5 Ways to Have Safe Drinking Water During a Disaster
Safe drinking water is one of the most critical considerations during a disaster. During these times, it might become more valuable than gold! That's because, without it, we can't survive. It makes up over sixty percent of our bodies. In fact, for infants, it makes up about 80 percent of their body, so it is even more vital that young children have access to clean drinking water. Generally, humans cannot last without it for more than three days.
Unfortunately, following large-scale disasters, water supplies are often compromised. It's hard to find safe drinking water. Stores are closed, pipes are destroyed, and sources are frequently rendered unfit for consumption. You've got to be concerned about all kinds of nasty organisms like Ecoli, Fecal Choliform, Giardia, and Chryposportium, to name a few. And even if the water looks clean, there's a good chance that it's not. And the last thing you want to deal with on top of the disaster itself is the possibility of nausea, fever, and even severe viral infections from consuming contaminated water. So we must educate ourselves and be prepared in the event of a disaster.
Being Prepared is Everything: Unfortunately, most people are unprepared when a when disaster hits. The simplest and most important thing you can do is to keep a supply of safe drinking water someplace safe in your home.
According to the Red Cross, and FEMA, a normally active person needs to drink a half a gallon per day. People in hot climates, children, and nursing mothers require more.
We suggest that our readers stock up with at least a two week supply, just in case. The easiest way to do this is to have six five-gallon jugs set aside, for a typical family of four. However, any clean, thoroughly washed plastic containers with caps work well. If you don't opt for the commercial source, make sure that you seal the containers tightly and store them in a cool and dark place. Make sure to change regularly, at least once every six months.
Finding a Safe Supply to Drink: In the event of an extended emergency or your water supply is exhausted, you have several options. But you'll need to know what's safe and what's not. Remember those evil little organisms swimming around? You'll have to deal with them. Fortunately, there are several ways deal fix this.
Purifying Water in an Emergency: During an emergency, you should just assume any water you find is full of nasty microbes. Don't drink it because it will play havoc with your digestive system if you don't purify the hell out of it.
According to the CDC, the most effective way to purify water is by boiling it. Those nasty microbes don't like the heat, and they can't survive high temperatures. To be safe. Just make sure you boil the water for at least 10 minutes.
If boiling is not an option, don't fret. There are other options.
Bleach – The EPA says that can use household bleach at a ratio of eight drops of bleach per gallon of water. Read the label. Check for active ingredients and ensure the bleach only contains hypochlorite. Any added chemicals or fragrances will only contaminate the water further. Once you add the bleach, stir it well and let it sit for thirty minutes. If the water is still murky at the end of 30 minutes, repeat the process.
Here's a handy guide:
|Volume of Water||Amount of 6% Bleach to Add*||Amount of 8.25% Bleach to Add*|
|1 quart/liter||2 drops||2 drops|
|1 gallon||8 drops||6 drops|
|2 gallons||16 drops (1/4 tsp)||12 drops (1/8 teaspoon)|
|4 gallons||1/3 teaspoon||1/4 teaspoon|
|8 gallons||2/3 teaspoon||1/2 teaspoon|
Water-purification chemicals are available commercially. They're popular with hikers and campers because they are portable and easy to carry. The chemicals come in pills, powder, or liquid form. You add them directly to the water and, they work by releasing chlorine or iodine. The efficacy of chemicals depends on several factors and may not completely kill all the dangerous microbes. They do offer a measure of safety that you would not otherwise have. It's important to remember that this option is for short-term, emergency use only.
Some hikers and campers like to carry straw-type filters. They're a bit bulkier than chemicals, but they appeal to people that want a quick and straightforward solution. With these devices, the user removes a protective cap and drinks through a specially-designed filtration straw. They are very effective when used correctly. They are cheap, and you can purchase them here.
Gravity filters are popular with campers because they are easy to use and filter a lot ofvolume, quickly. All you need to do is fill the bladder, hang it up and let gravity do the work! In a few minutes, the water flows through a series of filters and you are left with safe drinking water.
It's important to remember that the goal is to survive the disaster. It's always a good idea to have a supply available when a disaster hits. We hope you now have some idea how to protect your family if that is not an option at the time. Take care, and stay safe.