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Thread: Survival Preparedness

  1. #1
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    Default Survival Preparedness

    Between natural calamities, terrorists, and NBC warfare, we need to take stock of our supplies and see if we are prudently prepared for surviving for an extended period. I am talking about at home, not on a hunting expedition or such.

    Natural calamities including all events of natural origin and severely restrict travel and the ability to engage in commerce. Thus you won't be able to go to a store and purchase any sort of supplies, let alone do so online.

    Terrorist events are the sort that go beyond the 9/11/2001 WTC event.

    NBC Warfare is of the Nation-State sort, rather than by terrorists.

    Let us set a minimum duration of one month (31 days).

    Don't count on being able to recharge batteries for this.

    Supplies include food and means to cook, light, heat (if needed), water. Defensive items are not included here, as most people have something to fill this function.

    I am mostly prepared. Anyone care to comment??

  2. #2

    Default Re: Survival Preparedness

    Originally posted by Charles Bradshaw:
    Don't count on being able to recharge batteries for this.

    <font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Hi Charles,

    You may be interested in one of these:



    It's called the iSun mobile solar charger, if you live in a sunny climate it can be used to run or recharge small electrical items (radios/GPS/mobile phones etc).

    Power output (in direct sunlight} is rated at a maximum of 2 watts (has 12v and 6v settings)

    An optional battery charger is available which can be attached to the iSun to recharge NiMh or NiCd batteries.

    Here's a pic of the "BatPak":



    May be worth adding one of these to your disaster preparedness kit.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Survival Preparedness

    X-ray, thanks for posting that. I don't need it, but some might.

    One thing that I have used in the past, when living out of tent and backpack, is use a 6 ounce tuna can to hold a votive candle. (no glass to break) Something to use in a pinch.

    I just want people to consider local climate, Geophysical hazards, etcetera, and make some prudent preparations. (just in case)

    I remember the Blizzard of 1978 (26-28 JAN 1978). Its effects lasted well past those dates.

    Unfortunately, with all that is going on in the world, we can no longer prepare for a couple of weeks.

  4. #4
    Glowing admin B@rt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Survival Preparedness

    A strange thought, [img]images/icons/shocked.gif[/img] but why would you want to survive catastrophies like that? What are the long term effects? Is there any fun in living like that?

    Maybe I need some more Prozac...

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Survival Preparedness

    Fun? My favorite cartoonist is Bill Mauldin, a guy that proved, among other things, that people can find entertainment in pretty much any circumstance.

    I wouldn't discount some sort of a defensive capability, either. A story a friend tells is of a neighbor asking him how prepared he was for Y2K. The reply was just "Oh, if it's bad, I'll just come over to your house. I shoot way better than you do." (The answer to the reply was less than flattering...) It would be nearly impossible for a single individual to defend a home, even with a lot of serious preparation, and a serious issue even for a group. Just a heads up, I don't mean to drag this off track.

    Lesse - leaving out defense I have: shelter, water, heat, food, communications, medical, sanitation, travel, plus dealing with whatever issue caused the problem in the first place.

    My rule of thumb is to pick the two worst weather situation you may have in your area, prepare for that, and add extras. In Albany, we're looking at serious winter storm, with blackouts, road closings, etc, for a period of weeks as primary; earthquake or localized tornado as secondary. In some places this would be hurricane (a formidable thing!), flooding, or forest fire. So I have gear to survive for a period of time without any heat at all, and have stuff to provide heat for a prolonged period of time without outside support. This, in addition to water supply and filtration, stored food, and a sanitation plan.

    Oh yeah, and a bunch of AA cells... [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Survival Preparedness

    I don't want to discuss defensive items here.

    I am just saing that we should be prudently and wisely prepared with an extra month's of supplies to sustain each person in your household. That includes providing light and cooking (if needed).

    Looks like your on track, Albany Tom. Work from most likely down.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Survival Preparedness

    Charles. I appreciate your views.

