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  • Portable Water vs. Stationary Water

    When it comes to water storage, there are essentially two kinds: portable and stationary. Either you can transport it with you easily, or it’s staying put. After all, just one gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds, which means carrying around even five gallons would weigh you down quite a bit, not to mention 15 or 55 gallons. So what’s the best method of emergency water preparation for you? Let’s take a look at the differences and let you be the judge.

     

    Portable Water

    As you might expect from the classification of portable water, this is water that is easily carried should you need to bug out. As mentioned above, however, water is pretty heavy (8.34 pounds per gallon), so you certainly wouldn’t want to be forced to carry it far. Even if you were, you would be hard pressed to carry more than five gallons.

     

    Water Output and Weight Comparison

    Katadyn Pocket Water FilterTo counter the weight issue, you may look into a water filter. Water filters weigh much less than water and can produce anywhere from 300 to 13,000 gallons of clean water (depending on the filter) before needing a new replacement cartridge. Compare this water output with its weight and any water filter is the obvious option for portable water options. For example, the Katadyn Pocket Water Filter pumps out up to 13,000 gallons of drinkable water, and the filter itself only weighs 20 ounces. That’s not bad at all, considering 13,000 gallons of water in barrels would end up weighing 116,220 pounds. That’s over 58 tons of water!

     

    Cost per Gallon

    Price point is also something to consider when investing in water storage options. These water can cost more than a water barrel, but in the long run, they do produce more clean water. For example, the Katadyn Pocket water filter ends up costing just $0.02 a gallon. It doesn’t get much cheaper than that!

     

    Pros and Cons

    Katadyn Hiker ProWater filters are small and lightweight, making them an ideal grab-and-go option in case of emergency. Because of their size, water filters are also a great portable water option for backpacking and camping. Also, water filters let you drink safely from most any water source. Lakes, rivers, and even puddles – any of which you wouldn’t drink from normally – can become your new watering hole. This is especially important if you’re in need of water but your municipal source has shut off for one of many reasons. And, as mentioned above, the cost per gallon can be very low.

    Water filters are great tools to have on hand. However, they aren’t always the most convenient. Instead of pouring your water into a bottle, filling it in mere seconds, it can take longer to produce that same amount of clean water directly from your filter. Some filters pump out up to a quart a minute. Still, considering it’s cleaning the water as it fills your containers, that’s still not too bad.

    Also, water filters don’t do much good if there’s no water to filter. So if you’re in an area where water (i.e. lakes, rivers, etc.) are sparse or drought stricken, filters may not be the most effective method of acquiring water. That being said, it’s always a good backup.

     

    Stationary Water

    There aren’t many situations where you’ll be forced from your home. However, you may very well have to hunker down inside for one reason or another. Or, your municipal water supply could become contaminated (think Flint, Michigan), a water main could break, or some other cause that would make your water undrinkable. This is where water barrels come into play.

     

    Water Capacity and Weight Comparison

    Guy_Standing_By_Water_BarrelsThere are many different sizes of water containers with which you can store water, ranging anywhere from two liter pop bottles to a 320 gallon water reserve. For those living in apartments or small homes, the smaller containers may be more ideal, since they take up less space. If you have the room, however, the water barrels and reserves make a great storage units. Holding much more water than just two liter bottles or five gallon jugs, water barrels can be your go-to source for emergency water.

    The downside to large water containers is their weight. As mentioned previously, clean water weighs 8.34 pounds per gallon. One of the more common water barrels people use is the 55-gallon barrel. With 55 gallons of water, this would weigh over 450 pounds. Definitely not toting that around! But, if it’s just sitting in a dark room in your basement, there should be nothing to worry about.

     

    Pros and Cons

    These large water containers let you have water when there is no other water to be found. You can’t always make a hike to the nearby river, lake, or stream to fill up a small container from your water filter. By having water barrels in your home, you can ensure you’ll always have water when you need it, because you never know when a water main might break, or some other inconvenience will take your tap water from you.

    The most obvious con of water barrels and reserves is their size. However, that’s one of the pros as well. They can be difficult to store with smaller living space, but if you have the room, just having a 15-gallon water barrel will give you water for at least two weeks. That right there is one of the best kinds of insurance.

     

    While it’s true that there are pros and cons for both water filters and water containers, it is still essential to have a backup water supply. For most cases, water barrels and other containers are the primary source of water should the need arise, with a water filter being used as backup. There are plenty of options for both, however, so make sure you choose the options that best suit your own needs.

     

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  • Comparing Hurricane Katrina with the Louisiana Flood

    Hurricane Katrina - Flooding in Venice, LA - Louisiana Flood Flooding in Venice, LA from Hurricane Katrina

    Today, exactly 11 years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and parts of the Gulf Coast, Louisiana residents are cleaning up from another storm that was far worse than everyone expected.

    At least 100,000 homes were affected in a once-in-1,000-year flood. At least 13 people were killed. Emergency managers said it was the most devastating natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

    The Louisiana floods have many parallels with Hurricane Katrina.

    First, both were worse than expected.

    Hurricane Katrina was expected to be dangerous. The day before it hit, August 28, New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin ordered the city’s first-ever mandatory evacuation. An estimated 80 percent of the New Orleans metro area evacuated. However, no one, including the Army Corps of Engineers who built the city’s levee system, expected nearly every levee to fail.

    The storm that slammed southeast Louisiana was an easterly wave, a “hurricane without the winds,” as Barry Keim, Louisiana State Climatologist, told Popular Science.

    The National Weather Service issued a flood watch for the area on August 10, saying up to 10 inches was possible.

    That was a slight understatement. In two days, NWS gauges measured 21.86 inches of rain.

