I grew up in lands where hurricanes are commonplace: first on the island of Okinawa, a gob of coral that’s so tiny it’s just a blip on most maps and could be seriously blasted by any size typhoon; and in Florida, a peninsula that puts millions of people out into the path of tropical storms every year. And, I’ve worked in hurricane recovery efforts. So, I naturally think about prepping for hurricane season around this time of the year.
But, how many of people do? Do you? I’ll bet a bunch of people in New Jersey now think about it, when they never had to before. But really, anyone living along a coastline can be affected and needs to make plans to ensure not only their comfort, but their very survivability as well.
One of the most important things to look at is WATER.
You can go for quite a few days – even weeks – without food. You can too without electricity and the ultimate gift of electricity, which in Florida, is AIR CONDITIONING. But you cannot go without water. Water is essential.
In the July issue of Water Technology Magazine, Assistant Editor Jake Mastroianni provides an excellent article on the water element of “Preparing for an emergency.” I recommend reading the entire article, which isn’t long and includes tidbits like a reminder that the folks who went through Hurricane Andrew went without a safe water supply for over a month! But, if you don’t have time to click over to the entire article, here’s a lowdown on the list of the 7 tips that Mastroianni offers from the book “WaterPrepper” by Glenn Meder.
1. Know what to do. Looooong BEFORE the power is knocked out, print a copy of the FEMA/Red Cross Booklet on treating water in an emergency situation. The FEMA/RED CROSS Booklet can be found at http://www.fema.gov/pdf/library/f&web.pdf.
2. Keep a minimum of two-week’s worth of bottled water. You should have at least two quarts (half gallon) per person per day. This should be commercially produced bottled water, preferably a well-known brand name. Keep the bottles sealed and stored in a dark, cool area. Rotate the bottles out at least every six months.
3. Also keep a bottle of basic bleach — unopened and non-scented. Do not use scented bleaches, colorsafe bleaches or bleaches with added cleaners, which can be used to disinfect water.
4. Get a stove and fuel for boiling and/or distilling water during an emergency. You should have a stove that can use different types of fuel, and that will allow you to make a basic wood fire.
5. And/or get a water purifier, ideally a non-electric water distiller, which is the best way to purify water during an emergency.
6. You could incorporate an emergency filter into your kit, which could be effective at filtering some contaminants out of the water, as long as you remember to additionally treat the filtered water with one of the FEMA/Red Cross recommended methods.
7. Educate your family and friends about being prepared. If they aren’t, they will probably become a burden on YOU and your resources. Send each of them a copy of the FEMA/Red Cross Document that’s at http://www.fema.gov/pdf/library/f&web.pdf.
And, number 8 is my own tip. Don’t wait. By the time weather forecasters say a storm is headed your way, you will have to contend with the mass hysteria and resulting empty shelves at your local grocery store.
Again, don’t wait. Think about, and do something about, your disaster plan for water soon.