Patty's Preparedness Corner - Water
By Patty Liston
As promised last week, this will be the first in a series of articles dealing with preparedness.
The purpose is to give information that will help each of us be better prepared to care for ourselves, our families and our neighbors when an emergency arises.
There is quite a bit of information "out there" about how to prepare for any calamity, be it a natural disaster such as we have seen here and abroad; economic upheaval; civil unrest; a forced quarantine; or other national or local emergency. When we know that when the time comes we will be able to intelligently care for those we love, we will be able to replace panic with peace, and feelings of hopelessness with empowerment.
This is the #1 preparedness item we should begin working on now. The reason is simple: while we can live several weeks without food, we can only live 3 days without water. After that time, our body, which is 60% water, will begin to shut down. Not a good thing.
How Much Water?
It is recommended that we store 1 gallon of water, per person, per day; more if there is a baby or elderly person living with us. In an emergency, this water will be used for more than drinking. It will help cook food, clean wounds, wash clothes, etc.
Buy a 1 gallon container of water for each member of your family. Each person can only use what is in this container for the period of one day. Wash yourself with it, cook with it, brush your teeth with it, flush the toilet with it, wash out your underwear with it, and drink it. How much of your gallon of water is left at the end of the day?
How to Begin
No, you will not have to store thousands of gallons of water under your beds. We will discuss resolutions about this next week. For now, let's focus on the amount of water we would need for just one week.
Count the number of people in your family.
For one week, (7 days) each family member would need 1 gallon of water per day, or 7 gallons.
If there are 2 of you, then you would need 14 gallons for the week. Four members would require 28 gallons of water for one week and so forth.
Once you have the total number of gallons you will need for your family's survival for one week, do one of the following:
1. Purchase gallon containers of water found in supermarkets and discount stores to equal what you would need.
Write the date of purchase on each container.
Store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight (basement, under beds, in closets, etc).
Most of these containers have a "Use By" date on them, of up to 2 years.
If you use it, be sure to rotate in another gallon to take the place of what was used.
2. Purchase liter bottles of water that come packaged 12 flat
Stack the boxes in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight.
Write the date on the box.
Again, if you drink the water be sure to replace it!
3. Purchase a 50 gallon water drum with spigot (seen in picture)
Make sure the drum is labeled as being "food safe".
Fill with tap water.
If your tap water is not chlorinated, add 10 drops of non-scented, straight chlorine bleach, per every gallon. Fifty gallons, 50 drops.
Store in a cool, dry place.
4. Gather 2 liter bottles and fill them with tap water (2 liters - 1/2 gallon)
Using soap and water wash and rinse out 2 liter bottles.
Use only bottles that have held soft drinks.
Do not use milk cartons as even after washing, the protein from the milk can leach bacteria into the water.
Fill bottles with tap water.
If your tap water is chlorinated, just fill to the top and screw on the lid. Make sure your fingers do not get into the lid, leaving germs behind.
If your primary source of water is not chlorinated, add 10 drops of plain, unscented, chlorine bleach. Wait for 30 minutes before screwing on the bottle cap.
Put the date on the bottle
Empty the water in the bottles every 6 months, and refill using the same method as before. Recycle this water, using it on your garden, plants, to wash windows, cars, etc.
These bottles can be refilled up to 4 times, in 6 month intervals. Bottles should not be used for more than 2 years. Throw bottles away after the 2 year mark.
A Word of Advice
Unless you are able, don't feel you have to run out today and get all of the water you and your family will need. Figure out which of the above plans is easiest for you. Or go ahead and mix and match. The point is to begin. Every time you empty a liter bottle, wash it, dry it, fill it with water and add it to your collection. Or each time you go to the store, buy a few more gallons of water, or liter flats. Before you know it, you will have what you need.
Congratulations! You are on your way.