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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

  • Health in Hydration: Tips for Avoiding Dehydration

    Health in Hydration

    Dehydration

    Summer or winter, spring or fall, staying hydrated is essential to maintaining good health. After all, water makes up the majority of our body weight. Countering dehydration is the best way to treat it, but before we get into that, let’s take a look at how dehydration can come about.

     

    How Dehydration Occurs

    Sweating, going to the bathroom, and even breathing are all contributing factors to losing water. Basically, the more that leaves your body, the faster you’ll become dehydrated. For example, diarrhea and vomiting can bring about rapid water loss. Hot climates and being physically active will also speed up the dehydration process. When losing water, be sure to replace it with more.

     

    Symptoms of Dehydration

    Dehydration Headaches are one sign of dehydration.

    Dehydration is more than just being really thirsty. Learn these symptoms so you will always know what your body is telling you, and when it’s time to take immediate action.

    • Dry mouth
    • Little/no urine, or darker than normal
    • Headache
    • Confusion
    • Dizziness
    • Fatigue

     

    Dangers of Dehydration

    Staying hydrated has many benefits, which means the adverse is also true. The National Institutes of Health has identified many ways in which dehydration hurts you.

    • Physical performance
    • Cognitive performance
    • Delirium
    • Gastrointestinal function
    • Kidney function
    • Heart function

     

    For more information regarding the dangers of dehydration, you can read the full study here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/

    Some people are more prone to becoming dehydrated than others. The elderly are especially at risk, since as people age, they may not be able to recognize or sense the signs of dehydration. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should also be careful to remain hydrated. Others who are at greater risk of dehydration are people who are exercising, have a fever, or are trying to lose weight.

     

    Tips for Staying Hydrated

    Health in Hydration Dehydration

    The amount of water needed for proper hydration varies from person to person, but Ready.gov recommends about three quarters of a gallon of fluid daily for normally active people. Use that as a baseline and adjust depending on age, health, climate, and physical condition and activity.

    Sometimes you may need to be more conscientious about your water intake. If you find you have difficulties staying hydrated, try out some of these tips from the CDC and FamilyDoctor.org.

    • Don’t wait until you’re thirst – drink water constantly!
    • Avoid alcohol or sugary liquids
    • Keep a bottle of water with you throughout the day
    • Add a slice of lemon to your water – this improves the flavor and can help you drink more
    • Drink water when you’re hungry. Thirst can be confused with hunger, so try water first

     

    It’s more obvious that you need to be more careful about staying hydrated during the hot summer months, but you can still become dehydrated during the colder times. No matter what time of year it is, pay attention to what your body is telling you and take the necessary steps to always remain hydrated.

     

    What steps do you take to remain hydrated?

     

    Health Banner Dehydration

    Katadyn Hiker Microfilter Giveaway

  • Flint is Being Poisoned: Lead in the Drinking Water a Lingering Problem

    Flushing a Fire Extinguisher - Flint Flint's water problem is less than healthy... - via CNN

    Flint, Mich. is in crisis. Its 99,000 citizens haven’t had safe tap water for almost two years because of high concentrations of lead, and it could be months more before their water is safe. The National Guard has deployed soldiers to help pass out water, water filters and filter cartridges, and lead testing kits, and volunteers are going door to door with water.

    The state’s chief medical executive said every child in the city under six years old, an estimated 8,657, should be considered exposed to lead and get tested. Experts say lead poisoning most affects children and has a lifelong impact, leading to lower IQ, learning disabilities, speech and language problems and a higher risk for behavioral problems.

    In short, this crisis could continue for a long time and cost millions – even billions – of dollars.

    And, yes, it could happen to you.

    It didn’t have to happen. In 2014, a state-appointed city manager decided to change the city’s water supply to save about $9.2 million per year. Flint had been getting water from Lake Huron, but in April 2014 it switched to water from the Flint River while waiting to connect to a new regional water system (The new system isn’t ready yet). The river water corroded the city’s old pipes and leached their metals, including lead, into the water. Residents immediately complained about the change and a General Motors engine plant stopped using the water, saying it rusted parts. However, officials said the water was in compliance for safety.

    In September 2015, a group of doctors found a spike in lead levels in the blood of children and recommended Flint residents stop using city water for drinking and cooking. In mid-October, the state agreed to switch Flint’s water back to the previous system. But the pipes were already corroded, so the danger remained. On January 5, the governor declared a state of emergency and asked for federal help for the city. On January 16, President Obama declared it a federal emergency.

    Volunteers Helping Unload Water - Flint A volunteer helps unload water from a truck - via Independent

    The city had started passing out free water to residents. However, as of January 14, distribution was limited to a case per family, or about 3 gallons. FEMA recommends a disaster supply kit contain a gallon of water per person per day, so if a family has more than three people, they need alternate water sources. Many people and organizations are donating water. A list of ways to help is at the bottom.

    The mayor says the city’s pipes may need replacing, at a cost of up to $1.5 billion. But frankly, aging water infrastructure is a problem throughout the U.S.

    The American Society for Civil Engineers (ASCE) in a 2013 report gave the U.S. a D+ grade for its drinking water infrastructure. Some water pipes are 100 years old. Some are made of wood. Many, even some installed in the 1980s, contain lead. The ASCE report said there are an estimated 240,000 water main breaks per year in the U.S. The Environmental Protection Agency estimated it would cost $334.8 billion over 20 years to replace the old infrastructure. ASCE put the cost closer to $1 trillion. And frankly, water distributors don’t have the money. In 2010, Austin Water lost $53 million compared to its budget forecast, according to Circle of Blue, a water news service. The most expensive water bills are usually in places where infrastructure is being improved or water treatment equipment is being installed.

    Bottle Water and Kid - Flint People of Flint have to rely on bottled water - via Flint Journal

    Even functioning water systems have problems. Last August, algae blooms in Lake Erie poisoned the water supply for Toledo, causing hundreds of thousands of people to rely on bottled water for about a week.

    Individuals can help. The Environmental Protection Agency has steps people can take to protect watersheds. They include properly disposing hazardous material like motor oil and pesticides, volunteering for a watershed cleanup, and posting signs and stenciling storm drains with “No Dumping” reminders.

    Emergency Essentials sells many types of water filters. If lead is a concern, make sure that any filter is NSF certified for lead removal.

     

    How to help residents of Flint, from USA Today

    A fund has been established to address the short- and long-term needs of Flint children exposed to lead through contaminated drinking water. Donations can be made at www.flintkids.com.

    Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 39020 Five Mile in Livonia, is asking for gallon jugs of water to be dropped off at the church by Jan. 30. Volunteers will take the donations to be distributed in Flint. Call 734-464-0211.

    Flint Community Schools is accepting cash donations and bottled water. Call the district's finance office at 810-767-6030 about cash donations. Bottled water drop-offs can be coordinated by calling 810-760-1310.

    Donations are being accepted by the United Way of Genesee Count: Visit unitedwaygenesee.org and click on the "GIVE" button. There's an option to support the Flint Water Project. Call 810-232-8121 for details. A new phase for outreach is investment in services to help residents who have been exposed to contaminated water.

    Catholic Charities of Genesee County accepts cash or bottled water donations to aid soup kitchens and warming centers, call 810-785-6911.

    To help Flint community activists who are delivering water: Call Melissa Mays at 810-423-3435.

     

    Disaster_Blog_Banner - Flint

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