So it’s time. You’re convinced. You know you need to prep…but where do you start? Beginning prepping is like a train. It’s har to get started but once it’s rolling it’s hard to quit! Everyone succesful at prepping has started from somewhere, and that somewhere is usually a bug out bag or maybe a victory garden. For most taking care of your basics is the best place to start, but before you can understand what bacis you will need you should consider the following.
How Long And What For
How long you prep for obviously affects what you stock, and how much of it you stock. So does your reason for prepping. Those getting ready for a economical collapse would have little use for a Faraday Cage, for example. Nor would prepping for a long term senerio with only a weeks worth of water do you much good.
All the things you could possibly prep for is so varied that it’s impossible to cover them all in this article. If you have a particular scenario in mind I recommend you read more about what others are doing to prepare for it and add the extra things you may need to a basic starter plan.
Thankfully determining how long you sould prepare is much easier (sorta). There are a lot of guidelines and well laid out plans for each timeframe. Here are the most popular ones.
72 hours – This is the start for most. Your best bet for any 72 hour event is a Bug Out Bag. Most start here and expand as needed.
2 weeks – At this point you basically want to make sure you have enough water and food to last over and above the contents of your BOB. Most natural disasters fall into this catagory.
1 month – Again, this is mostly more water and food over and above a BOB, but you should also include a way to Cook Your Food and Heat Your Home without power. Get foods that can be easily prepared with very little clean up.
6 months – Now you are into long-term preps. You will want to Build A Stockpile of food as well as Have Enough Water on hand for everyone. Also consider Becoming More Self-Sufficient in case whatever event you are planning for last longer than expected.
1+ years – This is when your best bet is to become self-sufficient and start a homestead. You can stock up on a year’s supply of food, and if you can’t buy any land or live you in a city then this is still your best bet…although I highly recommend you get out of any populated area quickly and Get To Your Bug-Out Location.
If you think you may go a 6 months or more in any sort of SHTF scenario you should sit down and consider all that is required to live a daily life, and the amazing amount of stuff you would need. It would be almost impossible for a single person to do it all. Consider talking to your friends about it and see if you can build a comunity of preppers who can rely on each other in dire times.
This is Part 1 of a Multi-Part Article. Stay Tuned for Part 2. I will link it here when it’s complete.
In part 2 we’ll cover one of the best places to start prepping – Food.
Going into the winderness with a big sharp knife, firestarting tools, a gun, and pleny of ammo so you can play with sharp sticks, fire, and other neato things without the skills to use them is almost asking for an accident. Make sure you a first aid kit with you and the skills to use it. When journeying into the wilderness it’s important to carry a first aid kit along with the knowledge to use it. It’s always a wise investment to take a first aid course, and you can even find free course in your community.
Here’s a few tips for a wilderness first aid emergency…..
First, check if the casualty is in any danger, or will put you into a dangerous position by helping them. Avoid moving a casualty with unknown injuries, unless there is a greater danger in leaving the casualty where he or she is. If necessary, make the area safe, but put your own safety first. Do not move anyone with a suspected neck or spinal injury, unless difficulties in breathing make this necessary.
1. Check breathing
Check that the airway is open and the casualty is breathing. A person who is unconscious has no control over their muscles, therefore, their tongue is the single most common cause of an airway obstruction. The airway can be cleared by simply using the head-tilt/chin-lift technique, see the figure. This action pulls the tongue away from the air passage in the throat.
The Recovery position
Place an unconscious but breathing person in the recovery position- Place the casualty on his or her side, with their uppermost leg at a right angle to the body. Once again, do not move anyone with a suspected neck or spinal injury. Support the head by the hand of the uppermost arm. Tilt the head back to ensure that the airway is clear.
Stop any bleeding. All types of external bleeding, such as open wounds, are treated in the same way- Squeeze together the sides of the wound. Apply direct pressure to the wound with your fingers, or preferably a sterile dressing. In an emergency, an article of clean clothing will do. Lie the casualty down and lift the wounded part above the level of the heart. This slows the bleeding. Bandage the wound firmly but take care not to cut off the circulation to the area. If you suspect that an injury may have caused internal bleeding, the most important thing you can do is to prevent shock from occurring. Urgent medical attention is necessary.
Shock is a condition of general body weakness, and is present in all cases of accidents, to a varying degree. The shocked casualty may feel weak, faint, giddy, anxious or restless. Keep the casualty warm and quiet and give all the reassurance you can.
