Managing Water in Emergency Situations

Posted by Surya V on April 25, 2013 0 Comments

Having proper water storage is critical in emergency situations. Having high-purity water is important for proper health and tavoid disease and illness in an emergency situation.

Important water tips for emergency preparedness include:

  • People should be allocated one-half gallon of water per day; however, the amount of pure water varies based on physical activity, age, physical condition, medical issues and the time of year.
  • Water should never be rationed, unless authorities require it. None should ever drink less than a quart of water daily. Limiting activities and not becoming overheated can reduce necessary water intake.
  • Water should never be contaminated and should be treated prior tingestion. A water purification system is recommended, but if one is not available, delay drinking suspicious water but someone should never become dehydrated.
  • Carbonated beverages should be avoided, as these actually dehydrate the body, which ultimately creates a need for more water intake.
  • Water valves should be turned off if authorities notify homeowners that there are broken water or sewage lines.
    1. Once the water is turned off, the remaining water in the pipes can be used by simply allowing air intthe plumbing. Water should only be collected from the lowest faucet, as this ensures less contamination.
    2. Once turned off, the hot water tank can be used by opening the drain, which is located at the bottom of the hot water tank. The water will begin flowing when the water intake valve is turned off and by turning on the hot water faucet.

There are several things that can contaminate water, including microorganisms, cholera, dysentery, hepatitis and typhoid.

There are three main water treatment methods: boiling, chlorination and distillation.

  • Boiling is a safe method for killing microorganisms in water, especially when water quality is questionable. Water should be brought to a rolling boil for one minute and then cooled before being consumed.
  • Household bleach can also kill microorganisms, provided it contains 5.25- to 6.0-percent sodium hypochlorite. Bleaches with cleaners, scented bleaches and color safe bleaches should never be used and since bleach potency decreases over time, only an unopened bottle of bleach should be used for water purification. One-eighth teaspoon of bleach should be added to a gallon of water, stirred and allowed to stand for 30 minutes. This should be repeated in another 15 minutes.
  • Distilling methods help remove chemicals, heavy metals, salt and other microorganisms. Distillation simply involves boiling water, collecting the condensed water vapors and then drinking the pure vapors.

Having an abundant supply of pure water on hand for emergencies is an absolute necessity and helps people maintain necessary health during disasters.

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