    I had made some few preparations for Y2K, and I learned a lot in the process. After much thought, I decided it's a good idea to do more. Preparedness, I found out, is actually a very complicated thing if you want to do it well.

    As far as lights are concerned, I'm covered [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img] , along with rechargeables. I started looking into and testing various backpacking stoves over the Summer. I've settled on the Trangia 27 alcohol stove. Then there's water, heat, shelter, food, defense, etc. Too long to list and go into detail here.

    One thing I feel strongly about is to incorporate your equipment into your daily life. Use your stuff regularly, and learn how it works, and when and how it fails. No one should buy a bunch of stuff, stick it in a closet, and call that preparation.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Survival Preparedness

    This is a great topic. You're right, Lux, too much to list. Charles - I understand, if for no other reason than to limit the scope.

    How do you like the Trangia? I went through review after review, talked w/ friends, and picked the Optimus Explorer. Runs on anything, works great, but a little heavy. For home use, I've been thinking of getting a Coleman propane and a 20# kit. Now that I've moved, I need to find it again, and make sure it still works.... I have a folding Esbit stove, too, if only for coolness factor. I remember thinking how nice it would be sometimes just to have a hot drink, or hot soup, and that little gizmo will do it.

    I'll add just the somewhat unusual things I do:

    MRE's always seemed bad tasting to me. Because at home I'm not limited much by weight or size, I go with commercial canned food that I find tastey...Spagetti O's, Soups, Beef Ravioli, and I'll even admit Hormel canned turkey and ham. I eat, donate or toss after 6 months. These are great because you can eat them cold. For that, I also keep a stock of disposable paper/plastic utensils and bowls. In an emergency, sometimes you have lots of power, but very little water. I also stock Lipton and other "meal in a bag" things, Ramen noodles, and dry pasta, for when you have heat and water. Cheap, tastey, filling. Did I mention vitamins? [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    I also keep a small "bugout" food kit w/ pop-tarts, cheese crackers, slim-jims, cocoa mix, and other "pre-staled" food, plus a synthetic camp towel, some soap, small roll toilet paper, small first aid kit, 2x dry socks, and spare batteries. This is a supplamental kit of extra supplies.

    I've found 'no-rinse' shampoo is a lie, BUT it does make for a quick shower if you have very little water to rinse with.

    Any great food ideas? Tips to share?

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    Default Re: Survival Preparedness

    I agree with Lux. If you are truly trying to be prepared you need to practice and use what you have. I have actually got my wife to let me shut off our power, gas and water for 2 days straight (I tried to make it romantic, at least I tried). It really makes you think. We are on a well and have a backup genset (but I didn’t use them) to backup my 5kw worth of inverters (I did use them and solar). My point is you should try it and you would be amazed at how many things you will say, "Oh I wish I had...”. To be honest this is why I am in to CCFL's right now, no matter how many flashlights you have, and I have a LOT, area lighting is more important in those situations. If you have children don't forget their favorite foods, it goes a long way to keep them and you happy.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Survival Preparedness

    There are some good ideas developing here. I like to think of it as a camp in. I agree with the idea of using the items you have on a regular basis to be absolutly familiar with them. It is like a free insurance policy. If you have all the greatest "gear" but never use it until the most dire and stressful situation, I would guess most people would not do very well.

    It becomes complicated when you consider a 31 day camp in vs a 2 day power outage. I have learned through trial and error what gear works well for me in providing the basics - Water, food, shelter & fire, and basic first aid. I have been refining my gear and methods for the last 15 years and I still think I would be stressed for a 31 one day camp in at home in the suburbs.

    It looks like I am going to have to think about this some more. Thanks for the ideas everyone. [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

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    Default Re: Survival Preparedness

    There's alot to consider in a topic like this, way too much to list, and it's too late in the night here for me to post a full response of my idea of preparedness but...

