Sunday, October 17, 2010

What if you were without power or water?

What if you were without water?
Do you have an emergency water supply? Each person in your home should have ½ gallon of water a day just for drinking. You can buy water bottles or you can refill hard plastic juice containers and 2 liter soda bottles with water and store them. There is no need to add bleach or anything to your water just rinse bottle with water and refill. Containers should be emptied and refilled regularly. Store water only where potential leakage would not damage anything and away from heat and light. The taste of stored water can be improved by pouring it back and forth between two containers before use.

If your water supply is not known to be safe or has become polluted, it should be purified before use. Water purification is generally a two-step process.

Step 1: Clarify the water. Cloudy or dirty water must first be made clear. It may be passed through filter paper, fine cloth, or other filter. It may be allowed to settle and the clear water on top carefully drawn. Filtered or clear settled water should always be disinfected before use.

Step 2: Disinfect the water (two methods)
Boiling Method Bringing water to a rolling boil for 3 to 5 minutes will kill most water-borne microorganisms.
Bleach Method Adding 8 drops of fresh liquid household chlorine bleach (without thickeners, scents, or additives) to every gallon of water will kill most microorganisms.

Do you have emergency sanitation supplies? When there is no water, toilets do not flush. Failure to properly dispose of human waste can lead to the rapid spread of bacteria and disease. To dispose of waste you will need heavy plastic container with a tight fitting lid to use as an emergency toilet. Five gallon paint buckets with storage lids work well. Plastic kitchen garbage bags can be used as liners. After each use, spray with disinfectant. Waste should be buried in a hole at least a foot deep to prevent digging from animals. A supply of soap, hand sanitizer and toilet paper should also be stored.

All other garbage should be kept to a minimum. Wrap all trash in several layers of newspaper and store in large containers with lids.

What if you were without power?
Fans and space heaters powered by a generator can help to keep you cool or warm depending on the weather. Flashlights with batteries stored separately should be on hand for each person in the family.
Storing food that needs little or no cooking is helpful. Outdoor gas grills with either charcoal or propane can aid in cooking when there is no power.

A full freezer will stay frozen up to two days, a half full freezer a day or less. Containers of ice will help to keep things frozen. You can also wrap the freezer with newspaper and blankets to extend the time.