humanitarian water storage

Water Storage and Purification For Emergencies

Water Storage

Water is not just a simple combination of oxygen and hydrogen molecules.  It’s essential for all life, whether plant or animal, on our planet.  All the living creatures are a part of the water cycle on Earth, which has been taking place in much the same way for millions of years.  Yet we take water for granted until times of natural disasters – then potable drinking water is high on the list of life’s essential items.  This is why it’s important to learn about water storage now while you have time to stock up.

Depending on the source, water always carries dissolved substances like minerals, salts and even gases.  This accounts for the slight differences in the taste and properties of water from different sources. These variations are sometimes insignificant but most of the time what your water supply carries can make the difference between life and death, or sickness and health.

There are many industrial methods to purify water and modify its composition like desalination, filtration, distillation, etc. These impurities can enter water in many different forms through various means. If you suspect the presence of any contaminants in your water supply, please contact local authorities

Chemical Impurities:

Statistic: “In the developing world, 90% of all wastewater still goes untreated into local rivers and streams.”  ( http://www.selmar.it/eng/index.php?op=nws&wh=par&id=511 ).

Polluted waste water

… could be industrial waste which contains extremely dangerous metals like lead, aluminum, chromium and mercury.  Often grey-water (household waste water) can make its way into streams and rivers.  Black-water (or sewage water) can end up in streams or municipal water supplies by seepage from leaking pipes.  Black water carries diseases and excreted medicines like anti-depressants, sedatives  hormones, etc. which can even contaminate aquatic life forms!  Fertilizers and pesticides often contaminate ground water near agricultural land.  Lead pipes used in older homes to deliver water can also deposit heavy amounts of lead in your body. There is also some debate in the medical world on whether chlorination is a safe way of sterilizing municipal water.

Biological Contamination:

streams are contaminatedDiseases like diarrhea, cholera, and pathogens like VTEC, cryptosporidium, giardia, hepatitis and dengue are easily transmitted in contaminated water.  It is estimated that 5 million deaths are caused each year in the US by drinking polluted water.   (Visit water.org  for more facts).   Don’t let the fact that the water is clear and you are in the woods far from civilization fool you.   Parasites from wild animals are naked to the human eye so even a clear rippling stream in the woods is most likely contaminated.   So be very careful when thinking about drinking untreated water.  Better thirsty than dead, or so sick that it takes months to recover.

The safest way to purify water at home is to boil it.  Even this doesn’t kill all the pathogens. Boiling it under high pressure conditions like in a pressure cooker can give you medical grade sterilized water.

Difference in Qualities of Water:

Distilled water

…is water that has been stripped of its natural mineral content. This form of purification is used in coastal areas to make sea water potable (drinkable).  Fully distilled water CAN be consumed but it can also disturb the serum electrolyte balance of the body.  Our bodies NEED minerals dissolved into it in order to preserve the delicate balance of hydration within our circulatiory system and surrounding tissue.   And long term consumption of distilled water can lead to lack of minerals like flouride, magnesium calcium and selenium in the body.

Sterilized water

…is water devoid of all microbial life but the minerals are not removed.  In cases of surgery or cleaning wounds, we want water with NO bacteria or contaminants to prevent infection if exposed directly to the blood stream and tissues.   However we do not have to drink sterile water because the majority of bacteria that is naturally found in water is destroyed naturally by our stomach acid.   It is okay to consume sterile water since the minerals are still present, but it has low levels of dissolved oxygen and a characteristic flat taste.

Emergency Water Supply

According to CDC, in case of a man-made or natural disaster, you should store at least 1 gallon of water per person per day for a minimum 3-day supply. This means a family of 6 needs 18 gallons. Recommendations are to budget 1 gal / day for each pet also, however I take issue with that. I have a 45 lb dog who probably only drinks 3 cups / day, and that’s if I mix it in her food! (she doesn’t like water). Sammy the cat drinks about 1 1/4 cup per day. So you know better than anyone else how much your pet drinks. The point is, don’t forget to set aside water for them too.