    Having directly gone thru the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew I'll say that 95% of the people weren't prepared at all, and the "hot" items to be had were water, cash, chainsaws (to remove large debree from fallen trees and clear paths for ingress and egress), ice, medical supplies, propane (to cook via grills), batteries, fuel for area lighting, gasoline (to forage for supplies in vehicles), toilet paper, soap, disinfectant, canned food, and weapons to defend what you did have left. Make no mistake, the normally law abiding, hard working, but unprepared people with weapons (or without)will definitely try to take from you what they and their families need and don't have. And the "bad guys" will run rampant, just because they can. There was alot happening that wasn't on the news. One quasi-solution was for neighborhoods to band together in a tough, defensive posture with perimeter security and protect and help each other.

    I'm sure I left out alot, but those are some things to consider. You can use your car to charge batteries and run 12 volt items to an extent, if it wasn't totalled and had plenty of gas at the time. It's good to have a motorcycle to get around when cars can't due to debris. Luckily people didn't have to worry about freezing to death, but it was really hot then, and ice was at a premium. It could have been alot worse. And so on....

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    Default Re: Survival Preparedness

    Originally posted by stingray:
    ...snip... You can use your car to charge batteries and run 12 volt items to an extent, if it wasn't totalled and had plenty of gas at the time. ...snip...
    <font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">That's part of the reason that you should really NEVER let your gas tank get below 1/2!!!! If it is, I fill it before I get home

    A recent exception was when I had to pull the gas tank on my truck to replace the fuel pump - I drove it as low as I dared, THEN did the job

    I think I've said it before - you have to plan on 72 hours without outside help - just the way it is!

    Water - figure on at least one Gal/person/day - aka 3 gal/person. Around here it isn't as big a deal, as municipal water is gravity driven (no pumps to fail)

    Meds - Keep a weeks worth of your prescriptions on hand at all times

    Food- NOT as critical as water, but believe me, you'll want it. You'll probably LIVE without it, but...

    A good source for info is the FEMA web site. Go to their independent study section and take the IS-2 course - it'll let you know what the Gov't plans on during emergencies

    I'm probably more prepared than most, and I still have some major weaknesses - Not enough water, I sometimes let food get a bit low (I'd be reduced to eating stuff I don't really like). I don't have a generator, but in 40 years, there have only been 3 blackouts that lasted more than 10 minutes around here. I have NOT made storm shutters for the new house YET, but there has not been a storm that needed it around here for 70 years.

    The BIG threats around here (NYC) are technological (things like chemical spills) plus terrorism, Hurricanes (Folks don't believe me on this, but...) and snow/ice. I'm OK for snow (I laugh when folks have to run to the store because it's going to snow)

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Survival Preparedness

    Mr. Gallo, that is exactly why I brought this topic up at this time. No sense getting caught in the panic driven feeding frenzy at the stores.

    I keep more than 1 month of food on hand, including some Powerbars (nutrition bars). Even nutrition drinks can be used. I find it is a good idea to have foods that you do not need to heat or cook, though they may not taste as good.

    Meds, one thing if you pay for them, another if you are on Medicaid (Medi Cal in CA). If you are caffeine dependent (like me), keep some caffeine tablets on hand.

    Batteries: I prefer to not depend on rechargeables. For that reason, I have been using LED replacement bulbs.

    Gone Jeepin, that is why I called this 'Survival Prepardeness.' I am thinking at home, rather than wilderness survival. It allows more thorough preparation that way. Things that can reduce the stress, are card games and such.

    The absolute worst case scenario here, is a nuclear detonation upwind of this location. In that case, I would be evacuating. Otherwise, mind blowing snowstorm 36+ inches of snow, ice storm, tornado, and possibly earthquake damage (not that likely).

    Toilet paper is one item that can take up alot of physical space, IF you buy normal rolls. You can reduce that by 4, if you get the 1,000 sheet per roll kind.

    We don't need to detail our preparations. Though discussing different ideas is always useful. Everyone who reads this topic, has unique circumstances.

