Friday, May 11, 2007


Is There Water You Should Not Drink During an Emergency or Disaster?

You hear about a natural weather disaster or other emergency almost everyday. And if something happened in your area, would you know how to find water for you and your family to drink? Next to air, water is the most important substance for human life. Over 60% of the adult human body is comprised of water. Having clean drinking water is something most people take for granted but in an emergency situation, the water in your tap may be contaminated. Knowing enough to avoid contaminated water could mean the difference between life and death. Here are some water safety facts you should know.

Sources of Contamination in Water

During an emergency listen to emergency broadcasts to know if common public water systems have been contaminated. For instance, a weather disaster such as a tornado, hurricane, or even an earthquake could upset the water system. Wait until you get some directions from emergency personnel before drinking tap water after an emergency. Sources of contamination in water from outside of the home come from micro-organisms and bacteria that normally cannot be seen with the eye. Gulping water out in the open could mean taking in contaminated water that contains dangerous or even deadly diseases or bacteria. The diseases or bacteria could incubate in your body from one day and up to several weeks before symptoms occur. Sometimes there won't be any symptoms or you could experience symptoms that include diarrhea, bloody stools, abdominal pain and cramping, nausea and vomiting, or fever.

Avoid This Water Altogether!

To avoid contracting sickness, bacteria, or disease from contaminated water do all you can to avoid drinking these sources of water.

- Waterbeds may not be in style anymore, but if you happen to have one, skip drinking the water in it. It could be filled with pesticides and other chemicals that prevent the growth of algae, fungi, and bacteria. If these chemicals are not in the water, the algae, fungi and bacteria will be so you still don't want this in your body.

- If you find a source of water that is cloudy and full of trash, avoid drinking it.

- Whenever you are not sure about the purity of water, be cautious and sterilize or purify the water before drinking it.

- Never use contaminated water to wash dishes, brush your teeth, wash and prepare food, wash your hands, make ice, or prepare baby formula. This is another way that contaminated water would get into your system.

- Totally avoid water with toxic chemicals or radioactive materials. Listen to emergency broadcasts to learn about these sources. Then avoid this source of water at all costs.

These are just some of the sources of potential contaminated water. Look for resources to give you more information. If you have a baby to care for, store an emergency supply of baby formula that does not need to have water added. To stay clean, look for an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to wash your hands. Without a doubt, clean water is the most important substance you need to survive during an emergency. If you don't get any other emergency supplies, be sure to organize your water sources and learn where to get your hands on clean, drinkable water if needed.

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