are generally good for about two years
5-Gallon Water Bottles from Private Water Companies – Water companies claim their water and containers are good for up to five years, if still factory sealed & correctly stored in a cool dark location.
DO NOT STORE ANY PLASTIC WATER CONTAINER DIRECTLY ON CONCRETE.
The concrete will leech chemicals into the water, contaminating it and also degrading the plastic bottle, causing failure.
Store all plastic water containers on a wooden pallet or shelf. Keep water containers in a location where container failure will not destroy your other supplies. Keep all water and supplies in a cool dark place. Any water that you make up yourself needs to be treated.
If left untreated over time, it becomes contaminated with bacteria and algae.
8 DROPS OF PURE UNSCENTED LIQUID BLEACH PER GALLON OF WATER WILL REDUCE THE CONTAMINANTS IN THE WATER.
ADD THE BLEACH WHEN YOU FIRST STORE THE WATER AWAY.
NOTE: ROTATE YOUR WATER EVERY SIX MONTHS (This includes the 1- and 2-gallon sealed bottles purchased at the store, and the supply you made up from tap water with bleach added.)
If the purity of your water source is questionable, use the following methods to make the water safe to drink:
Best! Add liquid chlorine beach to the water (8 drops per gallon of water. Double this dose if the water is cloudy.)
Or
Good! Add 2% Tincture of Iodne to the water (12 drops per gallon. Double this dose if the water is cloudy.)
Or
Acceptable! Boil the water vigorously (5 minutes at sea level, adding an extra minute for every 1000 feet above sea level. Double this time if the water is cloudy.)
And
Don’t forget to clean and sanitize your food and water containers before using them. Wash with soap and water then fill with a 10% bleach solution. After 5 minutes empty the bleach solution and let air dry.
And
Water that is dirty should first be strained through a coffee filter,cheesecloth, or a paper towel to remove subpended matter.
Another source of water is the hot water heater. Every water heater has a drain valve near the bottom.
GETTING THE WATER OUT OF YOUR WATER HEATER :
Use extreme caution. Let the water cool.
Turn off the cold water supply to the tank
Turn off the gas or electric heater for the tank
Open the drain valve at the bottom
REMEMBER: Some sediment at the bottom of the tank may at first make water flowing out look murky. Continue to drain water until it becomes clear.
OTHER SOURCES OF WATER IN YOUR HOME
Toilet Water Storage Tank. NOTE: Use the water from the Storage Tank – NOT THE TOILET BOWL (Don’t drink the water if you use coloring or chemicals in it)
Melted Ice Cubes are a source of water
Water-Packed Can Goods (even syrups are mostly water)
Water Trapped In Home Piping. Water can be removed by locating and shutting off the main water valve. Then, open the valve at the highest point of your property (i.e., shower head, especially on the 2nd floor ). Then, when you open the valve at the lowest point, gravity will force the water from the pipes.
THE PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED SOURCES ARE FOR DRINKING AND FOOD PREPARATION
DO NOT DRINK POOL OR SPA WATER! POOL WATER CONTAINS MANY TOXIC CHEMICALS AND HAS A HIGH POTENTIAL OF GIVING YOU DIARRHEA, CAUSING DEHYDRATION!
(Source: Los Angeles Fire Departement – Emergency Preparedness Booklet)

Tags: water after an earthquake, water safety, Water Storage

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