Wilderness first aid kit
Do not forget to bring your own Wilderness First Aid Kit. Make sure you know what your kit contains and how to use the materials for effective first aid. A good idea is to add an easy-to-read basic first aid instruction book.
Please keep in mind that the information presented here are only general guidelines. There’s no way I could ever possibly cover everything in this article. My intention here is to get your mind thinking and headed in the right direction.
For real medical training TAKE A WILDERNESS FIRST RESPONDER COURSE!!!! Also, please consult a physician, or take a first aid class at a minimum before attempting any of this.
As the global economy continues to tumble, many people across this great country are just now seeing the light and beginning to prepare. For many of these newcomers the question of where to begin is ever present, as well as how to afford all these new expenses. The very reason most newcomers want to prepare (economical troubles) make it difficult to buy the equipment necessary to be prepared, a catch 22. The solution is to start small, as small as $2.75 a day.
$2.75 can’t do much…in fact it’s hard to even buy a cup of coffee for $2.75 now! So how can you buy expensive gear and equipment for so little? Save it! You would be suprised how fast it adds up, and before you know it you can have a nice wad of cash to spend on your preps…with only $2.75 a day.
Let’s assume you save just $2.75 a day, or less than $20 a week. In a year you will have over $1,000 to put into your preps! $1,003.75 to be exact. So what can you do with your newly saved $1,000?
Here are my recommendations
Water ($50)– Minimum 1 gallon per-day
- Store it in bulk – gallons of spring/drinking water are easy to buy, but at $1.00 per gallon they can be expensive.
- Buy several 55 gallon plastic drums off craigslist (about $15 each) and fill them up. Don’t forget a hand pump too ($10)!
- Save soft drink containers, rinse them out and fill with tap water (less than $.05 a gallon), add 3-4 drops of unscented bleach and mark them with the date.
Food ($350)– 1,500 calories per day
- Purchase in quantity what you normally eat. A good idea would be to sit down with a notepad and pen and meal plan for two weeks.
- Remember that there may be no electricity so all food items in the meal plan have to come from the pantry, don’t forget a manual can opener too.
- Next – take that 2 week meal plan and make a list of all items and use that as your shopping list. If you are able to buy 2 of everything listed – that would be a one month supply.
- Do not forget cooking oil (essential fats) that you may need to complete your meal. Don’t forget about spices and other condiments.
- Ramen soup, rice, lintils, and beans are cheap and easy bulk foods.
- Powered milk, honey, and salt should also be on the list.
- Wheat is great, but is harder to find and requires a mill.
- Consider shelf life (aim for at least 1 year out).
- Buy store brands and buy on sale to maximize your available funds.
Light ($30) – Your light in shining darkness
- Pick up a few quality hand crank LED flashlights. [LED will give you long bulb life & super long batttery life]
- Buy a bunch of candles at the dollar store or local discount store, as well as some matches and lighters
- Pick up a hand crank LED lantern, oil lamp, or propane lantern. Your choice. Make sure your propane lantern can be supported without a 1lb bottle (you will be using an adapter hose instead). A simple metal hook, special stand or propane “tree” works well.
- Get extra alkaline batteries for your old flashlights if needed.
Medical/First Aid ($20)– Don’t forget the band-aids
- Make sure you are up to date on all prescriptions.
- Get a decent first aid kit – usually around $5.00 to $10.00 .
- Pick up extra supplies like band-aids, burn ointment, diarrhea medicine, pain killers, triple antibiotic, cold medicine, etc.
Household Supplies ($60)- For cleaning and sanitation
- Basic’s here. Dish soap, toilet paper, a few basic cleaning supplies, bleach.
- Get toiltries such as deodorant, shampoo, soap, hand sanitizer, shaving creme, and razors.
Self-Defense ($250)– Just as important as your supplies
- Think self defence and hunting when it comes to guns. 12 gauge shotgun and a .22 rifle.
- Check out the used gun selection at your local pawn and gun shops. Gun shows are a great place to shop too.
- You should be able to pick up used 12 gauged shotgun as well as some shells for around $150.
- Try to find a decent rimfire like the Ruger 10/22 along with a brick of ammunition for the other $100.
- Alternativly you can also spend your extra $100 on 12 gauge ammo and accessories.
Fuel ($90)– Extra gas & propane
- 10 gallons of gas + sta-bil treatment is running around $35.00 at the moment.