Another important point to remember is never drink flood water no matter how great the emergency. Water can be obtained from your household water heater. Liquid from canned fruits and vegetables can be utilized also. You can collect rain water. This might not be a good idea in industrial areas where air pollution can contaminate rain water. Drinking blood, seawater, urine or turbid molten ice is not recommended. Alcohol (beer, wine) is  acceptable in very small quantities only, since it’s action it actually to dehydrate your body. It is not acceptable for young or folks on medications though.

Domestic Purification:

If you have a stream or river or ocean nearby, getting the water will not be a problem. But it’s likely not potable before you treat it somehow. Here are some useful techniques:
 You can filter water through a sack filled with crushed charcoal and sand and then boil the filtered water

The SODIS method is WHO recommended and uses a combination of UV light and increased temperature for disinfecting water using only sunlight and plastic PET bottles. Filled bottles are exposed to the sun. Bottles will heat faster and to higher temperatures if they are placed on a sloped sun-facing corrugated metal roof. This may require hours to days, depending on the weather.”  Resource: Wikipedia.org

These methods will not make sea water potable because of the high sodium content in sea water.  Instead one needs to evaporate the sea water (boiling) and collect the steam on a sloping cold surface held over it.  This collected steam which cools back into water is what we can drink.  This is a method of desalinating or removing the saline (salt) content of the water to create purified drinking water.   Water that is not desalinated, destroys the delicate balance of electrolytes mentioned earlier in this article.  

When considering water storage to prepare for natural disasters, a fast and inexpensive resource is store-bought plastic gallon jugs of drinking water, or cases of Dasani or other individual drinking water bottles.


 

driving while drowsy

The Driving Mistake That Will Kill You – Driving While Drowsy

Driving While Drowsy

The Driving Mistake That Will Kill You – driving while drowsy has been proven to be as dangerous as driving while under the influence of alcohol!

Imagine yourself taking a casual evening walk on your quiet street.  Suddenly, a car drives so fast down your lane that it crashes into a nearby tree.  You’ll likely assume that the driver was intoxicated, and the threat that a drunk driver imposed on your life infuriates you. Wouldn’t you be more sympathetic, however, if you were to find out that the driver was simply falling asleep on the wheel?  In recent surveys, most people do.


Driving under the influence is highly condemned in our society, as it has claimed a number of lives.  Whereas accidents that are caused by sleepiness tend to invoke more empathy than rebuke, and this has caused us to ignore the dangers of driving while drowsy.

Our bodies have millions of involuntary processes that primarily keep us healthy and functional.  For instance when we get tired, the brain sends a signal to notify us that our brain and muscle cells need to rest and prepare for the next day’s tasks.  Sleep is essential, and when we don’t get enough of it, our judgement is impaired to the point of being comparable to drunkenness.   Excessive sleepiness causes some brain signals to be delayed and others are even stopped!  At the same time, driving requires our brain to send signals to our motor neurons and our muscles, and if anything comes in the way of the delivery or reception of these signals,  our driving is impaired and a number of lives could be at risk.

driving while drowsy
http://sleepfoundation.org/

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) was founded to conduct research on the importance of sleep in our day-to-day lives.  Statistics from a study in Australia indicate that going without sleep for 18 hours has the same effect as a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05%. 24 hours without sleep is similar to having a BAC of 0.10%.  When you take into consideration that a BAC of 0.08% has been termed as “legally drunk”, we should be more concerned.

Many people tend to stay up late while working on a school or work-based assignment, even if they have to drive to their respective destinations the next day.  An NSF online poll showed that only 8% of its respondents manage to get more than 8 hours of sleep on weekdays.  Another report on drowsy driving by a Center for Disease Control (CDC) stated that 4.2% of the 150,000 people that were polled admitted to falling asleep while driving during that month.  (Personally I believe if it were worded as “have you had to fight off sleep while driving” the results would be much higher.)  4.2% may seem like a small number- but it was a small poll, and if you were to include all the driving countries in the world, you would be just as worried. The French and English governments have more precise records which indicate that 10%-30% of fatal car accidents have been caused by drowsy driving.  Moreover, the NSF has established that there are more accidents caused by drowsy driving than we know of, due to a number of statistical inconsistencies, some of which are caused by a lack of equipment to test drowsiness.

