It seems like no matter how often you turn on the TV news or open a newspaper, there's somewhere in the world that is facing some type of natural disaster or other emergency situation. Have you ever t...
It seems like no matter how often you turn on the TV news or open a newspaper, there's somewhere in the world that is facing some type of natural disaster or other emergency situation. Have you ever thought about what would happen to you and your family if something similar were to happen in the area where you live? Would you be able to find drinking water that would be safe enough to drink? Since your body is 60% made up of water, water replenishment is essential for the continuation of life. In America, we all tend to take our clean drinking water for granted, because all we have to do is turn on the tap, and we have all the water we need. However, if an emergency were to strike, it could well contaminate public water supplies, and drinking that water could be lethal. So how do you know if your water has been contaminated? Read on for some information everyone needs to know.
How does Water become Contaminated?
If an emergency has occurred, you need to listen to any emergency broadcasts that are being made. Announcements will be made if the disaster has contaminated the public water systems. Weather disasters, such as a hurricane, a tornado, or an earthquake could throw the water system out of balance. Never drink tap water after an emergency until emergency personnel have told you it's safe. The water could be contaminated with bacteria and micro-organisms which would appear invisible to you but which could make you very sick. If you're outside, you don't want to just take it for granted that natural water sources are untainted, either. You could drink the water and ingest deadly bacteria which might not make you sick right away but which could incubate in your body and cause you to get seriously ill down the line. You may have no symptoms telling you that the water you drank was contaminated, but you may also start experiencing fever, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or bloody stools.
Stay Away from Water that can Make you Sick
It's a pretty good bet that certain water sources may be contaminated and shouldn't be used as drinking water. Here are a few of the ones you need to avoid:
1. Although waterbeds aren't as plentiful as they once were, many people still have them in their homes. Never drink the water out of the waterbed. The water will probably be filled with chemicals designed to control the growth of bacteria, fungi, and algae. If there are no chemicals in the water, then it's a sure bet that the bacteria, fungi, and algae will be.
2. Take a look at the water. If it appears to be cloudy or you can see chunks floating in it, don't drink it.
3. If you aren't positive water is safe for consumption, take steps to purify it before drinking it.
4. Contaminated water should never be used in washing dishes, food preparation, hand washing, teeth brushing, ice making, or the preparation of baby formula. Even though you wouldn't be drinking the water directly, enough of it could still get into your system to make you sick.
5. Listen to information on emergency broadcasts to find out about water sources that may be contaminated with chemicals or radioactive substances. This is water you should definitely avoid.
This list of contaminated water sources was in no way exhaustive. If you need further information, there will be community and Internet resources available where you can learn what you need to know to keep your family safe in case of an emergency. There are some basic steps you can take ahead of time that will prepare you for an emergency. If you have a baby that drinks formula, by all means keep a supply of ready-mixed baby formula on hand for emergency use. Buy some alcohol-based hand sanitizer which you'll be able to use to wash hands and keep them free from contaminants. In addition, make sure that you have a back-up plan for keeping an open supply of drinking water no matter what type of disaster hits. You can keep a supply of water on hand for emergencies, but you will need to change it periodically. You could also do some advance research to find out what other community water resources might be available in times of emergency so you'll have the water you need when you need it.