So you’ve had to abandon your home or BOL (or was not at it when the fan blades turned brown) and now you’re on the last day of your bug out bag, what now? The first thing you should do is STOP and take a minute to reflect. Check through your bag and see what’s still usefula nd what’s low or gone. For the most part everything inside your bag will last for weeks or even months if it has to. Your firestarter should still be in good shape, your emergency blankets are ok, you still have a tent….but what about your food and water? AAH yes! These are the real dangers. You still have heat, shelter, and light but without food and water, espeically water, you will die all warm and toasty.
Without food you’ll begin to feel hungry and run down in a day or two but you’re still ok for about another three weeks. Assuming you have a destination you’re trying to reach where you can resupply you won’t starve if you make it there in time.
Without water however you’re in much worse shape. You have 2-3 days before your body shuts down and you eventually die on about the 4th day. I have heard stores of people living 5 days, and even 7 without water but the average and the rule of thumb is 3 days.
What To Do
Examine your suroundings and weight your options. If your goal is to get where ever you’re going and you know for sure that you can reach it in 1-2 days, then start marching. Don’t stop except to rest at night. Try to conserve all the water you can by not sweating.
If you don’t have a place to go or you’re more than 2-3 days out for a BOL, then you need to start looking for water. If you’re in the wilderness look and listen for signs of water and head in that direction. Signs can be green spots of vegitation in the distance (you may have to do for it), naturally occuring valleys between hills, or something as obvious as a creek bed.
If your survival senario puts you in an arid enviroment such as a desert you should start planning now for your water, not after the shtf. Have a plan and a place to go and carry enough water to get you there otherwise you will surely die. If possible drive the area now while you can think and plan things out. It may be possible to cache some extra supplies in a hidden spot along your path, but you have to do this beforehand.
If you’re in an urban enviroment (which most will be) remember that there is probably water all around you, although it may not be drinkable. It would be hard to imagine a house without at least one can of pop or a bottle of water somewhere inside. Hopefully you will find someone who can spare a bit.
Spigots on houses (beware the owners), ditches, man made lakes, and swimming pools are all great sources. If all hell has truely broke loose then take refuge inside of an abandoned house and look for water in water heaters, the BACK of toilets (not the bowl), and sink traps. They will all hold some water. Just remember that this water will more than likely be contaminated so filter and boil it first.
Once your water is restocked either hunker down and build a temp base camp until you can locate food, or keep moving to your BOL. If you’re in luck your senario may be over by then and you can begin going back to a normal life. If not I hope you are learning self sufficient skills now as well as basic long term survival.
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.
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.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average US family uses 400 gallons of water per day. Most of that goes to watering lawns and gardens. During a disaster, the grass can die, but the garden will need water. The big question is how much water will you really need post-SHTF.
Some things to take into consideration:
Personal hygiene – Hand washing (is the number 1 way to prevent the spread of disease), brushing your teeth, taking a bath or shower, washing your hair, feet, groin area. All of these are important to help you stay healthy and keep your moral up.
Physical activity – You sweat when you work, so more work means more water requirements.
Pets and live stock – They need water to. The larger the animal, the larger the water requirements.
Garden – In times of drought, the garden is going to need water. Outside of yourself and your family, your garden is your main water focus. You can skip a bath, but you can’t skip watering your main food source.
Some of the big questions are: how many family members and friends will be sharing your water source, how many pets and types of animals will your water stockpile need to support, and how big is your garden.
So How Much Do You Need??
You need, on average, 5 gallons of water per-person, per-day. This includes personal hygene, cooking and drinking water. This does NOT include washing clothes since this should only be done every two or three days unless water is plentiful. You can get a Rapid Washer, A DIY Manual Hand Washing Machine. It’s a great off grid washing system that takes just 4 to 5 gallons of water to wash a load of clothes.
Your garden will need about 1″ of water every week, plants like tomatoes and watermelons require more. To apply an inch of water to 1,000 square feet of garden requires 620 gallons of water.
Your animals vary in their needs so much it’s really hard to say how many gallons you need per day. A cow needs much more water per day than a rabbit or chicken, for example. The best way to tell is to raise your animals for a few weeks and keep logs of how much water you use every day. Most larger animals can be kept watered with a pond, lake, or collected rain runoff. Smaller animals will need their water brought to them and changed every day or every couple of days if you can keep it clean.
Quick Pro Tip - each person should have their own water bottles – and do not share bottles between people. This is to help control the spread of disease. After the bottle has been emptied, leave the cap off and allow the inside to dry. This will help prevent the growth of mold or bacteria inside the bottle.
Nasa is warning that the world could face massive widespread blackouts, travel problems and damage to our power grids beginning in 2012-2013. Coming solar storms could cause a devastating blow to our power grid, causing trillions of dollars in damage that could take up to a decade to repair.
Three years ago The National Academy of Sciences warned that a powerful solar storm could cause “twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina”. They went on to say that the solar activity could completely knock out power grids, GPS navigation, banking and financial systems, air travel, & radio communications. Everyday items such as cell phones, computers and other personal electronic devices will also be damaged.