To avoid being a public hazard, take note of any symptoms of sleepiness while you’re in front of the wheel. Excessive yawning or blinking and short blackouts while you drive are a sign that you should pull over immediately. To be safer, please ensure that you get sufficient sleep before you drive.  Fatigue may be a part of day-to-day life, but it can be just as fatal as drunkenness when combined with driving.

Tips for a safe drive:

1. Get a good night’s sleep the night before any driving trip

 

2. Eat a good breakfast with high protein / carbohydrate ratio for maximum “brain power” and to avoid getting hungry

3. Stay hydrated – an early sign of dehydration is sleepiness

4. Travel with a good all-around first aid kit that you keep in the car, tailored with items you need for your specific medical conditions.

5. Take frequent activity breaks, at least every 2 hours whether you think you need it or not.  YOU DO!

6. Further reading – For A Fun Vacation Stay Safe Don’t Drive Drowsy!

Resources:

 

Drowsy Driving | Major Causes of Traffic Related Deaths ...Drowsy Driving | Major Causes of Traffic Related Deaths …
http://ut.zerofatalities.com/prevention_drowsy.php

An Assessment of Driver Drowsiness, Distraction, and Performance in a …
U.S. Department of Transportation, published 2015, 92 pages

The Slumbering Masses: Sleep, Medicine, and Modern American Life
Matthew J. Wolf-Meyer, published 2012, 288 pages

Baltimore Riots – A Moment of Truth For This Young Man

Baltimore Riots

That moment when your mom catches you rioting in Baltimore and beats your ass live on CNN.

Posted on Monday, April 27, 2015

Mother of a Baltimore Rioter catches son a part of the riot and slaps him silly!Mother of a Baltimore Rioter catches son apart of the riot and slaps him silly!
Mother of a Baltimore Rioter catches son apart of the riot and slaps him silly!

syrian baby rescue

Syrian Baby Rescue From A Bombed Building

Syrian Baby Rescue

The toll of war is – too often, innocent victims pay the price.

This is an amazing story of a rescue – this Syrian baby rescue was totally buried beneath dirt and rubble from a bombing.  Yet they dug her out and miracously she survived.   The story sounds amazing enough but when you watch the actual footage, well, your jaw will drop in disbelief.  Mine sure did!

 

 

1200x630_254910_baby- ...1200x630_254910_baby- …
http://www.euronews.com/2014/01/30/baby-recovering-after-syrian-air-strike-rescue/

 


 

Financial Disaster – Impact of Natural Disasters on Families

Financial Disaster

Principals for Financially Surviving a Disaster

financial disaster

As a financial professional with 7 years of experience in corporate finance and 5 years in the private sector as well as an avid “prepper” with my bug out bag at the ready, I feel it is very important to incorporate a “be prepared” mindset to your finances too.   The impact of a natural disaster on business  and families can reach up into the millions of dollars, so preparing financially can mean the difference between between knowing you have a secure foundation, or completely starting over.  In other words,  setting up a plan to protect your finances from  natural disaster will give you the upper hand in the event of what could otherwise be devastating.  

The term “disaster or financial disaster” is relative to each individual who encounters it. For some Financial Disaster could simply mean not having the funds for a spring vacation or a weekend out with friends at the local pub, but what if there were a significant disaster in which you had to survive with limited resources?  Moreover, how would you sustain during that disaster and pick up the pieces once the disaster has subsided?  There are several types of disasters that could force a person into this position.  The following are some simple rules that can help you to have emergency currency set aside.

5 Ways To Rebound From A Financial Disaster | Bankrate.com5 Ways To Rebound From A Financial Disaster | Bankrate.com
http://www.bankrate.com/finance/personal-finance/5-ways-rebound-financial-disaster-1.aspx

 

Different Types of Disasters

When looking at events that would be considered disasters where a family would need a prepared response financially, there are a few types that will need specific yet sometimes different responses. 

