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Guide to having safe drinking water after a storm

MIAMI (CBS4) - Water is the one hurricane supply you can't live without. Before a storm approaches, or makes landfall, you should have a plan set in place so you won't run dry after the storm. You've seen the lines of people waiting for drinking water, but there is simply no need for that. A little planning means you can have all the drinking water you need, for free.

The main thing to remember is to know how much drinking water you will need if the water supply is tainted.

  • You need 5 gallons for each person in your home to cover the 72 hours, or 3 days, you could be without water.You may be without air conditioning, and the heat could make you want more water.
  • You will also need another 2 to 3 gallons for each pet/animal you own.
  • Clean all bottles before using them to store water. Use a solution of a gallon of water and a tablespoon of unscented household bleach and rinse well before filling.
  • 2 liter soda bottles work well for emergency water, but should be used for one season and then recycled
  • An item you may consider are collapsible water bags, which you can pick up from a camping supply store. They store up to 5 gallons of water and collapse after use.
  • If you need to clean one of the collapsible bags, fill it about half way and add a teaspoon of non-chlorinated bleach. Then, swish the mixture around in the bag, and then rinse thoroughly.
  • The bags can be stored in a freezer where they will conform to the size of your freezer. They will also keep frozen foods colder for a longer period of time. Bottles may also be frozen and used to keep your freezer and refrigerator cool longer when the power goes out.
  • Important Note: water expands as it is frozen. Therefore, only fill items headed for the freezer about 90 percent full.
  • Water can be stored in your bathtub. Clean the tub well, and cover the drain with plastic wrap to seal it, before filling.
  • If you prefer to purchase water, buy 5 gallon jugs. You can purchase an inexpensive non-electric dispenser which makes the jugs easy to use.
  • Bottled water is OK, but remember to stock up early. It's one of the first things to go in a pre-hurricane rush.
  • Water from your Hot Water heater may be used, but only as a last resort. Any water you use from the tap, if available, should be boiled briskly or purified with a few drops of unscented household bleach per gallon. Let the water sit for a while after adding bleach. Even without an official boil water order, it's safer to assume it needs to be purified until the all-clear is sounded.
  • If you have power, be wary of ice makers, either at home or at restaurants, until the all-clear is sounded for the water supply. The ice could have been made with tainted water.

These simple suggestions should keep you hydrated during and after a hurricane.

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