How can you prepare for such a worldwide catastrophy? There’s not much you can do about the electrical companies power grid (although they are preparing the best they can), but you can prepare your home and family for a super solar storm.
Right now, think of everything in your home that requires electricity. Like our use of water (your well pump, or if you are on city water your water company uses electricty to run their pumps and operate their valves), our dependency upon electricity is staggering. If possible every home emergency plan should include a properly protected solar power system. Even then as a backup (or as a second option) consider stockpiling propane to heat, cook, and cool with. Propane will be the new electricity after a solar storm, but without the infrastructer to keep it flowing your supplies will be limited to what you can store. Having sustainable hardwoods on your property is the only guaranteed source of power you can depend on long term.
Water is an extremely important commodity, as you use it every day for everything from cooking, drinking, bathing and sanitation. You may be surprised by the amount of water required to perform everyday tasks. Take a look at the average daily water usage for some common activities:
- Brushing teeth = 1 gallon
- Washing hands = 1 quart
- Taking a bath = 35-40 gallons
- Taking a shower = 5 gallons per minute
- Laundry = 19-45 gallons
- Washing dishes = 10-15 gallons
Amazing, isn’t it? Post-electricity such wasteful use of water can not exist unless you have an endless supply (lake, river, etc) on hand. If you have no sustainable source of water avaliable, do you have enough clean water stored for your entire family? I recommend you invest in a heavy-duty water barrel made of polyethylene. You can purchase barrels that store 15-55 gallons of water. Store these containers in a dark and cool area, add some bleach (1 teaspoon per 5 gallons), and rotate your water storage every few months for freshness.
Food equals life so it makes sense to store food. Every family has different nutrition and dietary needs, so you may be struggling with finding the right food for your family. Only you know what your family needs, and you are responsible for meeting those needs, especially when a disaster, financial crisis or family emergency occurs. Collect items for your food storage supply now! You could purchase an entire year supply at once, or you could begin gradually to build your emergency preparedness supply by purchasing a few number 10 cans of freeze-dried or dehydrated food a week or month and picking up a few extra cans of food each time you visit the grocery store. I prefer the later option. You can buy an entire years worth of food for $5/week over 52 weeks for one person.
Choose foods your family will eat, and prepare meals from that food storage. Not only will you know what items to buy more of, you will also know how to cook with freeze-dried foods and dehydrated foods.
Communication is crucial during a time of disaster, but since phones and radios primarily rely on electricity, this first link to help and information is often unavailable. In your emergency preparedness supply, you should have a Crank Or Solar Powered Radio/Flashlight on hand, or extra batteries for the one you currently have. You may even consider purchasing several Quality, Long-Range Walkie-Talkies and giving one to each family member. An off grid CB Radio Base Station is also a great way to communicate to others.
Taking survival and emergency preparedness classes is also an excellent idea, and it would be a great family activity. We recommend you and your family participate in a ham radio certification course. Ham radio, or amateur radio, may take a while to learn how to operate, and you must have a license, but during an emergency, this can be one of the only ways to get help.
Build a Faraday Cage
All these neat gadgets won’t do you any good if they get fried too. A Faraday cage is an enclosure of conducting material that blocks out external static electric fields. If the conductor is thick enough, and the holes are smaller than the incoming electromagnetic radiation’s wavelength, then that radiation won’t be able to pass through. This is the reason why phones don’t work in some buildings and lifts, why microwaves don’t cook you when you stand in front of them.
You can make yourself a Faraday cage fairly easy. I’ve included a video below that explains the process. Make sure you ground it properly and store all your precious electronic equipment inside it.
Money And Currency
Almost all modern banking is conducted electronically. While banks have vaults full of ingots and other valuables, your cash actually exists in a database, albeit one that’s backed up in multiple locations across the world, so that a disaster that’s confined to a local area can’t cause too many problems that won’t be resolved by a swift restoration of a backup.
However, that policy doesn’t work for global events. If that database, along with all its backups, gets wiped by a particularly nasty solar flare, then so does your money. Get it out of the bank, and in a safer, more physical place instead. Bury it in the garden, hide it in your roof, or stuff it under the mattress. Just get it out of the electronic database and into cold hard cash.
This is a double edged sword. Have a running vehicle can be a real blessing in a major SHTF situation, however having the ONLY running vehicle in town is like pointing a big red target on your back. If you do choose to keep a vehicle running (a great idea to at least have) then you will need an older vehicle, preferably a diesel. Look for a vehicle before electronic ignitions with a point system. Keep a backup starter, alternator, and solenoid in your Faraday cage and know how to put them on.
Water that is not purified may make you sick, possibly even killing you. In a survival situation, with little or no medical attention available, you need to remain as healthy as possible. And a bad case of the runs can be a death sentence!