- Getting a 20-lb propane tank filled costs around $15.00.
- Buy an extra 20lb propane tank if you can.
- Buy a 20lb to 1lb adapter hose. They can be had for $15.
Heating & Cooking ($150) - Indoor & outdoor flame
- Buy an indoor-safe propane heater for warmth.
- Get a propane stove burner for cooking.
- Buy a camp grill if you have access to small twigs and leaves to help save your precious fuel.
- Blankets, blankets…….and more blankets. Emergency space blankets too!
- Stock up on gloves and thermal underwear.
- Already have a propane heater? Get more fuel.
Well – that’s our $1,000.00 dollars. Start saving your $2.75 a day and soon you’ll have your very own stockpile to fall back on during tough times.
Remember you can adjust this list to fit your situation. If you already has a gun, then spend that money somewhere else. If you live in the desert, buy more water and less heaters. You get the picture, the same goes for every other category.
So how would YOU spend $1000 in preps? Any thoughts? Comment below and help others.
We are now three to five generations removed from the rural life that helped make America great. We have migrated to big cities and left our self-sustained lives behind. These mega-cities have caused our general well-being to decline, with suicide rates increasing across the world. Crowded conditions and economic problems have led to rampant crime, pollution, and a dog-eat-dog mentality.
You will find that most of these tips will save you money and some will even save you time. The closer you get to true self-sufficiency you will save more and more money. Many find that the money saved alows them to cut down on overtime or even quit work altogether, allowing them to truely be free from the system and to become a homesteader. Saving money comes hand in hand with self-sufficiency and homesteading. Your labor is much cheaper than someone else’s and the money you save from gas and utility bills will go a long way towards paying down debts or buying more equipment for your homestead.
Here’s a list of 52 things you can do to become more self-sufficient. You would be one busy beaver, but you could even try doing one a week and in a year you will be closer to self-sufficiency than you ever thought possible. I recommend you learn the basics of your current project before moving on to the next.
- Plant your own vegetable garden.
- Change your own oil on your car or truck.
- Cut your own firewood.
- Collect and use rain water instead of municiple or well water.
- Supplement your house’s heating system with solar heating panels.
- Supplement your hot water needs with a solar water heater.
- Mulch your garden with local organic mulch instead of store bought products.
- Raise your own rabbits with worm beds underneath.
- Use home-made compost and free manure to enrich your garden’s soil.
- Grow non-hybrid vegetables and save the seeds for next year’s planting.
- Grow potatoes and save the fingerlings for next years planting.
- Use biointensive gardening techniques to grow lots of vegetables in small places.
- Build a greenhouse to extend your growing season.
- Build a root cellar (above or below ground) to store your harvest.
- Start a small orchard for a variety of fruits.
- Learn how to preserve food by canning.
- Raise bees to help pollination and for honey.
- Raise chickens for meat and eggs.
- Raise sheep for wool and meat.
- Raise goats or a dairy cow for dairy products.
- Preserve vegetables by sun drying them.
- Spin wool into yarn for making clothes.
- Make your own furniture out of tree branches.
- Preserve vegetables by freezing them.
- Grow herbs for cooking and medicinal purposes.
- Use edible wild plants to supplement one’s diet (Find a guide for your area first!).
- Use containers to grow vegetables in small places.
- Use chicken manure (composted) to help fertilize your garden.
- Use, use and reuse as much as possible before throwing away.
- Conserve electricity whenever possible.
- Tune-up your own car or truck.
- Sharpen your own tools.
- Build your own home or shed.
- Grow grapes for preserves or raisins or make your own wine.
- Build a pond and raise fish for food.
- Use solar and wind power to supplement your energy needs.
- Learn how to use a welder.
- Use clothes lines to dry clothes instead of a mechanical dryer.
- Grow grains to feed your own livestock.
- Grow alfalfa to return nitrogen to the soil.
- Use a generator for emergency and supplemental power.
- Dig or drive your own well.
- Bake your own bread.
- Do your own plumbing.
- Do your own electrical work.
- Run a small business from your home.
- Barter goods and services with your neighbors.
- Use a push mower instead of a gas or electric mower, or let the goats handle it.
- Use a bicycle (whenever possible) instead of a motorized vehicle.
- Make vegetables a large part of your diet.
- Make your own syrup from Maple trees as a sugar substitute.
- Supplement your diet by hunting game.
