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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.

     

    Disaster_Blog_Banner prepared with water

  • The Zika Virus at the Rio Olympics and in the U.S.

    Zika is back in the news, with the Rio Olympics, new cases in Miami, and virus fears in Puerto Rico.

     

    Rio de Janeiro

    Zika was one of the greater concerns before the Rio Olympics. Golfers and tennis players dropped out, claiming Zika fears. U.S. soccer goaltender Hope Solo tweeted a photo of her surrounded by insect repellent.

    Once the games started, it wasn’t an issue. “No one here (at least in the beaches of Rio) is concerned about Zika in the least,” wrote Nate Scott, a journalist with For the Win, a subsidiary of USA Today. “And I’ve seen like two mosquitoes since I’ve been here.” Data from the Pan American Health Organization showed almost no cases of the virus in Brazil in late July, and doctors in one hospital in the Copacabana beach area couldn’t remember one mosquito-borne illness since June, according to an Associated Press story. In fact, there’s only been one Zika story: Brazilians have been chanting “Zika” to mock Solo and other U.S. athletes during competition.

     

    Miami

    Zika Plane sprays Zika pesticides over Wynwood.

    A trendy area of Miami is dealing with the first cases of home-hatched Zika in the United States.  As of August 12, 2016, 28 people had been diagnosed with Zika.  All but one contracted it within a one-square-mile area around the city’s Wynwood arts district. In response, the city performed aerial spraying for mosquitoes, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a travel advisory for pregnant women to avoid the Wynwood area. This was the first travel advisory the CDC has ever issued for the continental U.S. The continental U.S. already has seen at least 1,825 Zika cases, mostly related to travel abroad or sex with someone who traveled. A baby born in the Houston metro area died from complications from Zika. The baby’s mother caught the virus while traveling, according to a USA Today story

     

    Puerto Rico In Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, Zika has infected at least 10,690 people, including 1,035 pregnant women, according to a USA Today story. On August 12, the Obama administration declared a public health emergency, freeing money to help the territory fight the virus.  

     

    When it comes to mosquito-borne illnesses, Zika is not exactly the worst of the lot. Eighty percent of patients report no symptoms. It’s a public health concern because of its effects on unborn children. Still, compare Zika to malaria, which killed an estimated 438,000 people in 2015, according to the World Health Organization.

    Since there is not yet a vaccine for Zika, the steps to prevent the virus are the steps to prevent any mosquito-borne illness.

    Start by preventing mosquito bites, suggests the CDC. Spray an Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellent on exposed skin and clothes. The CDC says EPA-registered repellents are safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women when used as directed. Don’t use repellent containing lemon eucalyptus oil or para-methane-diol on children under three, and don’t use any insect repellent on babies younger than two months old.

    In schools inside the affected area of Miami, children may wear long sleeved pants and shirts that don’t match school uniforms, but must apply repellent at home, in case some students have allergies to repellent. The CDC recommends all family members wear clothes that cover arms and legs, even in the heat. Also, cover baby strollers and carriers with mosquito netting. In North Miami, residents complained because broken storm drains contained standing water that mosquitoes breed in.

    The CDC recommends people weekly empty, turn over, cover, or trash items that hold water, like bird baths, pools, tires and buckets. Also use screens on windows and doors and use air conditioning when possible.

    If you have any type of sexual contact with someone who has been to a Zika-exposed area, use a condom or other barrier. If your partner is pregnant and you’ve been exposed to Zika, the CDC recommends avoiding any sexual contact for the pregnancy’s duration.   Health Banner - Zika Katadyn Hiker Microfilter Giveaway

  • Learning to Conserve Water Now Helps Prepare You For Drought

    In 1979’s The Muppet Movie, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew showed off one of the most brilliant water-saving devices ever devised: a “musical rotating rain barrel.” Think of it: simultaneous conservation and outdoor entertainment.

    The western ghost town where he’d set up shop was a good place for it. Of the ten states with the highest per capita water use, nine are in the west. The main reason: landscape irrigation. In western states, which see less rainfall, residential water use averages almost 130 gallons per person per day. In the rest of the United States, residential water use averages about 89 gallons per person per day.

    So, in the west, the easiest way to conserve water is to water less. Lawns only need about a half inch of water per week and less in the autumn and winter. If water’s running down the gutter, you’re using too much. Ready.gov has more tips for landscape watering, including planting drought-tolerant plants and grouping plants together based on how much water they use.

     

    Conserve Water - via American Water Works Association Research Foundation

     

    A dripping tap showing water being wasted - conserve water

    The next-easiest way to reduce water use is to repair leaks.

    “One drop per second wastes 2,700 gallons of water per year,” ready.gov said.

    Often, the repair is as easy as replacing a washer in the faucet. Also check plumbing for leaks and have a plumber repair them.

    The next step to reduce water use is to monitor indoor water use. The average family uses more than 300 gallons of water per day, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. About 70 percent is used indoors.

    The largest indoor uses are flushing the toilet and bathing, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Most new toilets use 1.6 gallons per flush. Older models use about 4 gallons. Either model uses more if it leaks. If you hear water running between flushes, check for a leak. It may be as simple as a loose-fitting stopper in the tank, a truly easy fix. My husband, who is not at all mechanically inclined, recently replaced the stopper in our toilet. It took him about 20 minutes and cost less than $12.

    Faucet - conserve waterLook closely on a faucet or shower head. It will say a number, like 1.0 gpm or 1.5 gpm. That’s the maximum flow – 1 gallon per minute, for example.

    Old show heads allow flow of up to 5 gallons of water per minute. Water-saving shower heads use about 2 gallons per minute, according to the USGS. To save water, replace old shower heads with water-saving ones and take a shorter shower. Also, a full tub of water averages about 36 gallons of water, so take a shower instead of a bath.

    If you have a dishwasher, use it. New dishwashers use 6 gallons of water per cycle, while old ones use 16 gallons. But hand washing dishes uses between 8 and 27 gallons of water, according to the USGS. Either way, scrape food off dishes into the trash. Kitchen sink disposals use a lot of water to run correctly.

    Run full clothes washer loads. Even new, efficient washers use 25 gallons per load. An older washer might use 40 gallons per load.

    The United Nations estimates that in 15 years, at the current rate of usage, the world’s fresh water supply could be 40 percent less than what people need. Parts of the U.S., especially in the west, are in drought now. Others, like Flint, Mich., must deal with human-caused water shortages. The best way to prepare for water shortages is to conserve water beforehand, said ready.gov.

    “If we plan for drought, then we can enjoy the benefits of normal or rainy years and not get caught unprepared in dry years,” the site said.

     

    Drought conserve water

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