Carolyn will be speaking next week, Tuesday May 13th, in Fallon Nevada. Check with your Relief Society president and join Carolyn. This is a meeting for both Fallon Stakes so don’t miss out! Be sure to let her know you read her articles here at Meridian Magazine.
You can survive for days without food but only a very few without water. If you are caught without water what can you do?
About 75% of the human body is composed of water. Your body loses 0.5-1 gallon (2-3 liters) of water each day. This water must be replaced to avoid dehydration, illness, fatigue, decreased mental capacity, and nausea.
To prevent water loss, rest, keep cool, stay in the shade, and seek shelter. Do not wait until you run out of water before you look for more.
Liquids in canned fruits and vegetables are good for cooking. This is one reason we recommend you have canned foods as well as dried foods in your emergency food supply. Peach juice is great for cooking oatmeal. Rice and pasta cook well in the water from canned vegetables.
Fruit juices should be included in every emergency storage plan. They are not only useful for drinking but also adding flavor to foods such as oatmeal and for disguising the taste of medications.
Do not drink sodas, caffeinated or alcoholic beverages in an emergency. They will greatly increase thirst and speed dehydration.
If you have a well that has been flooded, the water should be tested and treated after floodwaters recede. If you suspect that your well may be contaminated, contact your local or state health department or agriculture extension agent for specific guidelines.
Away From Home
Melt snow: Be sure the snow is freshly fallen and clean. Snow should never be eaten as it will reduce body temperature and lead to hypothermia.
Rain water should be collected away from trees or structures, which could contaminate the water. Mylar blankets; new, unused 5 gallon buckets; new unused garbage cans – all work well to collect water.
Disinfect: If you can’t boil water, you can disinfect it using household chlorine bleach. Bleach will kill some, but not all, types of disease-causing organisms that may be in the water. Do not use non-chlorine bleach to disinfect water. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water. Add 1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) of regular, unscented, liquid household bleach for each gallon of water, stir it well and let it stand, covered for 30-minutes before you use it. The water should have a slight chlorine odor. If not, repeat the dosage and allow the water to stand for an additional 15 minutes. If the treated water has too strong a chlorine taste, allow the water to stand uncovered for a few hours or pour it from one clean container to another several times. Store disinfected water in clean containers with covers. As you plan for water needs, be sure to store some household chlorine bleach for treating water.
Boil water to make it safe. Boiling water will kill most types of disease-causing organisms that may be present, such as Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium , which are frequently found in rivers and lakes. These organisms are less likely to occur in well water (as long as it has not been affected by floodwaters).
If not treated properly, Giardia may cause diarrhea, fatigue, and cramps. Cryptosporidium is more highly resistant to disinfecting, and it may cause diarrhea, nausea and/or stomach cramps. People with severely weakened immune systems are likely to have more severe and more persistent symptoms than healthy individuals.
If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for boiling. Boil the water for one minute (altitudes above one mile, boil for three minutes). Let it cool, and store it in clean containers with covers. To improve the taste of boiled water, aerate it by pouring it back and forth from one container to another and allow it to stand for a few hours, or add a pinch of salt for each quart of water.
Distill water: Distillation is an effective process and, what’s more important, it can be done with a lot of improvisation. Distillation is simply the process of capturing steam and then cooling it in another container. As it cools it returns to water form and is completely safe to drink. You can use almost anything that holds water as a boiler, as long as you can direct the steam into a cooler. You can use a long piece of copper tubing, a plastic tube, anything that can be created to direct the steam to another container.
In a worst case scenario, you can distill water with a pot and two pot lids. Boil water in a pot covered with the first lid. Water in the pot vaporizes, and condenses on the lid (this is distilled water). Now replace the lid with the second lid, and turn the first one vertically, so that all condensed water collects at one point, and then pour it into a cup. Meanwhile, more distilled water condenses on the second lid. Tedious but it works. Distillation will remove from water almost anything, even heavy metals, poisons, bacteria and viruses.
However, it does not remove substances that have boiling points at a lower temperature than water. Some of these substances are oils, petroleum, alcohol and similar substances, which in most cases don’t mix with water. All substances removed from water remain in the boiler, so you’ll need to clean it occasionally.
