National Preparedness Month Kick-off: Groups Offer Tips for Emergency Water Storage

September 01, 2006

ALEXANDRIA, VA - Today the National Consumers League (NCL) and International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) kicked off September's National Preparedness Month by reminding consumers of the importance of storing clean, potable drinking water for emergency situations. In light of recent hurricane activity, as well as the anniversary of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, being mindful of water storage is more important than ever for consumers and their families in all parts of the country.

"Amidst the chaos and devastation of emergencies such as natural disasters, many consumers may forget that dehydration itself can be life-threatening," said Linda Golodner, NCL President. "Ensuring that your family has access to clean, safe drinking water is possible, but only if you're willing to spend a few moments ahead of time to prepare for it."

According to guidelines from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, all households should maintain an emergency supply of water -- at least one gallon per person per day for three days -- for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene. Public drinking water service may be interrupted or its safety may be compromised during an emergency event. Exposure to microorganisms in contaminated water, which can make people sick, can get into one's body whether you're drinking it, cooking with it, or even brushing your teeth.

Consumers should follow certain steps to ensure safe water storage.
1. If consumers choose to store tap water in their own containers, select appropriate containers and disinfect them before use. Never use a container that ever held toxic substances. Rinse them with a diluted chlorine bleach solution (one part bleach to ten parts water) before use.
2. If necessary, treat tap water with a chlorine bleach solution before storing it to prevent buildup of harmful bacteria. You should replace the water every six months. The American Red Cross and the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency offer tips for treating water at www.redcross.org.
3. Store both bottled water and tap water at a constant room temperature or cooler, if possible. Room temperature is defined by the US Pharmacopeia as being between 59-86 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Store both bottled water and tap water out of direct sunlight.
5. Keep the water away from solvents and chemicals such as gasoline, paint thinners, household cleaners and dry cleaning chemicals.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates bottled water as a packaged food product, there is no shelf life for properly stored and safety sealed bottled water.

"The International Bottled Water Association recognizes that consumers must have access to safe, clean drinking water during emergency situations. Smart planning and preparing for one's water needs can make a big difference in a person's health and well being and ability to recover from an emergency situation.," said IBWA President and CEO Joseph K. Doss. IBWA is a member of the US Department of Homeland Security's National Preparedness Coalition.

For more information about National Preparedness Month, visit www.ready.gov.

About the National Consumers League
Founded in 1899, the National Consumers League is the nation's oldest consumer advocacy organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. The National Consumers League is a private, nonprofit advocacy group representing consumers on marketplace and workplace issues. NCL provides government, businesses, and other organizations with the consumer's perspective on concerns including child labor, privacy, food safety, medication information, and issues of social concern including corporate social responsibility.

About the International Bottled Water Association

 

The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) is the authoritative source of information about all types of bottled waters. Founded in 1958, IBWA's membership includes U.S. and international bottlers, distributors and suppliers. IBWA is committed to working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates bottled water as a packaged food product, and state governments to set stringent standards for safe, high quality bottled water products. In addition to FDA and state regulations, the Association requires member bottlers to adhere to the IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice, which mandates additional standards and practices that in some cases are more stringent than federal and state regulations. A key feature of the IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice is an annual, unannounced plant inspection by an independent, third party organization. Consumers can contact IBWA at 1-800-WATER-11 or log onto IBWA's web site (www.bottledwater.org) for more information about bottled water and a list of members' brands. Media inquiries can be directed to Manager of Communications Tom Gardner at 703-647-4607 or tgardner@bottledwater.org.