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Water Contamination - A Real Hurricane Hazard

Water contamination is a really serious health hazard that people living through a hurricane and its aftermath have to contend with. If bottled water runs out then you have to depend on cleaned tap water and here due diligence has to be maintained or you run the risk of serious water-borne disease. Use radio and TV to be in the know about the status of local water supply. Even if water is coming to your taps, burst lines can lead to contaminated water getting mixed with potable water. Water for consumption as well as that for cooking should be disinfected. Tap water should be boiled; in fact, local administration will most probably issue a directive that water be boiled before use. The last thing you want is to go down with something like diarrhea as it can spread fast to other people and leave the subject dehydrated and without salts in the body. If you have stored clean water then it should last you for six months. The correct way to store water is to fill bottles such that there is no air gap and then the bottles should be kept in a cool dark place.

Water not meant for consumption and cooking does not really have to be cleaned or disinfected. But if you shave using tap water and get a cut then make it a point to use a disinfectant to clean the cut area. Health hazards from dirty water are a very real risk and you shouldn’t be taking a drink from a well or a water pump in the aftermath of a hurricane; there is no telling what may have contaminated the ground water and to what extent. Boil the water for at least ten minutes; pass alum through it so that suspended impurities may settle down; filter it with fine muslin; and pour it in a filter from where you can consume it. Liquid chlorine bleach is a very good disinfectant that will kill all but pthysis germs. You can use plain sodium hypochlorite solution as well. Half a teaspoon for clear water and one teaspoon for cloudy water should do the trick. Keep your see-through-the-hurricane supply stocked with chlorine and iodine tablets. Apportion supplies according to the daily use of each member of the family and do take your pets into account.