    I live on a monthly basis, so it is easier for me to prepare with extra food and such, particularly for the winter. I have, as extras, Ramen noodles, 9 pounds of dry thin spaghetti, a cupboard full of canned vegetables, canned chilli, pork and beans, etc. I also have plenty of coffee on hand.

    I admit, that I am short on AA batteries, which will be corrected next month. [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

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    Default Re: Survival Preparedness

    Take the cardboard out of the the tp and press it flat...you can carry more in given space. Stick a nail up from the bottom of the tuna can..keeps the candle from moving until the wax is solid. If you heat the nail with your lighter the candle will slide on easier. Paraffin lamps work good for the home..just be careful if you have small children or pets!

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    Default Re: Survival Preparedness

    Canned Tuna and/or chicken goes a long way. High in protein, good for you (except for the roach parts), can eat it out of the can, takes up very little space. I usually have a few dozen cans, that get used or donated and replaced regularly. Don't forget to keep vitamins on hand along with the meds. Obviously a comprehensive first aid kit too.

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    Default Re: Survival Preparedness

    Stingray:

    Roach parts are very high in protein. I've read that various Pacific Islanders make a very nutritious paste from pulverized roaches.

    Better yet, roaches, unlike many insects, aren't know for carrying diseases that afflict homo sapiens.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Survival Preparedness

    some stuff on my wish list:

    A "mr buddy" portable propane heater w/ 20# kit & a battery powered CO detector. Approved for indoor use, and doesn't require electricity. Good enough to keep at least one room warm, maybe several rooms from freezing. (See "water" listed as a requirement, not so much "ice" in NY [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] )

    A new 100AH deep cycle battery. The old one is a bit weak. This I figure will run a couple of LED's and a small radio for about a year.

    A vacuum sealer. I keep pasta, and I really don't want to find bugs in it when I need it.

    During the Mechanicville (nearby) tornado, power was out, but I knew what was going on because I have a battery powered LCD TV. Radio was pretty useless. On weekends many radio stations don't even have a staff present any more, let alone news people. (Yep, I have a weather radio. If I remember correctly their antenna system or uplink was wiped out in the storm.)

    A thought to share - if you're storing tap water, consider that the chlorine they put in it is probably only enough to slow the critters from growing. In some cases, it won't be real tastey or safe after storage. A good camping type water filter is a nice thing to have.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Survival Preparedness

    Water is probably the most important item on the list. No water = no life.

    At 1 gallon per person per day a family of four will need to store 120 gallons for a 30 day supply. How do you store this much water? How do you keep it free of microbes?----Marc

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Survival Preparedness

    Originally posted by Albany Tom:
    ...How do you like the Trangia? I went through review after review, talked w/ friends, and picked the Optimus Explorer. Runs on anything, works great, but a little heavy...
    <font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">A well made alcohol stove like the 27 or 25 (not the Westwind) is very useful. It has no moving parts, so it works every time and requires no maintenance kit. It's also silent, burns cleanly, and you can use isopropyl alcohol in a pinch. This is available at virtually any gas station, supermarket, etc.

    There's no such thing as a perfect stove, so the Trangia has a couple drawbacks. Adjusting the flame is difficult, and the fry pan soots a bit. I've been using work gloves instead of a pot support so I can adjust the flame more easily, but I'd like to find some thin asbestos type gloves. The gloves when packed away with the stove also prevent it from rattling. The soot (which affects only the frypan) can be minimized by mixing in some water with the alcohol, and it just wipes off with a wet paper towel anyway.

