Tag Archives: water

  • When Disaster Strikes and You Are Not Ready: Lessons from the Philippines

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    In the Philippines, power and running water can be gone at the drop of a hat. Trust me, I know from experience. One moment you’re walking down the street under the street lights, the next…darkness. It makes for quite the dangerous walk, considering all the deep holes in the sidewalks (fortunately, I only fell in one hole my entire time there). Having lived in the Philippines for a couple years, I’ve experienced all kinds of things that really opened my eyes to why we prepare for emergencies. One event in particular stands out in my mind.


    The Tropical Storm

    Malaya 2-Rice on RoadIn the fall of 2006, I was living in a small town in the province of Rizal. A single road splits the town in half. On either side of the road, there are a few smaller side streets. A large lake is less than a mile West of the main road. Mountains are just to the East, just after the terraces of rice paddies. It is a rural town, and it’s absolutely gorgeous.


    Malaya-PalayanOne of the downsides to beautiful, rural living, however, is that when a tropical storm comes through, there isn’t much to stop it from wreaking havoc. That November, we were hit by a powerful tropical storm. It knocked out our power and stopped our already unreliable running water.

    We had some backup water, but not much. We couldn’t shower, and our dirty laundry just remained dirty. What else could we do? After just two days the water was back on (hurray!), so we had our showers back and our laundry cleaned, and once again we could run our water through our filters for consumption. The power, however, remained off.

    The Philippines is a hot, humid place, which makes for very unpleasant nights without power. The bedroom in which I slept had no window, and there was only one window in the front room. I moved My bed out there and hoped for a little breeze. Because the power was out, our electric fans were useless. The days were hot, and the nights somehow hotter. What I would have given for some electricity!

    After ten days of sleeping in a hot, stuffy room, the power was finally restored, and while it was still hotter than the sun, having that breeze move across my face while I slept felt – if just for a moment – like the cold, arctic wind. A little electricity can work wonders.

    Unfortunately, all the food in the fridge went bad. Instead of keeping food for days before cooking it, we had to buy food the day we wanted to eat it. Nothing would keep. Fishermen were giving their fish away for free because if they didn’t, it would just go bad.

    A bamboo home near a rice field behind our house was completely washed away by the storm. We knew that family well, and while we were happy that everyone was safe, we were also very sorrowful for their loss. Oddly enough, their neighbor’s home was hardly damaged.

    Even though the storm was too weak to be a hurricane, it still created quite a mess. Streets flooded into homes, tree limbs littered the ground, blocking the road, and damaging property. Food and clean water was in short supply. Cleanup took quite some time.


    Lessons Learned

    Malaya 2-Kitchen We had to collect our water in a bucket, then pump that water through a filter before we could drink it.

    While the experience was less than desirable, it showed how we can be prepared. More than ever, the water filter we used was a life saver. Of course, we always used it, because water in the Philippines just isn’t safe without it. However, after the storm caused floods and stirred the pot, so to speak, the water was even less safe than before. Having a water filter for when the water stops running is, in my opinion, one of the greatest resources you can have.

    Another hot commodity was electricity. Without a way to stay cool, sleep was more than just difficult – it was nearly impossible. I would fall asleep fanning my face with some sort of paper or cardboard, then wake up with a start when the hot, humid air began to suffocate me again. If your power goes out during a hot summer (or a cold winter, for that matter), having a way to stay cool (or warm) can make life a whole lot more bearable.

    Having no power was a pain for more than just sleeping. Not being able to keep food long term was difficult at best. By having long-term food storage, losing power won’t affect your ability to eat. Having extra food on hand would have been a huge benefit to us during this emergency.

    You will never know the extent of damage a disaster will cause until it actually happens. The Philippines is prone to huge typhoons, so we were lucky this was just a little guy. Still, we were affected for over a week without certain things that here in America we tend to take for granted.


