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Friday, February 12, 2010

Don't Hit a Dead End: Storing Water for Emergencies

Happy Friday, penny pinchers! This is Sara Hanks from Shelf Reliance, and I'm here for our third weekly post. Today, I'll be giving you some tips for emergency water storage and an exclusive discount you can use to improve your own supply of water.

Think back to the last time your internet connection or electricity wasn't working. If you're anything like me, it was a frustrating experience! The most humorous thing about these moments is how many dead ends you come across. For example, you might try to watch a video online when your internet suddenly decides to play dead. No worries, you think. I've actually been meaning to do some online banking. Of course, that's not an option either, but since we're so used to the internet being available, it's tough to really grasp the fact that it's not working at the moment. In the next few hours, you'll probably try again and again to do something on the web, forgetting each time that all of these activities are off-limits.

The same is true when the power is out. Can't watch TV? That's okay; you can microwave a snack instead. Microwave not working? That's okay; you can go listen to music. Oh, the stereo won't work either. Everywhere you turn, another dead end is there to greet you.

You might be wondering how internet connections and power outages relate to water storage. While most of us deal with loss of internet and electricity on a frequent basis, losing access to clean water is much rarer in today's society. You can bet, though, that a lack of water will lead to even more dead ends and a feeling of helplessness. Being without water will result in thirst and dehydration, as well as increased difficulty with cooking, cleaning, and personal hygiene. That's why it's so important to store water in your emergency supply.

How much water do I need?
The average adult should drink at least two quarts of water each day. A number of circumstances, such as a special health need or a warmer climate, will increase that amount. If you're creating a 3-day emergency supply, it's best to store at least three gallons for each person (one gallon per person, per day) for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. It's even better if you can secure a two-week supply of water for each member of your family.
In especially dire circumstances, your water supplies might run low. Though it may seem like a good idea, never ration water. Drink the amount your body needs, then try to find more for tomorrow.
How can I store water safely and conveniently?
The plastic or glass containers you use for food or beverages are suitable for storing water, and you can also purchase a variety of water containers from most outdoor or hardware stores. Stainless steel can be used to store water, as long as the water isn't treated with chlorine (as chlorine is corrosive to most metals). It's great to have these smaller containers on-hand as a source of water away from home.
55-gallon drums and other barrels used for water storage can be difficult to transport, but they're absolutely the best option for water storage in an emergency. Water barrels serve as a central source of water in your home, and it's easy to purify a greater amount of water if you're using large containers like these. Blue water barrels like the ones available at Shelf Reliance are superior to white barrels, since the dark blue color restricts light penetration and cuts down on growth of harmful algae and bacteria.
Clearly label all water containers with the words “drinking water” and the date. Store the water in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, heat sources, and chemicals.
What do I need to know about treating my water?
To treat your water and ensure that it's safe to drink, add 1/8 teaspoon of chlorine bleach to each gallon you store. This translates to about 1/8 cup of bleach for a 55-gallon barrel full of water.
When water is properly stored, it should have an indefinite shelf life. It’s a good idea to check and replace your stored water every 6 – 12 months, just in case.
Shelf Reliance is happy to offer an exclusive coupon code to Pinching Your Pennies readers! Use the code PYPWATER at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount for all water supplies and accessories at This coupon applies to everything from water barrels to bung wrenches, filters, and purifying agents.
How is your family doing on water storage? It seems like an easy area of preparedness to forget about because we're just so used to having fresh, clean water around. It's almost as though we've been spoiled into thinking that we'll always get the water we need when we turn on the faucet. Do you focus on water storage, or do you think it's more important to store other things first?



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