In an emergency situation, the first two public resources to go are usually city water and city power. This can quickly turn an scary situation into a complete terror if you do not properly prepare. Although it would be inconvenient, humans can live without electricity. We cannot, however, live without water. Because most of us have easy access to clean drinking water, many people take water for granted. Water storage is not difficult, but it does need to be done correctly. Having access to emergency water storage should be high on your emergency preparation checklist. Here are a few water storage options and tips to ensure you are prepared.
How Much Water Should I Store?
It is hard to predict how much water you should be storing in case of an emergency. The basic rule of water storage is to plan on one gallon of water per person per day. Half of that water is for drinking, the other half is for hygiene or cooking purposes. The FEMA suggests building up a three day minimum emergency water storage for your family. For a family of four, that means having at least 12-15 gallons of emergency water storage. If you live in an area that is prone to natural disasters (such as tornadoes, hurricanes, or earthquakes) you should probably look into storing enough water for 1-2 weeks. You should also look into how much storage space your home offers. A small apartment may not have enough space to fit a two week water storage for your family. Do the best with what space you have.
How Should I Store My Water?
You should try to keep your water in a temperature controlled environment. Avoid putting water storage near heat or direct sunlight. This is because extreme changes in temperature or prolonged sun exposure can cause the containers you are using for water storage to leach BPA or other harmful chemicals into the water. If you choose to keep your water storage in a basement or garage with a cement floor, it is wise to place your barrels on a pallet or piece of carpet off the cement. There is some evidence suggesting that when the cement heats up, it causes a chemical reaction with your plastic water storage containers that can contaminate your water.
What Should I Store My Water In?
When building up your emergency water supply, always use proper water storage containers. Plastic water storage containers are lightweight and usually have some sort of handle to easily carry the container. Check the bottom of your plastic containers are safe for food and water use. Glass is considered generally safe for food and water storage. It also won’t leach chemicals into the water. However, glass is heavy and can also easily break. This means it will be hard to move your water storage if needed. If you choose to use a metal storage container, make sure it is stainless steel. Other metal containers can rust overtime and contaminate your drinking water. Always make sure that your container can be sealed. Although water doesn’t spoil, it can easily become contaminated with bacteria.
Water Storage Options
There are many water storage options available to consumers. When choosing a water storage option, take into account how much water you are trying to store, how much space you have to store it in, and how much money you are willing to spend. There are pros and cons to every option, so pick which one suits you and your family the best.
For those with limited storage space, bottled water is a simple and smart solution. A pallet of water can be easily stored under a bed or on the bottom shelf of a pantry. The containers are easily portable and come sealed in food safe plastic. Bottled water is a little more pricey in the long run than other water storage options. These plastic water bottles are also only good for short term water storage. The plastic can leach chemicals into your water over time, so it is recommended to drink through and replenish your bottled water storage every six months.
Plastic Jugs or Barrels
The most common water storage options consist of plastic jugs or large drums specifically designed for long term water storage. These containers can be as small as 3.5 gallons and come as large as 55 gallons. The plastics are meant for water storage so there is no BPA or chemical leaching. They seal at the top to avoid contamination. A downside to large jugs or barrels is once they are filled with water they can be quite heavy, which makes them extremely difficult to move. The bigger 55 gallon barrels are quite large and may not be practical for those with limited storage space. Those large barrels can be pretty pricey. The plastic barrels often require special equipment to fill with water or properly seal, which can be a deal breaker for those with a small budget.
Many people believe you should fill your bathtub with water in case of an emergency. This make sense as your bathtub can hold upwards of 100 gallons of water, which would sustain a family of four for nearly a month! However, bathtubs can be dirty. Even if they are cleaned regularly there can be trace amounts of cleaning agents left behind that will contaminate your water. There is also no way to seal the top of a bathtub off, which leads to a greater risk of bacteria growth. The solution is a WaterBOB. This plastic water bladder is big enough to fill a bathtub or shower without the risks of contamination. It is an affordable option for many households. The WaterBOB can be folded up for easy storage until it is needed. The drawback is it requires planning in advance in order to have enough time to pull it out and fill before the emergency.
Another good water storage option is using a rain barrel. You can find these at any home goods or outdoor equipment store. Just place the rain barrel under your gutter pipe to fill it up during the next large rainstorm. Because the rainwater is not sterile, it may be best suited as a backup water storage solution. Instead of drinking the water from your rain barrel you can use it for bathing and hygiene purposes during an emergency. If you do need to drink the water from your rain barrel make sure you plan ahead and have a water purification plan in place.
Water storage can be the difference between life and death in an emergency. Storing your water doesn’t need to be difficult. Becoming aware of all your water storage options, gives you the power to pick the best option for you and your family.
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