    Before the next disaster comes to your neck of the woods, I urge you to prepare your home and family for any scenario. Know the disasters that are prone to your region and prepare accordingly. And if, after a disaster, it turns out you over prepared, then that’s far better than the alternative. I would much rather be over prepared than underprepared.


    Have you ever been left without power or water following a disaster? What did you do?



    Posted In: Planning Tagged With: tropical storm, not prepared, philippines, power, water, disaster

  • A Little Water Can Go a Long Way

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    You'll want more than just a little water here. White Sands National Monument, New Mexico (The Telegraph)

    Dehydration kills, fast. A French couple died this month in hours in White Sands National Monument because they ran out of water. They and their son only took two half-liter water bottles on their hike in the 100-plus degree desert, instead of the four liters per person recommended. Their son survived because his parents gave him two sips for every one they took, according to news reports.

    It just goes to show that a little water can go a long way.

    On average, people need about three quarters of a gallon of fluid daily according to ready.gov. Some need more: children, nursing mothers, sick people, those who are exercising, and people in a warm climate. In very hot temperatures, water needs can double.

    If you keep your head, you can get water in many ways. Here are some of them, from easiest to hardest.


    Store water

    The easiest way to have water after an emergency is to store it before an emergency. The Red Cross recommends a gallon per person, per day, for at least three days.

    Commercially bottled water is the safest and most reliable water for storage. It’s easy to obtain, easy to store and lasts longer than home-bottled water. Just don’t open it and be aware of the expiration dates on the bottles.

    More than just a little water! More than just a little water!

    Home-bottled water can be less expensive and perhaps provide a way to recycle old soft drink bottles. We even have food-grade water storage containers, which makes storing water easy. If you want to re-use old bottles, the Red Cross says don’t use milk or fruit juice containers. Milk proteins and fruit sugars can’t be completely removed. Don’t use cardboard or glass containers.

    To bottle water at home, first clean bottles with dish soap and rinse completely. Sanitize soft drink bottles by swishing around a solution of 1 teaspoon of non-scented liquid chlorine bleach to 1 quart of water. After sanitizing the bottles, rinse them completely.

    Second, fill each bottle with tap water. If your water comes from a well or if your utility doesn’t treat it with chlorine, add two drops of non-scented liquid chlorine bleach to each gallon of water. Check the water after a half hour. If it doesn’t have a slight bleach smell, re-treat it and wait 15 minutes.

    Or, you can use water purification tablets, such as the Katadyn Micropur Purification Tablets. They work best when water is at least 68 degrees, so leave very cold water out to warm, according to WikiHow.

    Use the original cap on the container. Close it tightly, and write the date on the outside of the container. Store it in a cool, dry place. Replace home-bottled water every six months.


    Use hidden water sources in the home

    If a disaster takes place while you’re at home, you have some hidden safe water sources: melted ice cubes and water drained from pipes and the hot water heater, according to ready.gov.

    Do not drink water from toilet flush tanks or bowls, radiators, water beds or swimming pools.

    First, know how to turn off water mains. Broken water and sewage lines can contaminate water coming into your home.

    To drain pipes, turn on your faucet to the highest level to let air into pipes then get water from the lowest faucet in the home.

    To get water from the water heater, make sure the electricity or gas is off, and open the drain at the bottom of the tank. Turn off the water intake valve in the tank and turn on the hot water faucet. Once clean water is restored, refill the tank before turning the gas or electricity on.


    Purify water from impure sources

    A little water to purify and filter

    If you’re out of clean water, the Red Cross says you can treat water from precipitation, streams, or rivers, ponds, lakes, and underground springs. Don’t use untreated water. It can contain deadly germs. Don’t use flood water or water with floating material, an odor, or a dark color. Only use salt water if you distill it first. For those of you on the coast, this could be a good source of water if you have a desalinator.

