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Here’s a horrible thought to brighten your day:
What if the emergency you’ve been diligently preparing for occurs and you discover that your emergency supply of drinking water is undrinkable? How could that happen? Easy.
All you’d have to do is make one or more mistakes in what you store that water in, how clean (or dirty) the containers are, where you keep those water containers or how often you rotate your supply.
As important as it is to have an emergency supply of food ready and waiting, at least you could survive without food for a few days if you absolutely had to. You’re not going to last long without drinkable water. Dehydration will set in quickly, especially if you are out in the sun during the summer.
Make sure you follow the 10 water storage tips below. It could make the difference between life and death following a disaster.
- Store various sizes of water containers. Water is very heavy, and if all you have is large containers, not everyone in your family may be able to comfortably handle them. This is especially important if you and your family are forced to go mobile in a crisis.
- Select food-grade barrels. Blue, polyethylene plastic storage barrels for large quantities of water are popular. They’ll also help differentiate your water from your fuel and won’t taint your water with toxins.
- Clean the containers. Before filling them with water, dilute one teaspoon of bleach in a gallon of water and wash the containers thoroughly, including insides, lips and lids. Never store water in a container that’s been used to store something else.
- Place labels on your containers. Clearly mark the date you filled the container on each label, as well as the source (filtered water, tap water, ground water, etc.).
- Keep it in a proper place. Make sure your water containers do not have access to sunlight, which can result in bacteria and algae growth. A cool, dark place away from chemicals is best, and only use containers with airtight lids.
- Secure the containers. Think in advance about which areas in your home would mostly likely be affected by a disaster and keep the containers out of there. Avoid high places and keep your water locked away if you think looting could be a possibility.
- Don’t let your water freeze. Frozen water could break its containers. Plus, you might not have time to wait until it thaws before you need to drink it.
- Filter your water. If necessary, filter your water before you store it. If not, it’s still a good idea to have a water-filtering plan in place in case your water becomes contaminated.
- Replace your supply regularly. Yes, it could last for a long time if stored properly, but replacing it at least once a year is a good idea.
- Keep additional water containers in a separate location. If your home is destroyed in a disaster, your home water supply is likely to be ruined as well.
If you’re going to go to the trouble of stockpiling water for a crisis, make sure to do it right so that it’s ready and waiting for you when you need it.
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