Safety During a Water Emergency

Having good information about water safety could help your family get through a winter storm or other emergency situation.

It is recommended that at least one gallon of water, per person per day, be stored for emergency purposes. It is further recommended that a two-week supply of water be stored in clean plastic, glass, fiberglass, or enamel-lined metal containers. Never use a container that has had a toxic substance in it. Make sure all containers are sealed tightly and store them in a cool, dry space. You should also rotate your backup water supply every six months.

If a water main break occurs, you may be without water for a period of time and a boil water alert may be issued. A boil water alert is issued when the purity of the water in the lines is questioned. The water should be brought to a rolling boil for five minutes. Let the water cool, then pour it back and forth between two clean containers to add air for improved taste. The water will then be safe for cooking and drinking purposes.

In the event your water service is completely lost for an extended period of time, there are sources of water within your home that are safe for consumption. Water in the pipes of your home can be drained and used. You can also access the water in your hot water tank in an emergency situation. Begin by making sure the electricity and gas are shut off. Open the drain at the bottom of the hot water tank and turn off the cold water intake at the top of the tank. If there is a hot water faucet, turn it on, and the water should begin draining. When your water service is restored, fill the tank back up. Do not turn the electricity or gas back on when the tank is empty.   If you don't wait until the tank is full, you could damage your hot water tank.