Boiling water is the best method for purifying water. It doesn’t require any chemicals, or expensive equipment — all you need is a large pot with a lid and a good fire or similar heat source. Heat the water until it begins to boil, no need to bring it to a complete boil. If your water is of unknown cleanliness and is in plentiful supply, bring it to a rolling boil for about 10 minutes and it should kill common bacteria such as guardia and cryptosporidium. One should consider that boiling water will not remove foreign contaminants such as radiation, chemicals, or heavy metals.
Outside of boiling, commercial purification/filter devices made by companies such as PUR or Katadyn are the best choices. They range in size from small pump filters designed for backpackers to large filters designed for entire homesteads. Probably the best filtering devices for survival retreats and BOL’s are the model where you pour water into the top and allow it to slowly seep through the media into a reservoir on the bottom. No pumping is required.
On the down side, most such filtering devices are expensive and have a limited capacity. Filters are good for anywhere from 50 gallons to thousands of gallons, depending on the filter size and mechanism. Some filters used fiberglass and activated charcoal. Others use impregnated resin or even ceramic elements.
Chemical additives are another, often less suitable option. The water purification pills sold to hikers and campers have a limited shelf life, especially once the bottle has been opened. I considers these good for the car’s emergency kit or a BoB, as long as they are frequently replaced.
Pour-though filtering systems can be made in an emergency. Here’s one example that will remove many contaminants:
- Take a five or seven gallon pail (a 55-gallon drum can also be used for a larger scale system) and drill or punch a series of small holes on the bottom.
- Place several layers of cloth on the bottom of the bucket, this can be anything from denim to an old table cloth.
- Add a thick layer of sand (preferred) or loose dirt. This will be the main filtering element, so you should add at least half of the pail’s depth.
- Add another few layers of cloth, weighted down with a few larger rocks.
- Your home-made filter should be several inches below the top of the bucket.
- Place another bucket or other collection device under the holes you punched on the bottom.
- Pour collected or gathered water into the top of your new filter system. As gravity works its magic, the water will filter through the media and drip out the bottom, into your collection device. If the water is cloudy or full of sediment, simply let it drop to the bottom and draw the cleaner water off the top of your collection device with a straw or tube.
If you have a stash of activated charcoal, possibly acquired from an acquarium dealer or made yourself (post coming soon!), you can put a layer inside this filter. Place a layer of cloth above and especially below the charcoal. This will remove some chemical contaminants and reduce any unpleasnt smell or taste.
While this system may not be the best purification method, it has been successfully used in the past. If you have no water source but a contaminated puddle, oily highway runoff or similar polluted source, the filter may be better than nothing, but it’s not a great option. For rain water or water gathered from what appear to be relatively clean sources of running water or rain catchment systems, the system should work fine. Once the system has been established and works, you must remember to change the sand or dirt regularly.
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.
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.
Aesop’s fable has been rewritten and retold hundreds of times, each time making an example of the grasshopper’s foolishness and applauding the ant’s forethought. It’s worth retelling again here.
There once was grasshopper and an ant who lived in a beautiful meadow, plentiful with seeds and food. All summer long, the ant toiled, scuttling around the meadow collecting leaves and twigs for her home and food for her pantry. The grasshopper, instead of building his emergency preparedness supply, sang and danced through the meadow, living only in the moment and mocking the ant for worrying too much about the future. The warm sun soon dissipated and the harsh winter weather quickly approached, covering the meadow in snow and burying all of the once-plentiful food. The grasshopper found himself alone, cold and hungry. He sought out the ant, knowing she would have food. He begged the ant to let him in, to allow him to partake of her food and warm himself in her home. The ant scoffed at the grasshopper, reminding him how hard she had worked that summer to prepare her supply, while he had played. The ant slammed her door in the grasshopper’s face, leaving him to face the cold and his consequences.
We humans are not born grasshoppers but our socity turns us into one. It is easier to join the swarm of grasshoppers and with all the modern conviences of life avaliable at the flip of a switch it’s easy to assume that switch will always work and life will always go on as usual. We must WORK to become ants, to prepare. That word, WORK, is why more people do not prepare, second only to the fear of being ostracized by their friends and neighbors. Most of us would rather assume things will contine as they are than pick up a shovel and start a garden.
Whether a disaster occurs today or 20 years from now, you need prepare your family for natural disasters, financial crisis or other situations by preparing now. One way to do this is by visiting emergency preparedness stores. You can get alot of ideas just by reading their sales magazines and checking their websites. The Ready Store, Shelf Reliance and Emergency Essentials are quintessential emergency preparedness stores where you can purchase food storage and survival equipment for your basic needs.
So what are the basics every person needs? Let’s look at the Rule Of 3′s. These are the 3 essentials of life and how long you can live without them on average.
- Air – You can live 3 minutes without air
- Water – You can live 3 days without air
- Food – You can live 3 weeks without air
Some other things to consider….Without proper clothing and shelter we can die of extreme tempertures. Without fire to cook our food and boil our water we can become very sick. Without a way to protect ourselves from danger we can be killed. Without proper first aid we cannot heal ourselves.
Store water and food just like the ant, but remember we need a little more. Preperation is key to survival.