    First, let suspended particles settle to the bottom of a container or strain water through coffee filters or layers of clean cloth. Then use whatever method you choose: boiling, purification tablets or bleach, filters, UV pens, distiller, or a combination of methods. For a wide range of purification tools, check out our water purification options.

    If you’re concerned about being short of water, follow these rules from survival expert Tom Brown, Jr. in Mother Earth News. Don’t drink carbonated beverages or alcohol. They cause dehydration. So do urine and salt water unless they’ve been distilled. Don’t eat if you don’t have water to drink with it. Limit activity to limit perspiration.

    However, drink what water you have. People have died of thirst with full canteens.

    “Try to store as much water as you can in your stomach,” Brown wrote.

    Because, as we’ve seen from the story about the French family, a little water can still go a long way.


    - Melissa


    What does your water preparedness look like? Let us know in the comments below!

    Posted In: Water Storage Tagged With: little water, thirst, emergency preparations, Dessert, water

  • 3 Reasons Why Water Is Essential for Emergency Storage

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    Why WaterWhen we talk of emergency preparations, we think of food and gear and all those other things that will make our lives feel as normal as possible (three cheers for the portable Bluetooth speakers!). However, there is one resource that you will want to secure as soon as you find yourself in an emergency situation. That resource is water.

    According to The Organic Prepper, there is a “Rule of Three” that applies to survival. The Rule of Three reminds you that you can survive with:

    Three minutes without air.

    Three days without water.

    Three weeks without food.

    So, the first step is to check your breathing. Still good? Great. Now make sure you have water. I find it interesting that, although we as humans can last about three weeks without food, we can only last three days without water. Why, then, do we sometimes forget about this all-important fluid? We worry about filling our basement with emergency food storage (which is awesome, by the way), but we might look over our water storage preparations (which isn’t as awesome).

    In truth, your emergency water storage and preparations should be the first thing you start with. Water is an essential part of any emergency plan. Here are three reasons why water is a great idea for your emergency preparations.


    1. Drinking

    Ready.govWhy Water- Drinking recommends keeping at least one gallon per day per person in order to stay sufficiently hydrated. After all, your body is made up of about 60% water, so when an emergency happens, you’ll want to keep it nice and healthy in order to perform the necessary tasks involved with surviving. That being said, children, nursing mothers, and sick people may need more water.

    Don’t forget pets, either. Just like humans, they need to stay hydrated, too. Just as you wouldn’t take your pet goldfish out of its bowl and expect it to survive, you wouldn’t evacuate with your cat or dog and expect them to do well without the necessary water.


    1. Hygiene

    Why water - HygieneI already mentioned that you should have at least one gallon of water per day per person, but did you note the “at least” part? You should have at least that much, because that’s what you need for hydration and light sanitation. If you intend to stay hygienic as well (which we all hope you do), you’re going to want more water than just a gallon. Practical Preppers consultant Scott Hunt suggests having an extra four gallons of water for personal hygiene.


    1. Health and Well-being

    When we become dehydrated, our body tries to warn us that we need to drink more water by giving us warning signs in the form of discomfort. The Prepper Journal listed these symptoms out: headache, irritability, dizziness, weakness, disorientation, thirst, dry skin, and lethargy. So, if you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms, chances are your body is screaming at you to drink more water. Drinking plenty of water can also improve your skin completion, so there’s that, too.


    While it’s good to be prepared with food and gear, water should be your first priority. Without it, you’ll be in a heap of trouble. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be difficult to begin stocking up with water. Start with a liter here and a gallon there. Make sure you keep your water in food-grade, plastic containers. Milk cartons aren’t the best idea because the proteins can’t be removed effectively enough. Two-liter pop bottles, however, would be a good place to start. Check out our water storage options for other ideas.

    Water is essential in your emergency preparations. Don’t wait until you know you’ll need it. Go out and start preparing today!


    How do you store your water? Let us know why water is important to you in the comments below!

    Posted In: Water Storage Tagged With: well being, hygiene, drinking water, why water, health, water

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