Emergency water provides hydration during an emergency or disaster when regular sources of water, such as municipal water, are not available. Next to immediate first aid needs, emergency water is the most important emergency preparedness supply that you can have. Emergency water can be classified into emergency water storage, emergency water treatment, and emergency water filtration.
Emergency water storage is the water that has been put aside before an emergency that is protected from contamination and is potable or suitable for drinking. Water storage is accomplished through the use of water containers designed for specific purposes. A water tank, water barrel, water tote, water bottle, and water pouch can all be used for specific purposes for emergency water storage. For example, a water tank can be used to store large amounts of water in a basement or garage for shelter in place water storage, or a a water pouch can be used for a bug out bag or 72 hour kit to transport small amounts of individually measured water rations. At some point, water storage is depleted and alternate emergency water must be acquired.
Emergency water treatment is the process of heating or chemically treating water that may or may not be potable and making it biologically safe to drink during an emergency. Municipal water sources provide clean water by treating it to insure that dangerous microbes are killed. You can do the same thing in a disaster. The process involves finding a source of water and treating it with iodine tablets, chlorine, or boiling the water at a temperature 212 degrees or a rolling boil for for one minute.
Emergency water filtration is accomplished by passing contaminated water through a water filter with pores small enough to prevent contaminants from passing though. The physical process of water filtration is not sufficient to provide clean safe water in an emergency water situation. Emergency water preparedness requires purified water. Water purification goes beyond physically removing particulates from the water. Water purification uses positive electrostatic charges or iodine resin, or some other medium to catch and kill viruses and other microbiological organisms too small for a standard filter to trap. One common illness after a disaster is dysentery. Water purification can prevent this waterborne illness. Emergency water filtration and purification are vital components of emergency water and care should be taken to have supplies sufficient to provide clean water for three months to a year.