Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Emergency Water Supplies

Part One this week focused on light weight emergency food supplies which is the first in a multi part post about having to get home or to another location on foot or other human power conveyance (bike, skates, etc.).

If you ever leave the house, this scenario is easy to imagine. You are at work, school or away on a trip. Suddenly, the SHTF and you have to make it home. Perhaps at first your car or public transportation is available. But then due to the circumstances, you are left on foot to make it the rest of the way.

Suddenly weight and space become very important. The energy and physical needs of the journey are balanced against the carrying capacity of the traveler. I hope this helps with your preparations.

Part Two - Water.

Water, as you know, is mandatory to life. No water and in three days most of us will die. Further, clean water is becoming more and more of a luxury. Whereas 100 years ago, one could drink safely from a stream, more and more water sources are contaminated with chemicals, human and animal waste and bugs like giardia.

Also, if the SHTF and you find yourself on foot, resources will become scarce. Stores will no longer have bottled water available. Hotels and restaurants will close up. You soon find yourself left to you own wits to provide basic drinking water.

First, never leave home without water. In the car keep at least a six pack of water bottles stored. The bottles can be used over when empty and can be refilled several times over.

Also, keep any other sort of container for water storage handy as well. For instance, a resealable plastic water bottle, empty of course, can be carried aboard a commercial airplane. I carry one with a built in filter on every business trip I take.

Keep a spare bottle in the backpack or purse when at school. My kids do, my wife carries at least one bottle of water in the diaper bag and I carry one in my backpack to work.

Whenever water presents itself, fill up. Free bottled water at work? Grab a couple of extras. Bottled water at the meeting or on the flight? Take two please. Always find and locate clean portable water sources and stock up, using good manners of course, whenever possible.

Further, when traveling, stop off at a quickie mart or drug store and pick up a six pack of water as soon as possible. Keep it in your hotel room or rent car and you have the start on your water supply. Drink it before you leave town and there is no waste.

Invest now in a good water filter. Nope, not a Brita, but a Katadyn like this Pocket. It can filter thousands of gallons of water and clean it of bacteria, chemicals and protozoa. It is a great first stage to clean water in most situations.

When the SHTF, purchase a small bottle of bleach. Put the closed bottle inside of at least one closed zip lock bag. (Carry several zip lock bags as they can be used as emergency water carriers).

Have matches or a lighter on hand for fires to boil water for complete sanitization. A can of sterno or other canned heat will be invaluable for small heating fires for water boiling.

Always follow the same sequence of rules when dealing with strange water supplies: Filter, boil, bleach.

What to do when the SHTF and your out on your own?

1) Secure all clean water supplies. Find bottled water and fill any and all containers from a safe source.

2) Repack all water possible into closed containers.

3) Find more containers, clean and fill; fill used ones as emptied.

4) Use clean sources first from authorities and stores first.

5) Use alternate sources as available, i.e. water heaters, water fountains, etc. Filter, boil, bleach.

6) Use wild sources (creeks, rivers, streams, etc.) last. Filter, boil, bleach.

7) Rain water contains chemicals and harmful substances, too.

Water is heavy. Carry what is comfortable but be aware, you may go days between sources. Never assume that a new source will be available tomorrow.

Defer to water before food and food before any other supplies including firearms and ammunition!

The food rule with water is simple. Each person/each meal requires two cups of water - one for preparation and another to aid with digestion. Prepare and eat accordingly.

Water is the lifeblood your body needs to make the long journey home. As stated before, you can make it home hydrated and hungry but never the other way around.

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