Plenty of Tap Water for Hurricane Preparations!
The threat of hurricanes has us preparing for the worst – as we should – and the most essential need in a natural disaster is clean water. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that you stock at least one gallon of water per day for each person and each pet.
As hurricanes move closer to Florida, more and more residents will rush to stores to buy bottled water. But, remember, you have plenty of safe, clean water right at your tap! While both tap and bottled water are safe to drink, your tap water is more strictly regulated and tested than bottled water. And tap water in the Tampa Bay region costs less than a penny per gallon.
Here are some ways you can store tap water now.
- If you own water coolers, such as the kind used on the sidelines of football games, fill them with tap water and ice and set aside. If the coolers are labeled food-grade, you can use this water for drinking. It’s also good for cleaning and bathing.
- Fill five-gallon buckets, secure the lid and set aside for cleaning and bathing. If you use products labeled as food-grade, you can use the water for drinking.
- Fill as many reusable water bottles, canteens, mason jars, and other vessels made for storing drinking water, as you can and place them in the refrigerator for later.
- Fill small food storage containers and zip-locked bags with water and place them in the freezer. If you’re without power during or after the storm, place these containers in your refrigerator to keep it cool longer. When the ice melts, use the water.
- Fill pitchers and jugs for drinking. Bottled water might be sold out but there may be pitchers and jugs left to purchase. Be sure to purchase food-grade products if you intend to drink the water. Otherwise, use it for cleaning and bathing.
- Fill your bathtub with water and plug the drain. Use this water for cleaning and bathing.
- Fill plastic storage bins with water and keep them in the garage for cleaning and bathing.
- Reuse sports beverage containers, soda bottles and plastic water bottles, but be sure to wash them first.
- Purchase a 100-gallon emergency water storage container that fits in your bathtub. These products are sterile and designed for drinking.
- Reuse or purchase 5-gallon water cooler containers and fill them for drinking.
Wait for the official hurricane warning to fill water storage containers. Keeping water stored for too long can allow harmful bacteria to build up in standing water.
- Containers that cannot be sealed tightly
- Containers that can easily break
- Second-hand containers that have been used for any toxic solid or liquid chemicals (ie: old bleach containers)
- Second-hand plastic or cardboard bottles, jugs, and containers previously used to store milk or fruit juice
For proper water storage:
- Use products labeled as food-grade if possible
- Label container as "drinking water" and include storage date
- Keep stored water in a place with a fairly constant cool temperature
- Do not store water containers in direct sunlight
- Do not store water containers in areas where toxic substances such as gasoline or pesticides are present
If you are not sure if the water you store is safe to drink, the CDC has guidelines on how to make water safe to drink. Always drink the water you are sure is safe first. Boil the rest at a rolling boil if you can.