Today a friend asked me, ”How long should I boil my water?”. He’s a prepper and a smart guy, but it’s no suprise to me that he’s confused on such a seemingly simple topic. I frequently come upon bad advice on blogs, books and forums about boiling water for purification. It’s something we all need to learn too. Unless you have a treelimb stuck through your leg or a bear staring you down, having enough safe drinking water should be your number one concern.
Unless Your Water Is Toxic, Boiling Water is the Best Method
Boiling kills bacteria, viruses, protozoan’s, and parasites. It does NOT remove chemicals and toxins from the water. Suprisingly not many survivalists cover this side of the conversation. If you’re getting your water out of a perfect mountian stream, then boiling it is probably all you need to do. But if your water source is a large public or private lake or river that collects runoff from cities, then you need a chemical water filter. You’ve got to take the chemicals out of your water before you boil or you will just concentrate them.
Even rain harvested from roofs or plastic lined depressions in the ground may contain some nasty chemicals. Rain can contain a multitude of dangerous chemicals, espeically if you live in or near (read 50+miles) an urban enviroment.
Assuming your water is chemical free, modern filtering devices and the chemical treatment of water are only substitutes for boiling water. The best part is, unlike most survival tecniques, we all know how to boil water and it requires no special tools. This means that boiling water is sustainable, unlike filters and chemical treatment. As long as you have a source of heat and a fireproof vessle of some sort you can boil water.
The Case For A Lid
Whatever pot you use to boil your water in, make sure it has a lid. Boiling water without a lid is a huge waste of resources. Not only is your water evaporating right before your eyes but you are wasting heat as well. Doing something as simple as placing a good fitting lid on your pot can cut the time it takes for your water to boil significantly. Pasteurizing water also works much better with a lid as it traps the heat inside the container for a much longer time.
Commonly Stated Water Boiling Times
I’ve heard so many different amounts of boiling times that it makes my head spin. It sees like most people spout facts based on personal choice with no scientific proof to back it up. Even different government and health organizations cannot agree on a correct time (what a suprise).
The most common stated water boiling times:
- “Boil water for 10 minutes” is what your mama probably told you
- “5-minutes of boiling” is also frequently thrown around
- “Boil the water for 20 minutes”. You gotta be kidding me?
- “A rolling boil for 1 minute”. Getting closer….
- “When at high altitudes you need to boil water for twice as long”. 40 mins?
So which of the above statements are actually true? None!
That’s right. Follow any of the above times and you will waste two of your biggest resources. Water and fuel. Wasting water to evaporation when you’re short on water to begin with is foolish. Whole forests have been cut down for firewood in order to boil drinking water. Weekend hikers and tough mountian men alike have used up the last of their precious fuel to boil water for crazy amounts of time. In a survival situation you cannot afford to waste valuable resources and energy like this
The Correct Water Boiling Time
The correct amount of time to boil water is a whopping 0 minutes. Thats right, zero minutes. None. Nada. Zip. Zero. Read below…
According to the Wilderness Medical Society, water temperatures above 160° F (70° C) kill all pathogens within 30 minutes and above 185° F (85° C) within a few minutes. So in the time it takes for the water to reach the boiling point (212° F or 100° C) from 160° F (70° C), all pathogens will be killed, even at high altitude.
What is not well known is that contaminated water can be pasteurized at temperatures well below boiling, just like milk, which is commonly pasteurized at 160°F (71°C)….
The truth is, with a water temperature of 160 to 165 degrees F (74 C) it takes just half an hour to pasteurize. At 185 degrees this is cut to just a few minutes and by the time water begins to boil at 212 F (100 C) the water is completly safe. I still like to let my water sit in the pot for a minute and cool a bit. This extra time gives the water a little bit longer to pasteurize.
So what about high altitudes? At high altitudes the time it takes for the water to reach a rolling boil and then cool means you can safely drink it. If you live above 2,000- 3,000 ft altitude make sure you let your water sit in the pot (with a lid on it) until it cools before drinking. If you’re making a tea or coffee make sure you let it sit and then reheat it to the desired temperature.
You don’t need a thermometer to measure water temperature either, just take your water to a full boil and then immediatly take it off the heat. Leave the lid on (you do have a lid don’t you?!) By the time it comes to a rolling boil you’ve wasted time, fuel, and water.
