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Storing Water for an Emergency
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Emergency Survival
Water Storage and Purification
water storagealternate water sources;   drinking water treatment methods;
preparation for disaster;   water disinfection tips;   filtration; survival plan
rainwater collection;   solar water heater;  to order filters;
water shortage

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     There are many different kinds of disasters that can impact our lives.  Earthquakes, torandoes, floods, fires, hurricanes, etc. strike without warning and can be devastating to those affected.  Now is the time to prepare your family by making sure that everyone knows what to do in the event of an emergency and that all supplies are ready.
     Water is essential to survival.  Any emergency survival plan must include water storage and purification.  The below information will help you plan for meeting your needs for clean, safe drinking water should you ever experience an emergency.

Here is an excellent reference site with links to a wide array of storage issues, including rainwater storage.

Water Storage
- a book by Art Ludwig
Tanks, Cisterns, Aquifers, and Ponds For Domestic Supply, Fire and Emergency Use
Includes How to Make Ferrocement Water Tanks

By Donald Sutherland

ORLANDO, Florida, December 11, 2001 (ENS) - Water management officials in central Florida warn the region has supplies of drinking water that will last just five more years if current unfettered growth and  projected drinking water demand is not abated. For full text and graphics visit:

1.  Store at least a three-day supply of drinking water for each family member (at least one gallon per person per day).
2.  Store at least two gallons of water in your vehicle.
3.  Store additional water for hygiene and cooking.
4.  Store a three-day supply of water for your pets.
5.  Replace your stored water every six months.
6.  Store your water in a cool, dark, and dry place, separated from your other emergency supplies.
7.  Store your water on lower shelves, rather than on higher shelves from which containers could fall and burst.
8.  Do not store water in plastic milk bottles.  Heavy, opaque bottles with screw on lids are preferable for storing water.


1.  Water heater, if secured.
2.  Toilet tanks (not the bowl) if the water hasn't been treated with chemicals to enhance color, smell, etc.
3.  Canned begetables and fruits stored in water or juice.
4.  Beverages.
5.  Ice.
6.  Swimming pools (for hygiene purposes only).  It is not recommended that swimming pool water be used for drinking because acids build up in the water which could be harmful to health.
7.  Do not use water stored in vinyl plastic containers, such as water beds, for drinking.


    Compressed carbon blocks can be used effectively in an emergency situation  to treat water at the tap, stored water, or water from alternative sources.  If the water source is questionably contaminated, it should be disinfected prior to use (see below for disinfection tips) and then processed through the carbon block to remove the disinfection solution and contaminants which may be in the water which are impervious to some disinfection methods, such as Giardia Lamblia, Cryptosporidium, certain chemicals, etc.

    You may use the compressed carbon block installed at your kitchen sink to process stored water or water from alternate sources by siphoning the water from the source through the carbon block.  Siphoning could be accomplished manually or by using an emergency Hand Pump Kit.  This requires that you disconnect your system from the plumbing (if installed below the sink) or the faucet (if installed on the countertop).

  •     You may want to consider purchasing a small carbon block to store along with your water to be used in an emergency situation;  used with a hand pump it is ideal for emergency use.  This unit may also be used for camping.


    In preparation for a disaster, learn how to:
    1.  Remove the water from your hot water heater and other alternate water sources.
    2.  Disconnect your filter system in the event you need to do so.
    3.  Siphon water through your filter.
    4.  Pump water through your filter using the emergency hand pump.


        If the water source is questionably contaminated, it should be disinfected prior to use.  All stored water should be disinfected prior to drinking.  The American Red Cross recommends the following methods for purifying drinking water:
    1.  Boil for 5-10 minutes, or
    2.  Add 10 drops of a household bleach solution per gallon of water, mix well and let stand for 30 minutes.  If the water is cloudy, double the amount of chlorine.  A slight smell or taste of chlorine indicates water is adequately disinfected, or
    3.  Add household tincture of iodine in the same manner as bleach above, or
    4.  Use commercial purification tablets such as Halazone or Globaline.  Follow package instructions.


        Your carbon block will provide safe, refreshing, and clean drinking water every day of the week.  Sometimes, a contamination problem isn't known until the public becomes ill.  With a carbon block filter at your kitchen sink, you are protected from the outbreak of waterborne diseases which may be caused by certain contaminants which have been known to appear in drinking water sources in differenct parts of the country.  Microscopic cysts, such as Giardia Lamblia and Cryptosporidium are reduced (@99.9%) by a carbon block filter.  Contaminants like asbestos and lead are reduced by your filter, protecting your family's health.  And, certain chemical contaminants are absorbed by your solid carbon clock filter, protecting you even before a contaminant may be known.  To assure the maximum protection possible, be sure to replace the filter in your drinking water system when the first of the following occurs:
    a)  when the unit's rated capacity is reached
    b) at leats once a year
    c) when the flow rate diminishes
    d) when the filter becomes saturated with bad tastes and odors.

    It is also advisable to use water processed through a carbon block filter for brushing your teeth or any other consumption, especially if the quality of your tap water is questionable during an emergency situation.


        Keep in mind that during an emergency, the public ater utility may not be able to maintain the integrity and quality of your tap water due to damage to its equipment and distribution system.  It may be advisable that you treat your tap water following a disaster situation.  Then process your drinking water though your carbon block filter to provide the same slean, safe drinking water that you normally enjoy.

        Your water supply and a good water filter are most important components of your emergency survival plan.  A supply of clean, safe water could be your most precious survival item.  Carbon blocks assure the safety of your water when following the guidelines included above.  Be sure to include these important items in your Survival Plan so that you are prepared for that next disaster.  Consider also stocking up on additional replacement filters.

    For a copy of the American Red Cross's 'Family Disaster Plan and Personal Survival Guide," contact:
    American Red Cross
    2700 Wilshire Boulevard
    Los Angeles, CA 90057
    (213) 739-5200
    or your local American Red Cross chapter.

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    (360) 730-7992
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