Tag Archives: water filters

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    Water is so vital to our lives and well-being that it’s a number-one concern during emergency situations. It's even more important than food for the first few days when dehydration could set in and cause illness, confusion, and even death.

    You may know this and have emergency water storage. But maybe you have some old stored water that has a strange odor to it—or maybe you aren’t sure that your city’s water supply is really clean. You may have to get your water from an untested source such as a private well or spring, or bring water from a lake or river into your home during an emergency.

    So what are the dangers of drinking untreated water and how can you be sure it’s safe?

    What could be in the water?

    Out hiking or camping, we may come across a cold, running stream with clear, sweet water; it’s safe to drink, isn’t it? Well, it may be—or not. We can’t always see, taste, or smell the tiny pollutants that may be present. There could be anything in the water, from mud and chemicals to animal waste and decomposed matter to microorganisms like viruses, harmful bacteria and protozoans. Many a camper has brought home Giardia as a souvenir from a camping trip, and suffered from the severe digestive upset that results. So how can we avoid getting sick from questionable water sources? There are several ways to filter and purify water that can give you peace of mind about the sources you have access to at any given time.

    Boiling

    Often when a community water supply has been compromised, officials will issue a “boil order,” advising everyone to boil water (a full, rolling boil) for at least one minute before using it to drink, cook, wash dishes, wash the face, or brush teeth. Boiling water from a natural source is effective, too, killing both bacteria and viruses. (This can take longer in high elevations where water boils at a lower temperature.) If you don’t have gas or electricity, either in an emergency or on a camping trip, the boiling can be done over an open fire, on a grill, with a Kelly Kettle, or even in a solar oven set in bright sunlight for six hours.

    Filtration

    There are filters and then there are microfilters—and it’s important that you know the difference. A regular filter blocks the larger (but still tiny) impurities in water, improving the taste and color—but a microfilter can block both impurities and microorganisms that cause illness.

    Katadyn Vario Water Filter from Emergency Essentials

     

    Filters are commonly made of three materials:

    • Ceramic—filters out impurities of 0.2 microns or larger
    • Pleated glassfiber—filters out impurities of 0.3 microns or larger
    • Activated carbon (or charcoal)—which filters out impurities of up to 2 microns.

    For perspective, consider that a human hair has a diameter of about 100 microns, so we’re talking really tiny (but powerful) particles!

     

    Purification

    There are two basic methods of purifying water—UV Purification and Chemical Purification.

    • UV Purification works by killing the microorganisms with shortwave germicidal ultraviolet light. This light (invisible to us) works by disrupting the DNA of the little pests so that they can’t cause illness. UV purifies 99.9% of all microorganisms in just seconds. See our Steripen™ Ultra purifier and our Steripen™ Sidewinder purifier for a couple of great purification options.
    • Chemical purification also kills 99.9% of microorganisms, but it takes a while longer—about four hours. Chlorine Dioxide is the preferred chemical for water purification. Pure chlorine does not kill Cryptosporidium in amounts that would allow the water to be drinkable, nor does iodine, as the Crypto organism is iodine-resistant—but Chlorine Dioxide takes care of it, and improves the taste of the water. (Iodine, even if it worked, would give the water a foul taste.)

     

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    What are the specific microorganisms to worry about, and what works to get rid of them?

    • Viruses (Hepatitis A, Norwalk, Rotavirus) are the smallest particles to worry about (.018 microns); they need purification, not just filtration. They are less common in U.S. natural water sources than in other parts of the world, but they can exist here.
    • Bacteria are .5 microns and up, and include such “bugs” as E. Coli, Salmonella, and Campylobacter. Either microfiltration or purification is effective in getting rid of these.
    • Protozoans range from 2 to 15 microns and include Giardia and Cryptosporidium. Both filtration and purification are useful against these. The EPA reports that 95% of the world’s natural water supply contains protozoan cysts.
    • Turbidity is the name for “gunk” in the water—floaties, waste, insect, dirt, silt, and chemicals. These affect the taste and the drinkability of the water. Filtration is the method to remove the first five, and activated carbon can remove some chemicals, but not all—so that it’s always important to find the cleanest source of water you can before treating it.

     

    Not only is it important for you to store good, clean water, but also to know how to and have the means to filter or purify the water you have at your disposal at any given time, be it from your tap or from a natural source such as a river or spring. Learn more about water filtration and storage in our Water Storage Insight Articles.

     

    Sources:

    www.beprepared.com

    www.water.epa.gov/drink/emergency/safe_water/personal.html

    www.cdc.gov/travel/page/water-disinfection

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: water, water filters, water purification

  • 5-minute Evacuation

    |16 COMMENT(S)

    My wife and I recently celebrated our 18th anniversary at a local bed and breakfast. While eating breakfast we met a very nice lady from Santa Barbara. She is a ballet dance instructor at UCSB and was in town for a regional dance competition. I asked her if the current fires were close to her home, and she said that she had been evacuated the day before. (The fires have completely burned 77 homes and damaged an additional 22. 30,000 people were evacuated and have now returned, but they are to remain ready to leave again at a moments notice.) She said that she was given about 5 minutes to get what she needed and leave– possibly never to return.

    This got me thinking about how can we prepare for this type of emergency. If you were given only 5 minutes to go through your house for the last time, would you be prepared to do so? I asked some of our seasoned employees here at EE what they would recommend doing to be prepared for a situation like this.

    They consistently mentioned the following 3 recommendations (click on the hyperlinks to read more on each topic):

    1) Have a family evacuation plan.

    2) Sustain life by having some type of emergency kit (including water) near an exit.

    3) Preserve and protect your valuables, such as important documents or special family photos. You need to decide what is most valuable to you and your family and then come up with a way to protect it.

     

    Here are some excerpts from a letter we just received from one of our customers:

    Dear Emergency Essentials,

    I just wanted to thank you for your company and the great products you provide. I decided about two months ago that our family should purchase 72 hours of MRE food…It arrived about a week ago. Little did I know the timing couldn't have been better.

    In the past three days we have experienced six fires in our valley. Sunday, we got our 72 hour kit and food ready to go in our car. Monday, half of our ward in Saugus and part of the adjacent Stake in Canyon Country was evacuated. We were only block away from the evacuated area. Luckily our area did not evacuate and the others in our ward were able to go home the same day. But, a few in the other Stake lost their homes. Then later on Monday, another ward in our Stake a few miles away in Stevenson Ranch had to evacuate immediately with a new fire. The fire went by fast and the fire department was able to protect all the homes. Then on Tuesday a fire started just down the road from us, but was put out quickly with two helicopters…

    …It was so comforting to know we had our kit, food and a safe place to go.

    Thank You,

    Laura, California

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: planning, emergency kit, Emergency plan, water, evacuation, evacuation plan, bug out bag, water storage, water filters, documents, photos, valuables, 72 hour kit