National Preparedness Month, recognized each September, is a reminder that we all must prepare ourselves and our families now and throughout the year. Following a disaster clean drinking water may not be available. Your regular water source could be cut-off or compromised through contamination. Prepare yourself by building a supply of water that will meet your family’s needs during an emergency.
DETERMINING WATER NEEDS
Store at least one gallon of water per person per day for three days, for drinking and sanitation. A normally active person needs about three quarters of a gallon of fluid daily, from water and other beverages. However, individual needs vary, depending on age, health, physical condition, activity, diet and climate.
Take the following into account:
· Children, nursing mothers and sick people may need more water.
· A medical emergency might require additional water.
· If you live in a warm weather climate more water may be necessary. In very hot temperatures, water needs can double.
· Never ration drinking water unless ordered to do so by authorities. Drink the amount you need today and try to find more for tomorrow. Minimize the amount of water your body needs by reducing activity and staying cool.
· Drink water that you know is not contaminated first. If necessary, suspicious water, such as cloudy water from regular faucets or water from streams or ponds, can be used after it has been treated. If water treatment is not possible, put off drinking suspicious water as long as possible, but do not become dehydrated.
· Do not drink carbonated or caffeinated beverages instead of drinking water. Caffeinated drinks and alcohol dehydrate the body, which increases the need for drinking water.
Buy commercially bottled water and store it in the sealed original container in a cool, dark place. Water that has not been commercially bottled should be replaced every six months.
If you have used all of your stored water and there are no other reliable clean water sources, it may become necessary to treat suspicious water. Treat all water of uncertain quality before using it for drinking, food washing or preparation, washing dishes, brushing teeth or making ice. In addition to having a bad odor and taste, contaminated water can contain microorganisms (germs) that cause diseases such as dysentery, cholera, typhoid and hepatitis.
There are many ways to treat water. Often the best solution is a combination of methods. Before treating, let any suspended particles settle to the bottom or strain them through coffee filters or layers of clean cloth.
Follow up with any or multiple treatment options such as:
· Boiling: In a large pot or kettle, bring water to a rolling boil for one full minute, keeping in mind that some water will evaporate. Let the water cool before drinking.
· Chlorination: You can use household liquid bleach to kill microorganisms.
· Distillation: Distillation involves boiling water and then collection of only the vapor that condenses.
Take the time to prepare for disaster situations. For more suggestions and preparedness tips, visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website at www.ready.gov.
Brought to you by the City of Turlock Municipal Services Department.
WATER CONSERVATION TIP
Have you received a water wasting or excessive water use penalty fine in the last 60 days? Save yourself penalty fees by electing to take the City’s online water conservation course! For more info, visit the City’s website at: www.cityofturlock.org or call Municipal Services at (209) 668-5590 for assistance.