When I was a kid I was always in the woods, I practically grew up in them. I was homeschooled and still remember getting up at 5am every morning so I could finish all my work and be in the woods by noon. I admit when my Pa first told me people could eat acorns, I went right out and cracked open one and poped it in my mouth. YUCK! Talk about bitter! I figured only squirrels could eat something that awful. My Pa assured me that acorns are indeed edible, but they need a bit of work before they are ready for the dinner table.
Eating acorns is nothing new. The Indians here in North America ate them, in fact, they still eat them. They ate them whole, turned them into flour, and even made bread out of them. They’re nutritious and plentiful and if you’re afraid of gathering wild edibles for fear of grabbing the wrong plant, I’m sure you won’t have any problem recognizing acorns. All types of acorns throughout the country are edible.
Over the course of history it has been estimated that many more millions of tons of acorns have been consumed by humans than wheat, rice, and other grains. Preparing and eating them is easier than you might think too. You can make alot of different foods with the simple acorn. Believe it or not, there are recipes for acorn cheesecake and acorn enchiladas.
If you’re looking for acorn recipes then check out Suellen Ocean book Acorns and Eat ‘em. It’s 50 pages of great information. It includes a field guide to oaks, along with modern instructions on how to prepare and cook your acorns and various recipes. The California Oak Foundation is hosting a FREE PDF version of her book. Download it, print it, study it. The knowledge inside may save your life one day.
Preparing The Nuts
There are as many ways to prepare acorns as there are nuts on the ground. No matter how you go about it, the goal is to remove the tannic acid that makes acorns bitter. Some people like to remove the shells, some don’t. Some like to boil them, some like to soak them in running water. I shell and boil mine. A fist sized rock works great as a nutcracker, so does a hammer. It can be a bit of work, but there is a great device by Davebuilt Co that will crack and seperate your acorns with the turn of a handle. You can also put them in a burlap sack, pillow case, or even a ziplock bag and gently hit them with a hammer. After I shell them I like to grind the acorns into smaller pieces before boiling. This allows the tannic acid to be leached out more quickly.
Take the ground acorns and put them into a pot of already boiling water. As the acorns boil the water will become discolored. When the water is dark brown (every ten minutes or so), strain out the acorn meats and switch them to another pot of already boiling water. When switching the acorns from one pot of water to another, make sure the water is boiling before adding the acorns. Switching the acorns from boiling water to cold water can lock in the bitterness.
Continue this process until the acorn paste no longer tastes bitter. Generally speaking it usually takes 3 or 4 water changes. The amount of boiling you do will vary depending on your acorns and your patience. When most of the bitterness is gone lay out the acorn paste and allow it to dry.
Another way to leach out tannins from acorns is to put them in a mesh or burlap sack and leave them in a running stream for a week or so. The length of time and results will vary depending on the acorns, the water temperature and flow rate, and other factors.
Cooking And Storage
The wet meal can be used right away in a bread recipe, or dried and stored as flour is. It will keep as long as flour does if kept dry. You can store it in sealed mylar bags placed inside 5-gallon buckets. Don’t forget the oxygen absorbers. Here’s a great guide I wrote on Long Term Food Storage in case you’re curious.
Acorn is a heavy flour and your bread may fall apart if you don’t add a mixture of flours. You may want to mix a lighter flour such as wheat flour with the acorn meal. White flour, corn flour, cattail flour, and soy flour all will do.
One should prepare in leisure for what we may one day have to do in haste. Don’t wait till it’s too late to learn these skills. The acorns are coming off soon, if you have an oak tree in your yard grab a 5 gallon bucket and collect the fallen ones once they have turned brown. Better yet put a tarp or sheet under the tree and the acorns will nearly harvest themselves. It doesn’t get much easier than that!
There are certain climates and geographic locations where finding water will either be extremely easy or nearly impossible. You’ll have to take your location into account when you read the following. My best suggestion? Buy a guide book tailored for your location, be it desert, jungle, arctic or temperate.
Wherever you live, your best bet for finding a source of water is to scout out suitable locations and stock up necessary equipment before TSHTF. With proper preparedness, you should know not only the location of the nearest streams, springs or other water source but specific locations where it would be easy to fill a container and the safest way to get it home. Also note if your water source dries up during a dry period. Some creeks and even large rivers will dissapear after only a few weeks without rain, so make sure you go back and check your sources during these times and note their level and rate of flow.
