Every household should have an emergency water supply in case of a natural disaster or other event that interrupts normal service.

How much should I save?

Store at least one gallon of water per person, per day of expected need. If you have pets, allow 1 quart per day for each dog or cat. Storing at least a three-day supply is recommended, but consider a two-week supply if your home has enough space for it.

How should water be stored?

You may use any new plastic containers, or any plastic or glass containers that previously held beverages such as soda or juice. Plastic milk bottles should be avoided. Rinse each container thoroughly with hot tap water before using.

Where should I store the water and for how long?

Store containers in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, gasoline, kerosene, pesticides, or similar substances. You can also store water for an extended period of time in the freezer. Leave 2 to 3 inches of air space in the top of containers before freezing, to keep the container from breaking as water expands during freezing.

For best quality, replace water stored from a public, or vended water supply every six months. For commercially bottled distilled or drinking water, check the label for an expiration date.

Purifying water

If the only water accessible to you is of uncertain purity, there are three methods that can help to render it safe.

Boiling: Boiling is the safest method of purifying water. Bring water to a rolling boil for 3-5 minutes.

Disinfection: You can use household liquid bleach to kill microorganisms. Use only regular household liquid bleach that contains 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite. Do not use scented bleaches, color-safe bleaches, or bleaches with added cleaners.

Add 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water, stir and let stand for 30 minutes. If the water does not have a slight bleach odor, repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes.

Distillation: Distillation involves boiling water and then collecting the vapor that condenses back to water. To distill, use a clean pot with a lid that has a knob-type handle in the center. Fill the pot halfway with water. Turn the pot's lid upside-down and tie a cup under the handle, so that the cup will hang right side up (make sure the cup is not dangling into the water) and boil the water for 20 minutes. The water that drips from the lid into the cup is distilled.