First, there are social disasters.  Social disasters may be defined as war, riots, or attacks from other people. This could even include a cyber attack which in itself can pose a very tricky financial situation. 

The second type is an economic disaster, such as a stock market collapse or economic collapse.

The third is perhaps the one that most comes to mind when the term “disaster” is used, which is natural disaster.  Natural disasters would include everything from tornadoes, wild fires, hurricane, floods, and the list goes on.

5 Ways To Rebound From A Financial Disaster | Bankrate.com5 Ways To Rebound From A Financial Disaster | Bankrate.com
http://www.bankrate.com/finance/personal-finance/5-ways-rebound-financial-disaster-1.aspx

 

Sources for Money Protection

So how do you keep a disaster from becoming a financial disaster?  To answer this question we must look at our own financial structure.  When setting aside money, there are only a few mainstream ways and places in which we can do this.

  • Banks are usually people’s first thought when it comes to the storing and maintenance of money. Banks allow you to easily access your money from multiple places while providing security against theft and other nasty problems that could occur.
  • In addition to banks, you have insurance companies,
  • as well as stock and investment brokerages,
  • and finally we can’t forget cold hard cash.

There are pros and cons to each of these methods of storing money both in every day life and perhaps even more so if you find yourself in a disaster situation.

Cash Is King

In most disaster situations, cash will be king to some extent. If you are solely relying on a business or company to hold your money as well as dispense it, you could be setting yourself up for a struggle. Imagine this scenario: What if there was a terrible storm, the electricity and phone lines are not working, and it could be days maybe even weeks before these utilities are restored. You can’t use an ATM, swipe a credit card or write a check as all of these methods need electricity to some degree.

Now, to be very clear, I am not saying go to your financial institution and take out every last penny you have and tuck it in your sock drawer.  I am simply illustrating why it can be beneficial to have a good supply of cash on hand in case of an emergency. 

You may be wondering “well, how much cash will I need?”  That’s completely up to you. The amount of money someone needs to feel secure varies from person to person.  A good rule of thumb is enough to cover a week to 2 or 3 months of daily living expenses.  Obviously though, the more you have, the more options you can create for yourself.

Also, diversifying where your money is held can be extremely beneficial in a disaster situation.  Remember, in most cases, after a period of time, life will resume as normal after a disaster has occurred, so its usually not the best idea to close all your bank accounts and cash in the old 401Ks . 

Where you should keep your emergency cash reserve is a matter of preference, though you will have more chance for success if you keep bits of cash in a few different places.  For example, if you kept all your cash in your car, and a tornado came through and relocated your car into the next town, then you could end up in quite a predicament.  Feel free to get creative with this.  It is best to hide small amount of cash just  in case one hiding place is compromised.  For instance, if you have a special locked box you store in the basement, you will wish you had chosen a second location when the basement floods.

 

Teach Kids Emergency Finances

 Link directly to this video on you tube

For families with children and/or younger family members, there is a very important task to make sure you complete which is: give them a little education about money.  Schools focus mostly on teaching kids how to count out change but they do not stress the point of financial planning and savings.  That is left to parents and families. 

Parents can also instil their financial values added with superior real life experience;  you can point them in the right direction.  Parents can also teach the kids what they will need to know regarding finances in the situation of separation from a parent during a natural disaster.  The reason is simple, what if you get separated?  Will the younger family members be able to handle that type of financial situation until you are reunited?

Insurance

Insurance will be a valuable asset to own when trying to rebuild after a disaster. This is because insurance is based off principals of indemnification.  Indemnification or “to indemnify” means to make whole after a loss. However, insurance claims can take quite a bit of time to actually get the money in your hand.

There are regulations in each state regarding how long an insurance company has to process a claim.  Also as I’m sure you are aware, you must have the insurance in place before any damage occurs to receive a payout.