Preparedness also means having at hand an easily installable system for collecting rain water. This can range from large tarps or sheets of plastic to a system for collecting water run off from your roof or gutters. Adding a gutter system is an affordable way to easily collect thousands of gallons of water just feet from your house. Compared to a well, a rain catchment system is a relatively cheap and easy DIY project. Make sure you install a roof washing system and find a container large enough to outlast your longest dry spells.
Above ground pools are great ways to hold thousands of gallons of water for pennies per gallon. Just make sure you keep them covered to prevent evaporation and alge growth, treat them weekly with chlorine (stock up on 1″ clorine tabs), and either set the pools up in the shade or keep them covered with a tarp. UV rays from the Sun will eat these pools alive in a matter of years.
Once you have identified a source of water you need to have bottles or other containers ready to transport it to your living space or store it long term. Keep your water as cool as possible and never set it in the sun. Alge will begin to grow in your water in just a few days if you leave it in direct sunlight.
If you have an old fashioned oil lamp, the kind that doesn’t use kerosene or petroleum-based lamp oil, then you’re in luck! You can stock up on two preps in one bottle, saving space and money. So what is this miracal prepper item? Vegetable oil! Vegetable oil works great as a fuel, is needed for cooking and frying, and also provides your body with essential fats and oils. Even used frying oil burns without odor and without smudging. Instead of throwing away your used frying oil, save it for your oil lamps!
If you don’t have a true oil lamp you can make one from materials around your house. It only takes about 15 minutes and cost nothing.
For a “lamp” you could use nearly any small glass or metal container, old tuna cans work great for this! Just bend down the lid, lay your wick in, fill ‘er up and you’re done! For a wick you can use a string from an old mop, an shoelace, a tightly rolled up piece of paper, a porous stick, a strip of cotton underwear, jute string, or even burlap. Just experiment to see what works.
If your container needs a wick-holder (some won’t, like a tuna can with the lid bent down) improvise a piece of wire wound around a nail. Its job is to hold the wick up out of the oil. You’ll need to find a way to make it easily adjustable — as the wick burns down, you need to keep feeding a little more, and ideally there would be a way to do this without putting out the light. You can hold the coil with a pair of pliers and push the wick up with a toothpick.
The only down side is vegetable oil won’t work in a kerosene or petro-based lantern. In my expierence the oil would burn for a few minutes, but then the wick would burn down and smolder with thick black smoke. What’s going on is the oil is too thick to draw up these wicks fast enough to keep feeding the flame. They are made for thinner, more fluid oils.
Even a small improvised oil lamp burns at least an hour before the wick needs to be adjusted again. I made mine from unused items sitting around the house, all you have to do is put on your thinking cap and go scavaging. I always threw out my used frying oil but not any more! It’s good to know that we can have some light if we run out of candles and kerosene.
People who depend on a well for their water have learned to fill up up all available pots and pans when a thunderstorm is brewing. What would you do if you knew your water supply would be disrupted for a few hour? Assuming you don’t already have long term water preps (or you don’t want to use them up) here are a few options in addition to filling your pots and pans:
- The simplest option is to put two or three heavy-duty plastic trash bags (avoid those with post-consumer recycled content) inside each other. Then fill the inner bag with water. You can even use the trash can to give structure to the bag. (A good argument for keeping your trash can fairly clean!)
- Fill your bath tub almost to the top. Without a waterBOB Emergency Bathtub Water Storage, you won’t want to drink this water, but it can be used to flush toilets, wash your hands, etc.
- Shut off the breaker to your hot water heater and drain it into buckets and other containers (caution: surprisingly enough the water inside hot water heaters is HOT)
If you are at home, a fair amount of water will be stored in your water pipes and related systems too. To get access to this water, first close the valve to the outside as soon as possible. This will prevent the water from running out as pressure to the entire system drops and prevent contaminated water from entering your house.
Then open a faucet on the top floor. This will let air into the system so a vacuum doesn’t hold the water in. Next, you can open a faucet in the basement. Gravity should allow the water in your pipes to run out the open faucet. You can repeat this procedure for both hot and cold systems.
As mentioned above your hot water heater will also have about 40 gallons of potable water inside it. You can access this water from the valve on the bottom. Again, you may need to open a faucet somewhere else in the house to ensure a smooth flow of water. Sediment often collects in the bottom of a hot water heater. While a good maintenance program can prevent this, it should not be dangerous. Simply allow any stirred up dirt to again drift to the bottom.
