Friday, March 26, 2010

Your water supply: Do you have enough stored in case of an emergency?

After an emergency such as tornado, flood or earthquake, the water that comes out of your tap might not be safe to drink — if it’s running at all. That’s why you should be prepared at all times, which means having at least a three-day supply of bottled water in your emergency stockpile.

According to a new water stockpiling fact sheet (PDF) from APHA’s Get Ready campaign, everyone should have at least one gallon of water per person per day stored in their emergency stockpile. That means if you have three people in your family, for example, you’d need to have nine gallons stored — and that’s just for drinking. If you live in a warm area or have pets or kids, you should store even more water.

Other tips in the new fact sheet, which can be downloaded now from the Get Ready Web site, include:
• Purchase commercially bottled water and don’t open it until you need to use it. Check your stockpile twice a year to see if any bottles need replacing.
• Don’t stack your water bottles, as that may cause them to leak. Store them somewhere they will be easy to access in an emergency.
• Stockpile water both at home and work, as you never know where or when an emergency will occur.

The new water stockpiling fact sheet is part of APHA’s Get Ready: Set Your Clocks, Check Your Stocks campaign, which reminds Americans to check their emergency stockpiles when they change their clocks for daylight saving time. The campaign information can be used year-round, however, and is a great addition to health fairs or emergency preparedness events. Organizations can customize the fact sheet with their own logos, so take some time to share it in your community today!

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Jonathan said...

Can you explain why one's water stockpile should be "commercially bottled water"? According to the Water Committee of the APHA Food and Environment Working Group, there are many health, environmental, social, and economic issues associated with bottled water.

Jonathan said...

Does FEMA say the water containers need to be sterilized? I read the page you linked to, and they had a lot of good information about how to wash out your previously used containers, but they don't mention sterilization, just washing with soap and water.

Get Ready Team, APHA said...

Thanks for your comment, Jonathan. APHA strongly supports the use of public tap water sources. However, in the case of storing emergency water, preparedness experts such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency recommend using bottled water to assure the “safest and most reliable” supply. People may bottle their tap water for storage, but only certain containers may be used and they must be sterilized. For more information, see

Get Ready Team, APHA said...

FEMA says to “sanitize” the containers. But in addition to washing with soap and water, the agency calls for rinsing with a bleach solution when using containers such as plastic soda bottles.