Tablets: Water purification tablets are iodine-based and are specifically made to purify water. They are sold at sporting goods stores, military surplus stores, some large drug stores, and by companies selling emergency preparedness supplies. Carefully follow directions on the package. Purification tablets are for emergency use only, not everyday use. Unopened tablets have a shelf life of several years. Some kits include an additive to help improve the taste and color created by iodine.
In an emergency iodine in a medicine kit will purify water. Use 2 percent U.S.P.-strength iodine (read the label). Using a medicine dropper, add 20 drops per gallon to clear water and 40 drops per gallon to cloudy water. Mix completely by stirring or shaking in a clean container. Allow the water to stand at least 30 minutes, uncovered, before using. Iodine is an antiseptic and is poisonous, so use and store it safely, and only in a real emergency.
Storing Water at Home
Do not store water containers directly on a concrete floor.
Water should be stored in containers that are filled completely to the top.
Water should be stored in a cool, dark location.
Water should never be stored near chemicals, pesticides, perfumed items, or products that may emit toxic gases.
NEVER store water in milk containers. They are too porous, difficult to sanitize, and are easily contaminated.
Label all containers with the words “drinking water,” and with the date you stored it.
Stored water should be rotated every year. The best advice is to choose a date you will rotate your water every year. A good time would be a special occasion that falls during the summer months – birthday, anniversary, the 4 th of July. The old water can then be used to water outdoor gardens and trees.
Train your family in the safe and responsible use of stored water. Be sure they understand the difference between water theycan drink and water stored for flushing and cleaning.
Do not use bottled water that has been exposed to floodwaters.
Store the containers upright in a cool, dry place. Because direct sunlight and heat gradually weaken plastic containers, store them away from heat and light to prevent possible leaking. Water is heavy, so store the containers on a strong shelf or in a cabinet.
A freezer is also a good place to store water for a long period. Freeze water in plastic bottles only; glass will break. Fill containers leaving two to three inches of space at the top to prevent bursting as the water expands and freezes. You probably won’t have enough freezer space to store all the water you will need in an emergency, but storing at least some is a good idea. If you lose electricity, the frozen water will help keep foods in your freezer frozen until power is restored. Foods will stay frozen longer during an outage if the freezer is full so if your freezer is partially empty fill it with containers of water and you will help to solve two problems.
If you don’t already have filtered water bottles for your family order some now from the church at:
These bottles are some of the best and the price is truly unbeatable.
Contact Carolyn at: Ca*****@To**********.com and be sure to check out the daily tips and updates at facebook.com/TotallyReady
Jim JenkinsMay 21, 2014
Thanks for your informative articles. Water knowledge is seriously lacking for most people. Rescue operations for scouts, with injury and even death, have occurred as recently as last year in the West, due to lack of preparedness and water knowledge. I would respectfully differ with you on a couple of points. In warm climates rationing water to two cups per day will not save you. In temperatures above 90 degrees, while hiking or with activity, an average man can lose 32 ounces of water in an hour, but can only absorb 24 ounces per hour even if ample water supplies are being consumed. People with two 20 ounce bottles of water have died within a matter of hours in the desert on a hot day. So your water needs depend greatly upon the climate and activity. The prohibition of storing water in containers on cement floors is an urban myth as far as my research reveals. I have yet to find a scientist who has an accurate assessment of any such problem. If in doubt, place a wooden board on the bottom. Empty two liter pop bottles are an excellent container to store water in, but only if the original content was sugar-free. Otherwise the sugars that penetrate the plastic can foster bacteria over time. Do not use re-purposed juice bottles, since they also have sugar in the bottle walls. Tap water is best to store, since it is treated. The best plan is to make sure that you never are without sufficient water, and to understand that the common thinking on water needs is often grossly inadequate, and can result in heat exhaustion, heat stroke and death, as was the case for an LDS scout leader last year in the Lake Mead area. Also, know the signs of dehydration so that injury can be avoided. Thanks again for increasing people's awareness on this important subject. As an outdoor skills instructor I applaud your efforts.
wtfMay 7, 2014
Well crap. All these years and I've been storing my water barrels directly on concrete. Oh well. Too late to turn back now I guess.