    Louisiana Flood - via NPR Louisiana Flood, 2016 - via NPR

    “If this was a tropical storm or a hurricane that actually had a National Hurricane Center name attached to it, it probably would have gotten a whole lot more attention as it approached over here," Keim told Popular Science.

    In fact, the New York Times later apologized for its delayed interest in the flooding.

    Second, not that many people had flood insurance. Flooding is usually not covered by regular homeowner’s insurance but must be bought separately.

    Before Hurricane Katrina, there were about 360,000 flood insurance policies in Louisiana, according to Louisiana Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon in a story by the Shreveport Times. After Katrina, the number of policies jumped to 490,000 in 2008. It’s at 450,000 now, which only represents about 21 percent of homes.

    About 75 percent of the people whose homes were damaged in the flood didn’t have flood insurance.  Almost half of the people who live in a high risk area in Louisiana have flood insurance, according to FEMA, but only 12 percent outside the high risk zone have it. A high risk zone is defined by the National Flood Insurance Program as an area with at least a 1 in 4 chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage. About a third of homes that flood in Louisiana every year are outside the high risk flood zone, David LaCombe of UDB Insurance in Alexandria told the Shreveport Times.

    When the president declares a major disaster, as he did for Louisiana, the Federal Emergency Management Agency provides a maximum of $33,000 per household for disaster relief.

    “Even if you only have 3 or 4 inches of water in your home, it could still cost you $40,000 to $50,000 to replace the sheet rock, replace the flooring and all that sort of stuff,” LaCombe told the Shreveport Times.

    Louisiana Flood Only 25% of flood-damaged homes were covered by flood insurance - Image via Insurance Journal

    “I think everyone in Louisiana should have flood insurance,” Melissa Becker, assistant director and flood-plain manager for the Rapides Area Planning Commission, told the Shreveport Times.

    After Hurricane Katrina, many businesses and government entities struggled to reach evacuated and missing employees. The hurricane displaced more than a million people, the largest such migration in U.S. history. Infrastructure was destroyed. Total damage cost $108 billion.

    In Louisiana’s flooded area, 22 school districts closed, according to the Washington Post. Some schools are flooded, but the greater problem is finding school personnel. One district superintendent was living in a shelter on August 21, and an estimated 4,000 employees were displaced by the flooding. As of August 22, 2,800 people were still living in shelters in the Baton Rouge area alone.

    We’re just entering the height of Atlantic hurricane season. Right now, Hurricane Gaston is churning about 575 miles east southeast of Bermuda, but is expected to weaken without making landfall anywhere.

    However, two tropical depressions, which could possibly organize into tropical storms, formed Sunday. One is about 60 miles south of Key West, Fla., and is expected to hit Florida and move into the Gulf of Mexico. Another, which meteorologists have been following for several days, formed in the Atlantic west of Bermuda and is on track to bring heavy rain to North Carolina.

    The best thing anyone can do before a hurricane is prepare emergency kits and financial information, have flood insurance and be able to evacuate.

    “You’re still going to have the homes under water," Keim told Popular Science. "You can’t move the homes, but you can move the people.”

     

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  • 5 Reasons Why You Should Be Prepared With Water

    Water is like reliable Internet; you never realize how much you need it until it’s gone. Unlike the Internet, however, water is something you simply can’t live without (shocking, but true). But what do you need water for, anyway? Some uses are probably pretty obvious. There are others, though, that you may not think of until the time comes, and if you don’t have water in that instant, you’re pretty much hosed.

    Here are 5 reasons why you should be prepared with water.

     

    prepared with water

    Drinking

    This is probably the most blatantly obvious reason water is important. We drink to stay hydrated, and when we’re hydrated our bodies function more effectively. We’re healthier and are able to fight off sicknesses and other bodily harm and can even aid in weight loss.

     

    Cooking and Preparing Food

    prepared with waterMost foods you eat require water. Cooking pasta or rice for dinner? Not if you don’t have water. Many recipes for meals and desserts require water. But perhaps you’re planning to rely on your freeze-dried and dehydrated food in your emergency storage if there’s an emergency. Well, you’re still going to need water. Dehydrated and freeze-dried food tastes so much better once it’s been reconstituted (i.e. soaked up water). So if you plan on eating that emergency food of yours, make sure you have plenty of water to go with it.

     

    Gardening

    prepared with water

    Growing your own food? That’s awesome! But depending on where you live, you might not get a lot of rain, so it’s up to you to ensure it gets sufficient water. One way to do this is to install a rain barrel, so when it does rain, you can capture extra water to save for later use. If that’s not an option in your state or community, then you’ll need to store more elsewhere, such as in a water barrel in your shed, garage, or basement (just be careful about drinking said water if it’s not stored in a cool, dark location).

     

    Sanitation

    prepared with water

    Just because there’s an emergency situation going on doesn’t mean you can stop brushing your teeth. And in order to continue practicing good hygiene you’re going to need (drum roll, please…) more water. Ready.gov recommends storing one gallon of water per day per person, which will keep you hydrated and allow for light sanitation. If you want to bathe (which is highly recommended) or wash your clothes (also recommended), you’ll need more than just a gallon of water per person.

     

    Pets

    prepared with water

    Pets tend to be forgotten in emergency preparations (which is why they’re last on this list). But, just like humans, they need to drink water, too. Dogs and other furry creatures can get dehydrated much faster than other animals due to their thick fur. This makes water especially important for your pets during the summertime.

     

    These five reasons for storing water in case of an emergency should hopefully get you thinking about water storage. Each family and individual has unique needs, so tailor this advice to your situation. Remember, though, that when Ready.gov recommends a gallon a day per person, that’s the minimum you’ll want to have. More water is always a good idea.

     

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