Natural Disasters and Drinking Water: How to Keep Your Family Safe
Natural disasters can have devastating effects on communities. In addition to power outages and property damage, they can affect access to clean and safe drinking water.
There are several things for your family to consider when preparing for extreme weather. And maintaining a safe drinking water supply during a natural disaster should be at the top of your list.
Preparing your supply and stocking up on clean water is key.
How much water do you need?
The Center for Disease Control recommends that you store at least 1 gallon of water per day for each person and pet in your family. But if you live in warmer climates, are pregnant or are suffering from an illness, consider stocking up on even more.
At a minimum, plan for using a three-day water supply when a natural disaster hits. However, if you are capable of storing more, try preparing a two-week water supply.
How should you store your drinking water supply?
In addition to the amount of water needed, it is important to think about the types of containers used. When pre-filling containers with tap or filtered water, it is crucial to use thoroughly sanitized, food-grade plastic or glass.
Milk containers, whether half or full gallon, tend to be difficult to clean. Plus, bacteria can grow quickly on these surfaces. So if a milk jug is your only option, take extra care when sanitizing.
Bottled water is another great option. Culligan bottled water can offer your family some relief, because it meets or exceeds all federal and state health water regulations.
Where is the best place to store water?
Don’t forget that location matters. Be sure to store your prepared supply in a place that will remain safe from potential flooding.
Direct heat and light can also affect plastic containers, so it is best to keep water containers in a dark, dry and cool place.
Keeping a close eye on water quality can help your family avoid illness.
Certain natural disasters can cause damage or flooding to wells and municipal water supplies, resulting in contamination of your tap. And sometimes the appearance of water can clue you in as to whether this has occurred.
If your water has a cloudy look, foul taste or rotten smell, it is likely that it is not safe for consumption. However, it is important to note that some dangerous contaminants cannot be detected by sight, taste or smell.
If you are unsure about the quality of your water following extreme weather, your local Culligan Man can collect a sample and send it to an EPA-certified lab for analysis.
Changing your treatment strategy is an important step for eliminating contamination.
There are several different methods that can be used to treat your water following a natural disaster. Boiling water is one common way to destroy dangerous pathogens.
Government officials will often issue a boil-water advisory or notice when a water supply is compromised. This means that you should boil any water meant for drinking, cleaning food or brushing your teeth for at least one full minute.
Another great treatment option is reverse osmosis. Reverse osmosis (RO) involves forcing the water through a very fine, semi-permeable membrane. This membrane reduces up to 99 percent of impurities, only allowing fresh and safe water to pass through.