Why You Need Bottled Water During a Hurricane or Tropical Storm

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U.S.|Here’s why you need bottled water during a hurricane or tropical storm.


Emergency preparedness officials recommend storing a gallon of water per person per day in case a hurricane like Henri damages the water system.
Credit...Cristobal Herrera-Ulashkevich/EPA, via Shutterstock
  • Aug. 22, 2021, 10:43 a.m. ET

Having an ample supply of clean water is a top priority during extreme weather systems such as Tropical Storm Henri.

But why?

“You don’t know what is necessarily going to happen due to the storm’s impact,” said Stefanie Arcangelo, an American Red Cross spokeswoman. “The storm could impact the public water system.”

Often during or immediately after a storm, a boil water advisory will be issued, meaning there could be contaminants in the water that could make it unsafe to drink, she said.

That’s why the American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency recommend that people store a gallon of water per person per day just in case a storm damages the water system or knocks out electricity, which could prevent people from boiling water.

The average person drinks about half a gallon of water, but people will also need water for food preparation and hygiene, FEMA said.

“To prepare the safest and most reliable emergency supply of water, it is recommended that you purchase commercially bottled water,” FEMA said. “Keep bottled water in its original container, and do not open it until you need to use it.”

If people don’t want to buy water in plastic bottles, they can put regular tap water in clean, tightly sealed containers or bottles, FEMA said.

If water supplies run low, drink the amount needed that day and then try to find more the next day, the agency advises, adding that reducing activity and staying cool can minimize the amount of water the body needs.

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