They say each person uses seventy gallons a day. That includes, cooking, drinking, flushing the toilet, and showers. During an emergency you can get by with ten gallons a day pretty good except when you wash clothes. For your survival preps you should count on two gallons of water per-person per-day as an absolute minimum. My personal in-home stash has enough water for about 40 days for six people (about 2,800 gallons), I don’t live near a stream but I am in an area where it rains frequently so I collect rain water into large pools.
Commercial gallon bottles of filtered/purified spring water often carry expiration dates two years after the bottling date. A good rotation program is necessary to ensure your supply of water remains fresh and drinkable. You can purchases cases of six one-gallon jugs, which frequently go on sale for just under 50 cents per gallon. The heavy-duty cardboard boxes stack easily and protect the jugs from rupturing.
Personally I’ve drank stuff that would make most people puke, but when you’re in the wild you do what you have to. Dark, muddy, Stale tasting water is still water, just make sure you heat it in a pot with a lid until it starts to bubble. This should kill any bacteria or other baddies in your water source.
Sometimes a bit of green alge will start to grow in bottled water. Most people are grossed out by the stuff but it doesn’t bother me one bit. I consider it free protein. I’m no doctor and I can’t tell you if it’s bad for you or not, but I’m not dead yet either. I do recommend rotating the water in storage tanks every year. If it’s coming right out of the tap then appreciate it while you can and keep your preps fresh.
If you prefer to store your own water, don’t use milk cartons.; it’s practically impossible to remove the milk residue (and taste, ugh!). Plus they split easy and the caps are useless for long term storage. Bleach bottles are recommended by others, but I’ve never used this method and the bleach manufacturers don’t recommend it at all. I stick with PETE bottles myself, but even these leak chemicals in your water over several years (much faster if they get hot). Stainless steel is the best way to store any non-acidic liquid but it is very costly to store large amounts.
If you have a spare refrigerator in the basement or the garage, use PETE water bottles (the kind soda or liters of water come in) to fill any available freezer space. In addition to providing you with fresh, easily transportable drinking water, the ice can be used to cool food in the refigerator in the event of a power failure. I’ve found that these bottles, which are clear and have screw-on caps like soda bottles, will withstand many freeze-thaw cycles without bursting or leaking. (The bottom may distort or pop out when frozen, but this isn’t a big problem.)
For self-storage of large amounts of water, you’re better off with containers of at least 5 gallons. Food-grade plastic storage containers are available commercially in sizes from five gallons to 250 or more. Containers with handles and spouts are usually five to seven gallons, which will weigh between 40 and 56 pounds. Get too far beyond that and you’ll have great difficulty moving a full tank.
15 gallon, 30 gallon and 55 gallon containers used for food service — such as delivery of syrups to soda bottlers and other manufacturers — are often available on craigslist and ebay. After proper cleaning, these are ideal for water storage — as long as a tight seal can be maintained. Make sure you have a good pump on hand for the 55 gallon drums and larger tanks.
For even greater storage capacity you can buy potable water tanks from 500 gallons to 15,000 gallons. These go for about $.50 a gallon on ebay + freight. I store my water outside in large intex easy set pools that have their tops covered and also the entire pool covered with a large tarp to keep UV rays from eating the liners.
I treat the water weekly with 1″ clorine tabs and I keep the pumps running until it freezes in the winter. Obviously these pools are not rated for drinking water but they are fish safe. They are used to raise fish in every day, especially in the Koi community. Fish are much more sensitive to chemicals in water than we are so it’s enough for me to trust it.
Solutions designed to be added to water to prepare it for long-term storage are commercially available. Tincture of Iodine 2% can be added to water at a rate of 5 drops per quart. Let it sit for about 30 minutes, shaking it every now and then. Remember that you should not use iodine if you have any thyroid problems.
Bleach can also be used to treat tap water from municipal sources. Add two to four drops per quart. Give it a shake and let it sit for about thirty minutes. After waiting, dribble a bit of disinfected water on the threads and smell the water. Your water SHOULD smell like chlorine, if not you should add one to two more drops of bleach until you can smell it.
Once you’re in a survival situation where there is a limited amount of water, conservation is an important consideration. While drinking water is critical, water is also necessary for rehydrating and cooking dried foods. Water from boiling pasta, cooking vegetables and similar sources can and should be retained and drunk, after it has cooled. Canned vegetables also contain liquid that can be consumed.
To preserve water, save water from washing your hands, clothes and dishes to flush toilets or water the garden.