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FEMA and American Red Cross Recommendations for Treating Water in an Emergency

FEMA and the American Red Cross published their recommendations on managing water in times of an emergency.

The FEMA/American Red Cross Pamphlet may be downloaded and read directly from this link: FEMA/AMERICAN RED CROSS: Food and Water in an Emergency.1) FEMA/AMERICAN RED CROSS: Food and Water in an Emergency: https://www.fema.gov/pdf/library/f&web.pdf

 

THE RECOMMENDATIONS.

FEMA and the American Red Cross recommend three treatment methods for treating water during an emergency. Here are the three methods, and what they say about each method…

  1. BOILING. “Boiling is the safest method of treating water. In a large pot or kettle, bring water to a rolling boil for 1 full minute, keeping in mind that some water will evaporate. Let the water cool before drinking. Boiled water will taste better if you put oxygen back into it by pouring the water back and forth between two clean containers. This will also improve the taste of stored water.”

  2. CHLORINATION. “You can use household liquid bleach to kill microorganisms. Use only regular household liquid bleach that contains 5.25 to 6.0 percent sodium hypochlorite. Do not use scented bleaches, colorsafe bleaches, or bleaches with added cleaners. Because the potency of bleach diminishes with time, use bleach from a newly opened or unopened bottle. Add 16 drops (1/8 teaspoon) of bleach per gallon of water, stir and let stand for 30 minutes. The water should have a slight bleach odor. If it doesn’t, then repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes. If it still does not smell of bleach, discard it and find another source of water. Other chemicals, such as iodine or water treatment products (sold in camping or surplus stores) that do not contain 5.25 to 6.0 percent sodium hypochlorite as the only active ingredient, are not recommended and should not be used.”

  3. DISTILLATION. “While the two methods described above will kill most microorganisms in water, distillation will remove microorganisms that resist these methods, as well as heavy metals, salts, and most other chemicals. Distillation involves boiling water and then collecting the vapor that condenses back to water. The condensed vapor will not include salt or most other impurities. To distill, fill a pot halfway with water. Tie a cup to the handle on the pot’s lid so that the cup will hang right-side-up when the lid is upside-down (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. (See illustration.)”

 

 

 

 

 

References   [ + ]

1.  FEMA/AMERICAN RED CROSS: Food and Water in an Emergency: https://www.fema.gov/pdf/library/f&web.pdf

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