Insurance for Dummies: Jack Hungelmann: 9780470464687: Amazon.com ...Insurance for Dummies: Jack Hungelmann: 9780470464687: Amazon.com …
http://www.amazon.com/Insurance-Dummies-Jack-Hungelmann/dp/0470464682

 

Resources:

You can find your states guidelines and other helpful information on your states department of insurance website.  National Association of Insurance Commissioners


Emergency Preparedness

This is a clip from the newly posted article on our  Emergency Preparedness page 

“The possibility of making a an emergency preparedness  plans with your family can feel a bit scary and maybe even somewhat overwhelming.  Its easier to ignore the possibilities of a catastrophic disaster than to look at it face on, and plan for the possibility.    Whether it is a regular catastrophe like the  temporary loss of employment, or some other  reason behind needing your crisis supplies,  you must constantly be building your preparedness stockpile.”

 

 

 

Earthquake

… Interestingly, when asked which poses a greater  immediate threat to life and property, an earthquake or global warming, most answer “global warming”.  But the truth is that global warming is not even scientifically proven, it is still a theory hotly debated among the science community.  Whereas earthquakes happen all the time, all over the world.  And when they do, they may cause catastrophic damage and loss of life.

So what should I do?

On the most fundamental level you should plan to cope without natural gas, electricity, water, and similar essentials.  You might not even have a safe roof to shelter under…

To read this full article click here to be taken to our Earthquake page

 

Emergency Preparedness – What’s The Big Deal?

Emergency Preparedness

Preparing Your Family

For Emergencies

Emergency preparedness According to a recent public affairs poll, 48% of Americans lack the emergency supplies for use in the event of a disaster.  Emergency preparedness for your self and your family allows the sense of security and calmness one gets from being self-sufficient.  In the event of a natural disaster it’s likely you won’t even be able to get to a grocery store and relying on the food you have stocked up on may well be your only choice.  We all remember the disaster that hurricane Katrina caused the citizens of New Orleans, and the devastation that was left in its wake.  People with no access to food or emergency medical help literally died in their homes, and many even in the streets.  Citizens were warned to leave but those who would not or could not were simply not prepared for a storm that size – and many of them did not survive.

The first and probably most immediately noticed disruption is due to an immediate loss of power.  Probably more than any other system, modern civilizations are more dependent on the electrical grid for its sustenance than anything else.  In a sense you could say emergency preparedness begins with asking the question “How will you survive with no electrical power?”  Everything from the coffee we brew in the morning to the furnace that keeps our houses warm is dependent in one way or another on electricity.  Not only convenience gadgets like a can opener but necessities we’ve come to depend on such as lighting and refrigeration depend on a ready supply of adequate electricity.

emergency preparedness Going hand-in-hand with the loss of electrical power, the next breakdown is in the communications systems.  In the event of a natural disaster cell towers either become overloaded with calls or they lose power completely.  Cell phones must be recharged in order to be functional and without power there’s no way to recharge the cell phone.  This means if you find that your cell phone still happens to be charged, it likely won’t be functional because of limited or no cell power availability.   After which the phone will rapidly lose its charge.

emergency preparedness The third critical challenge that families experience after a natural disaster is a failure with the transportation system.  Its human nature that when faced with danger to consider flight, or escaping from the situation, in order to find safety.  The problem is after a natural disaster there is a disruption in the transportation system due to fallout from the disaster which further isolates each family.  Inability to access your vehicle, or unable to navigate roads due to floods or tree limbs & debris from homes, or perhaps even damage to the car all contribute to the breakdown of a viable transportation system.

Once you realize that a sense of security based on our modern conveniences is actually just smoke and mirrors you realize it is no security at all.  Lights, refrigeration, television, radio, furnace, and in some cases even the ability to run water, flush a toilet, or heat food, all are dead in the water without electrical power.  Don’t depend on your cell phone to call for help or even access emergency stored numbers because cell phones will have limited or no use.  In the event your car isn’t underwater or doesn’t have a tree on top of it you likely won’t be able to leave the driveway because of impassable roads.

What it boils down to is your emergency preparedness in advance of disaster may make the difference between you and your family surviving, or perishing the next natural disaster.

Remember, “The only true safety net is self-reliance”.-  Sean Morris

For more informaiion to help you and your family prepare for emergencies, visit Ready.gov