I thought of first addressing WATER (at the request of a fellow blogger).
Storing water in hold milk jugs is a BIG NO! According to FEMA, if you are choosing your own containers, you should not choose plastic or cardboard containers that have had milk or fruit juice in them. "Milk protein and fruit sugars cannot be adequately removed from these containers and provide an environment for bacterial growth when water is stored in them. Cardboard containers also leak easily and are not designed for long-term storage of liquids." FEMA also mentions not to use glass, because they can easily break and are heavy to carry. And ProvidentLiving.org also stated that milk jugs do not seal well and become brittle over time.
So what should you use?
ProvidentLiving suggests using only food-grade containers that are made of PETE plastic or heavier plastic buckets or drums.
If you choose to use your own containers these containers must have screw on lids, two liter plastic soda bottles, is the recommended container.
Both FEMA and ProvidentLiving suggests the following cleaning process before you use the 'soda bottles'. Clean the bottles with dishwashing soap and water, and rinse completely, sanitize by adding a solution of 1 teaspoon of household bleach, make sure that it is non-scented, no thickeners or additives are in the bleach, just plain old bleach. Swish the sanitizing solution in the bottle so it touches the entire surface of the bottle, neck, and lid. After sanitizing, thoroughly rinse out with clean water.
Filling Water Containers
This next information is directly from FEMA:
"Fill the bottle to the top with regular water. If the tap water has been commercially treated from a water utility with chlorine, you do not need to add anything else to the water to keep it clean. If the water you are using comes from a well or water source that is not treated with chlorine, add two drops of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach to the water. Tightly close the container using the original cap. Be careful not to contaminate the cap by touching the inside of it with your finger. Place a date on the outside of the container so that you know when you filled it. Store in a cool, dark place. Replace the water every six months if not using commercially bottled water.
If you choose to use commercially bottled water, keep it in its original container and do not open it until your are ready to use it. Also pay attention to the expiration date.
So How Much Should You Have?
You should plan on at least ONE GALLON per Person per Day, now this is a base starting point. Each individual needs will vary based on age, physical condition, activity, diet and climate. FEMA states that children, nursing mothers, and ill people will need more water; also if the temperatures are very hot the usage can double; and medical emergencies may require more water as well.
Our family will start saving our soda bottles and start adding water to our food storage. Hope this information will help you start your water storage, nudge you to continue adding to your storage, or go and check your dates to make sure nothing has expired.
What would you like to learn about concerning food storage? Comment or send me an email, I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas, questions, or concerns.