    I do have a Primus varifuel stove, an MSR pocket rocket, and a Coleman propane "party grill". I use the propane one at home or for grilling meat on the go. For portability, liquid fuel is the way to go. The pocket rocket is a nice stove, but I wouldn't expect to find butane canisters easily, and they're expensive. So like flashlights, having more than one type of stove is a good idea.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Survival Preparedness

    Originally posted by Albany Tom:
    ...During the Mechanicville (nearby) tornado, power was out, but I knew what was going on because I have a battery powered LCD TV. Radio was pretty useless. On weekends many radio stations don't even have a staff present any more, let alone news people. (Yep, I have a weather radio. If I remember correctly their antenna system or uplink was wiped out in the storm.)...
    <font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">I remember that storm well. It was on a Sunday, and the local stations broke in once in a while with a special report, but otherwise played sports shows. [img]images/icons/frown.gif[/img]

    I actually evacuated my apartment twice, since I lived on the top floor, and there was no basement. The first time, the power went out, and radar had just showed a tornadic cell moving East over Latham. For those of you who don't know, Troy is 5 miles East of Latham. That was the one that demolished Mechanicville.

    Storms started up again around 8pm, and not knowing what was going on (still no power), I sped off East towards VT. I got hammered with the most frequent lightning I have ever encountered (real frequent, and real close). On my way back, I thought I saw a funnel cloud off in the distance, and I learned later that there was another minor tornado in that area and at that time.

    I spent the rest of the evening with no power, no candles or flashlights, and I didn't even have a radio. It was actually this event that spurred me to never be so unprepared again. This was about 5 years ago - before Y2K, and before CPF existed.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Survival Preparedness

    Albany Tom:

    In addition to canned foods and MREs I keep the following on hand as supplements:

    1. Mainstay food rations (5 year shelf life - one person 30 day supply) - does not induce thirst.
    2. Survival tabs (10 year shelf life)

    For water I keep the following handy:
    1. Mainstay drinking water (5 year shelf life - one person 30 day supply)
    2. Water purifiers (iodine or chlorine based).

    Also consider:
    Smoked Salmon
    Salted Beef or beef jerky
    Meat tenderizer

    I am saving up for a solar oven and a water filtration system (pricey buggers).

    Speaking of food... Gotta go have a snack. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    Cheers...

    PS I found the Equipped to Survive site to have some very useful information.

  22. #22
    Glowing admin B@rt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Survival Preparedness

    This might be a solution for the TP problem... [img]graemlins/icon15.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Survival Preparedness

    Bart, preparedness may be routine in the Netherlands. Sadly it is not the case in the USA.

    MREs are fine if you can afford them and have room to store them.

    Even instant rice is good, since it won't hog your fuel for cooking. Canned meats as Stingray mentioned.

    Various cooking options. Even that old fashioned Sterno can be useful.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Survival Preparedness

    I'll have to add that stove to my list...The optimus is nice, and burns methyl alcohol, but not isopro very well. (It does handle kerosene and gasoline, though.)

    Several years ago, one of the outdoor magazines put up a priority list of things to worry about in a survival situation. One of the questions was, "first aid, bleeding or breathing first?". Obviously, stopping serious bleeding is more important, as a person can bleed out in less than 15 seconds, while loss of breathing for that period of time is not fatal.

    Anyway, it goes something like this:

    1. Central nervous system. Time - instant. Moral - avoid large falling objects, breaking your back, etc. Keep physically safe.

    2. Bleeding. Very similar to #1, except having something to deal with serious injuries handy is a nice thing. Also, if you're going to be maybe in a high wind situation, figure out how to keep your windows from killing you.

    3. Breathing. This one covers things like having a CO and smoke detector, and if you can't get out of your place quickly, maybe even a smoke hood.

    4. Hypothermia. This one means shelter, mostly. In the winter, in cold places, keep DRY. Being wet, in the cold, and the wind, will take away your ability to do anything very quickly. See most Jack London stories...

    From here down, we're going from seconds/minutes to days. Time to think, plan, etc.

    5. Water. Pretty much speaks for itself

    6. Food. Ditto, except consider that without water, food may not be such a great idea.

    If you have a condition such as high blood pressure, or insulin dependent diabetes, you'd of course need to figure that into the chart. Likewise, this doesn't cover things like sanitation and communication. An interesting thought is that up until about WWI, disease killed more soldiers, in wartime, than the enemy did.

