Surviving Natural Disasters: Water

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What does it take to survive a disaster? By “Survive,” I more specifically mean “Thrive.” Surviving could simply mean that you maintain life sustaining bodily functions until the disaster is over and rescuers arrive. However, most people do not want to simply stay alive during a disaster. They want to thrive. They want to continue on during a disaster with as little trouble as possible. Most people believe it takes a specially trained person to take charge during such a disaster. However, it only takes a little preparedness and some critical thinking skills. One problem that everyone will come across during a disaster is lack of potable water.

While, direct damage from a disaster may or may not affect your home. Whether it is a Local, Regional or National disaster, chances are that your water service will be disrupted. Unless you have a well and pump, or a massive rain collector, you will need to find water in other ways. The best way to ensure drinking water is to store it. The stigma against stockpiling several weeks’ worth of supplies is slowly losing its negative connotation.

The problem with storage, however, is that it takes up space. Some argue that stockpiling is also expensive. However, water can be purchased for 50 cents per gallon at almost any grocery store and is much cheaper out of the tap. Tap water can be collected prior to an event, stored in clean milk jugs, soda bottles or other cleansed potable liquid containers. I prefer glass containers, but plastic may be easier to obtain.

The bottles can be stored for months in a back closet. Remember, a safe requirement for each person is one gallon per day for each person in your home. Children count as one person. Do not think that they need less than a full ration of water. While the bottles being repurposed as water storage may not be sterile, especially if you are using plastic (glass can be boiled), you can always boil the water before you drink it. Besides, it’s not likely that any serious bacteria would grow in the water unless the bottle is either opened or not water/air tight. Any bottle that does not hold a seal should be discarded or used for other purposes, such as water for pets. In a disaster, pets will need the same life sustaining supplies as humans, this should not be forgotten.

A good way to store water is a product called a waterBOB. Essentially a 100 gallon plastic bag that you place in the bath tub, this product is a wonderful way to store potable water during a disaster. The downfall of the waterBOB is that you have to fill it in the tub after you realize there is a disaster but before you lose water service or the water gets contaminated. This will put additional strain on the service and, if many people do the same thing, could lead to an overload of the system.

Also, you should use all available water that your home already stores. Nearly every apartment and home in the U.S. has a 30-plus gallon water heater that they use for hot water. This water is completely potable and, as long as the intake is shut off or disconnected, will remain a clean source of drinkable water during a disaster. The stored water in the tank is the reason I have not changed to a tank-less water heater. While it may be slightly cheaper to operate, it takes away an option during a natural disaster.

Rain should obviously be collected into any container that is clean and chemical/contaminant free. Though, I would be cautious to drink water straight from a gutter or a downspout. Roofing material contains many chemicals and contaminants that I would rather not ingest. That being said, I would not hesitate to drink that same water after being filtered through a ceramic filter, like a Berkey Filter system or one of the many generic versions on the market. These can be used with two five gallon buckets to produce gallons of purified water each day.

A good filter will be worth its weight in gold during a disaster, especially a water based disaster. If you do not have a filter, you can boil the water, you can add chlorine bleach (7-8 drops per gallon), 2% iodine (15-20 drops per gallon), or even place it in a clear bottle, place it in the sun and let it set for a day. Be aware, however, that these methods will not remove chemicals and should only be used to kill bacteria in the water.

No matter how well trained or prepared you become, surviving a disaster is always a risky gamble. However, the more knowledge and preparedness you bring to the situation, the better the odds are stacked in your favor. It could very well mean the difference between surviving/thriving and dying.

Ceramic Water Filter Kit
Ceramic Water Filter Kit

Just Water, ceramic drip filter works as well as the high end British ones only at a fraction of the cost!

 
Discontinued by Manufacturer waterBOB Emergency Drinking Water Storage (100 Gallons)
Discontinued by Manufacturer waterBOB Emergency Drinking Water Storage (100 Gallons)

Every home should have one of these in their emergency kit. The Water Bob from Amazing keys will allow you to store up to 100 gallons of clean, safe water, or other liquids in this unique bladder manufactured from FDA food grade plastic.

 

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