Water is a vital survival resource. Without water, you cannot live. Period.
Here are a few interesting facts about water:
- The human body is about 70% water.
- The average person in the US uses 80 to 100 gallons of water a day, much of which is used to flush toilets.
- About 85% of US residents get their water from public water facilities; 15% supply their own water.
- By the time you feel thirsty, you have already lost more than 1% of the total water in your body.
- A healthy person can drink about 3 gallons of water per day.
You can see how vital water truly is for human life. This is why it is important to make sure you have an adequate water supply for you and your family during a disaster. Making sure each person has a three-day supply in their emergency bag is only a start. To be truly prepared, you should make sure you have plenty of water stored for the long-term.
One way to do this is to stock up on jugs of water from the grocery store. This water, however, has a limited shelf life. You will need to constantly keep it rotated because bottled water typically only has a shelf life of 6 months or so, depending on how it is stored.
A better option is to prepare water to be stored for long-term storage. Ideally, you will use 55-gallon barrels, but make sure these barrels are safe to store water in. Often you can find free barrels, but they have probably been used to store chemicals. Even if you wash them out, they are not safe for water storage.
Instead, get barrels designed specifically for water storage. These barrels are designed to block UV rays to prevent algae growth.
Before you seal your filled water barrel for storage, make sure the water is treated with Water Preserver. When added to your barrel of water, Water Preserver is guaranteed to keep your water storage ready to use for five years, and kills bacteria, viruses, fungus, and mold.
Make sure you have these important water storage tools for your preparedness plan.
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A 72 hour bug out bag is designed for a person to get through the aftermath of a major disaster. It should contain items that will help you survive the most traumatic time immediately after a disaster, and each member of your family should have one ready to grab and go.
That disaster could be an earthquake, getting lost in the woods, having your car break down in the middle of nowhere, or even a disaster that causes you to be confined to your place of work or school. For this reason, it is wise to have a bag in several locations so you are ready for anything.
Each bag should have things you can use for shelter, fire, covering, light, hygiene and first aid. And of course, each bag should have food and water for three days.
At the very least, your bag should have a tarp that you can construct into a tent. You can also find small backpacker tents that will fit the bill nicely.
Have several ways to build a fire. This can include a lighter, matches, kindling and a fire steel, or any number of other things. Practice making a fire so you know what to do in an emergency. A disaster situation is not the time to be learning new skills, so make sure your skills are already sharp when you need them.
Have extra clothing, including shoes. Also, pack a blanket. An emergency blanket is compact enough to carry anywhere but can be a lifesaver if you get chilled in an emergency.
Pack a durable flashlight with extra batteries. Even better, pack two, just in case. Some flashlights have the ability for emergency signaling to let possible rescuers know where you are and that you need help. Consider getting a small emergency radio with a built in light as well as a flashlight.
Hygiene and First Aid
Pack various hygiene items including toilet paper, sanitary pads and hand sanitizer. Also pack at least a basic first aid kit. Make sure you are familiar with the items in the kit and know how to use them. Consider taking a basic first aid course.
Food and Water
Food and water is essential but you don’t have to try to pack full meals into your 72 hour bag. Meal bars are compact and provide the calories you need to survive. You can also pack sterilized water that will stay good for years so you won’t have to replace it often. Just pack it and know you will have what you need in an emergency.
Ideally, you will keep these items in a backpack that you can easily grab and carry. To simplify your preparations, you can purchase a survival backpack that already contains most of the items you need. Then you can customize as needed.
What would you include in your 72 hour bag?
Imagine you have just experienced a hurricane. The power is out. Gas lines are broken. The water supply is shut down. You have enough water to last a couple of days, but it will take far longer for the grid to be functional again.
The area is flooded and that flood water is a soup of filth, contaminated with oil, sewage, various chemicals and industrial waste, insect larvae and decaying matter.
A person in good condition can survive about a week without water. A person injured in a natural disaster may not have quite as long. Add in excessive heat, and your odds decrease even more.
What do you do when you are surrounded by water that you cannot drink? You purify it
First, filter out the large debris by pouring water through a cloth. Then purify it with water purification tablets.
Water purification tablets work by releasing diatomic iodine and HIO into contaminated water and disinfecting it. About 30 minutes after dissolving two tablets into a quart of water, it is safe to drink.
Water purification tablets are affordable and portable. They are a must have item for every disaster and emergency kit. Stored in a cool, dry location, tablets are good for as long as four years. Once opened, the bottle should be used within a year.
If you aren’t sure about the safety or effectiveness of water purification tablets, consider this: they were developed by the U.S. Military during WWII and they are still in use today. If the military feels confident enough to use them, you should feel safe about using them, too.
It is a good idea to filter contaminated water first, before using the tablets. They are effective against bacteria, viruses, and many cysts such as giardia lamblia, but not effective against cryptosporidium cysts. Cryptosporidium can be removed through other filtration tools.
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While every emergency kit should contain specific items, it is important to tailor your emergency kit to meet the individual needs of your family. Ideally, you will have more than one kit for various situations.
Your Basic Emergency Kit
Your basic emergency kit should be your home kit. This should include first aid, emergency food, and water for the number of people in your home.
According to FEMA, this should contain at least three gallons of water per person, a three day supply of food for each person and a first aid kit. Additionally, it should have an emergency radio, flashlight, whistle, dust mask and sanitation supplies.
Setting up your basic emergency kit is simple. You can easily purchase a basic kit and then add the extra personal items you need.
Rounding It Out
Once you have your basic emergency supplies, you’ll want to round it out with other personal items. These items may include medications, pet supplies, baby supplies, important papers and some cash.
You should also include some comfort items such as blankets and sleeping bags, a book or a special toy for your child. Don’t forget extra clothes, including shoes.
A Word on Water
Even if you have stored three gallons of water per person, you are likely to find that more water is needed, especially in hot temperatures. While storing extra water is an option, it is also wise to have a way to purify water.
A filtration system and water purification tablets are a good backup plan to your stored water. And if you’ve ever been in an emergency situation, you know that every plan should have a backup plan.
Keep in mind, too, that storing gallons of water takes up a lot of space, and the water will only keep for about six month under ideal conditions. This is why we recommend sterilized water with a much longer shelf life.
Other Kits to Consider
In addition to your basic kit, you should also have a car kit, a kit for your office, and supplies for specific events that you are likely to encounter where you live, such as earthquakes or hurricanes.
What would you include in your emergency kit?