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    Default Re: Survival Preparedness

    Originally posted by Charles Bradshaw:
    Bart, preparedness may be routine in the Netherlands. Sadly it is not the case in the USA.
    <font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Not arguing there,(I really wouldn't know...)
    Just trying to see the humor in a serious topic. [img]graemlins/winkie.GIF[/img]

  26. #26
    Flashaholic* KC2IXE's Avatar
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    Default Re: Survival Preparedness

    Originally posted by MicroE:
    Water is probably the most important item on the list. No water = no life.

    At 1 gallon per person per day a family of four will need to store 120 gallons for a 30 day supply. How do you store this much water? How do you keep it free of microbes?----Marc
    <font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Don't store 30 days - 3 days + something to purify is about right

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Survival Preparedness

    There are 2 kinds of insulin: injectable (which most know about and requires refrigeration) and pill form, of which Amyril and Glucophage are the most common ones (I take both of these).

    Storing alot of water can be a problem, particularly for apartment dwellers.

    I know some who buy food on a day to day basis and have no reserves, even for 1 day. These people are in denial.

    For the majority of scenarios, 1 week of supplies is usually sufficient. The idea here, is to think outside the box. We already do that with flashlights, so let's extend that a bit. [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Survival Preparedness

    I am no expert but I had looked up some of these issues some time back and here is what I came up with for water storage:

    Drinking water requirements are more modest than a gallon per person per day. One quart (~ 1 liter) per person per day is usually enough to get by unless you are in the desert or are heavily active (translates to 8 Mainstay water pouches or 4 Aqua-Blox'). Hygienic requirements are a different matter. You can get by with a gallon a day as was suggested.

    Store your drinking water separately. If you do not plan to rotate your supply be sure to have purifiers on hand (iodine solution or chlorine tablets). (Edit - neglected to suggest purified or spring water by the case or in 5 gallon containers; If I recall correctly sealed spring water containers can last 3-6 months if stored in cool area; rotate regularly - someone please confirm).

    Edit - Oops forgot water for cooking! Allow an additional quart (minimum) for cooking purposes but this amount depends greatly on what types of food you have stored. If you have the right foods this water becomes backup drinking water!

    For hygiene you may have to be creative. For example use that extra tub (cleaned thoroughly of course [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] ) if you expect an incident. Ideally I would think one should build a lined cistern as a part of a home's water supply (making it an integral part of the plumbing ensures water is rotated and fresh). The problem is that these require regular cleaning/maintenance so can get costly. Again you would need to keep purifiers on hand. I have no idea if such a cistern is acceptable for potable water supplies (still researching it - anyone care to enlighten me?)

    BTW Iodine and chlorine based purifiers are not effective against Cryptosporidium. If this rare protozoa is an issue then you need to boil your water or use a small aperture filtration system (paraphrased from Equipped to Survive).

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Survival Preparedness

    Fill your bathtub up so that you can still flush the toilet when needed. It is possible to get water out of your hot water heater for consumption. Fill plastic milk jugs and 2 liter(or 3)liter pop bottles with water for emergencies. For storing regular tap water, use 4 drops of bleach per 1 quart, 16 drops per 1 gallon and 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons of water. Use unscented bleach with no other additives. Mix and shake well, let set for 30 minutes. Should have a slight bleach odor. If not repeat and wait 15 minutes-should store for at least 6 months, then rotate supply.

  30. #30
    Flashaholic*
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Sunnyvale, Ca
    Posts
    674

    Default Re: Survival Preparedness

    I have been looking at 'Stabilized (Aerobic) Oxygen' for water treatment. Comparative information is dearth. Anyone have experience with this and other methods of water treatment? Iodine and chlorine don't taste so good although 'Potable Aqua' makes a neutralizer to go with their purifier tablets.

    Edit: ledfoot - excellent point about using bleach. Inexpensive and readily available. Keep a small bottle of it handy in case you have to move from your home for any reason.

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