In this continuing series on disaster prep I wanted to talk to you today about an important topic for everyone, WATER. Sure, you might not be thinking about a bottle of Evian when there’s a foot of water in your front yard, but you will be thinking about water very soon in any disaster situation. I just want you to keep the Rule of Three in your mind; it’s something that I was taught in a outdoor survival class a few years ago. The rule is simple: You can last three weeks without food, three days without water and three minutes without air. Oh yeah, and in a pinch you can recycle your urine (you know, drink it) three times before it becomes too concentrated to be ‘healthy’. Just let that stew for a minute before reading on. Sure, it’s sterile, but is that a bridge you want to cross?
Water is an essential element when planning for disasters, because your body needs it so much. In fact, your body is approximately 57% water and much of that water is being cycled through your body daily. It is absolutely essential to survival, especially in emergency situations. During Hurricane Sandy, some residents had no water supply, except for bottled water, for nearly a week. Those that still had water were told to boil it due to possible contamination from sewage.
To make things worse, many were ill prepared. I remember listening to the radio just prior to the storm and the radio host said he had called friends in New York to check in. When he asked if they were ready, they were quick to reply, ‘We sure are! Our iPhones and iPads are fully charged!’ Ahhh, are you kidding me?!?!? Perhaps it’s the NYC mentality (no offense), you know ‘Hey, we’re New Yorkers, we can handle it’. But as with most big storms many that think they are prepared truly are not.
The Red Cross suggests storing as much as a gallon of water per person per day. Yep, that much. This includes 2 quarts to drink and another 2 quarts for food preparation, hygiene, etc. That can be a lot of water for sure. For the average family of 4 that’s 28 gallons of water for the week. But the alternatives could be much worse. The Red Cross also recommends that you never ration water. Drink what you need and try and find more the next day. It is a scary concept to think about. But rationing water can effect your body and mental capacities without you even realizing it.
Finally, when prepping for a disaster, use only bottled water or store water in food grade containers. Like one’s you get at camping supply stores. Recycling milk jugs may not be safe since it’s hard to get the milk’s proteins out of the jug which could then spoil your water supply.
Keep that Rule of Three in mind and make sure your household has plenty of H2O on-hand, just in case.