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New Series: Emergency Preparedness Tip of the Month

This is the first in a series of articles on the importance of emergency preparedness. Over the next several months, we will highlight important topics that will help you and your family prepare for the unexpected. Let's do our best to follow the guidance of our Holy Masters and "never forget the possibility of disaster even when times are calm."

 

 

Essential Emergency Supplies: Water

 

Introduction

 

When disasters occur, it can take days, weeks, or even months before life returns to normal. Most emergency officials recommend that citizens store at least a three-day supply of food and water in preparation for a disaster. However, as we've seen from Hurricane Katrina and other events, we may be forced to survive without the help of the local authorities for a much longer period of time. In light of the severe cleansings occurring throughout the world, the acting Oshienushisama recommends that you store enough food and water to last at least 2 weeks, if not longer.

 

In this article, we will focus on water, a resource that can become unavailable very quickly during disasters. Future articles will focus on related topics, such as emergency food and the other supplies that every family should have.

 

A Rule of Thumb

 

As you prepare your family's water supply, keep the following rule of thumb in mind:

 

Store a minimum of one gallon, per person, per day, to cover drinking, washing, bathing, and all other uses.

 

You should adjust the amount of your supply, as necessary, if certain members of your family need more water than the average person. For example, if you have an infant, a relative who is ill, or pets, you may need to store more water.

 

Store your water in a cool location and make sure that the containers are not exposed to sunlight. Check and rotate your supply on a regular basis (at least once every 6 months) and dispose of any water that may be outdated or contaminated.

 

Building Your Emergency Water Supply

 

1. One of the quickest and easiest ways to build your supply is to purchase bottled water. Many grocery stores often have cases of bottled water on sale for as little as $6 or $7. However, keep in mind that most bottled water must usually be replaced after 12 months. If you decide to store commercially bottled water, look for ways to incorporate the consumption of it into your daily routine so that it is not ultimately wasted. As we prepare for emergencies, let's do our best to remember # 9 of the Ten Points: "Avoid waste, and use materials efficiently."

 

2. Another option is to store filtered tap water in "food-grade" plastic containers, which can be purchased at camping stores and various emergency supply websites. While containers of various sizes are available, keep in mind that five-gallon containers, when full, may be too heavy for some people to lift.

 

Before filling the containers, wash them thoroughly with warm water and soap, taking care not to touch the inside of the lid with your finger or to place the lid on an unclean surface. Mark the date that you filled the container and store it in a cool location away from sunlight. If you live in an earthquake zone, store your water in several locations to minimize the chances of losing your entire supply if an earthquake occurs.

 

Establish a rotational system in which you use your emergency water as part of your daily routine. When you need water for drinking, cooking, or cleaning, start by using the container in your supply marked with the oldest refill date. Once that container is empty, fill it with filtered tap water, note the date of refill, and store it with the rest of your water supply. Pull out the next oldest container of water and repeat the process. This routine will ensure that you have a steady supply of fresh water for your family.

 

As you build your supply, please keep in mind that:

 

     It's always a good idea to purify the water you drink by giving it Light.

 

     Filtered tap water must be replaced every 6 months.

 

     Bottles that were originally used to store fruit juice or milk are not sufficient for emergency water storage. Milk protein and fruit sugars cannot be adequately removed and will create an environment for bacterial growth.

 

     You can use rain barrels to store water outside for various purposes such as household cleaning or flushing your toilet. This is sometimes called "gray water." Some members use buckets or empty kitty litter containers to capture water that would otherwise be wasted as they're waiting for their bath water to reach the appropriate temperature. You can also capture water for other purposes this way in the kitchen sink while waiting for the running water to get hot enough to wash dishes, and by letting the running water fill up dishes and pots to soak while starting on washing the glassware and silverware.

 

What You Can Do in the Face of Disaster

 

If you have time to prepare for an emergency, such as an incoming hurricane, fill any available pitchers, pots, pans, and tea kettles with water. It's also a particularly good idea to fill your bathtub, while keeping in mind that the water stored in the tub should not be used for drinking, unless you have a waterBOB (www.waterbob.com) or you can decontaminate the water through boiling or another method.

 

Monitor the news and be prepared to turn off your water valve if the authorities indicate that the water lines have been contaminated. The authorities may also instruct citizens to boil water that is unsafe to drink without boiling.

 

How to Decontaminate Water

 

If you need to decontaminate water during an emergency, the most effective way to kill harmful bacteria is through boiling. While the local authorities may issue special boiling instructions, generally the water should be handled as follows:

 

1. If there is any sediment in the water, filter the water through a clean cloth or fine mesh strainer.

2. Bring the water to a rolling boil for at least one minute. If you live greater than a mile above sea level,
    increase the boil time to at least 3 minutes.

3. Cover the water while it cools and then store it in a tightly covered, clean container.

4. If the water tastes flat, aerate it by pouring it a few times from one container to another.

 

If you can't boil your water, you can use unscented chlorine bleach or tincture of iodine to treat it. Keep in mind, however, that these methods are not as effective in killing bacteria as boiling.

 

As noted in #1 above, filter the water if you notice any sediment or debris. If you're using unscented chlorine bleach, treat the water with 8 drops per gallon. If you're using iodine, use 20 drops per gallon. Double these amounts if you are decontaminating murky or colored water.

 

Mix the treated water and allow it to stand for at least 30 minutes. If you're using bleach, the water should have a slight chlorine odor. If not, repeat the dosage and allow the water to stand for another 15 minutes before drinking. If the water has a strong odor or an unpleasant taste, aerate it by pouring it a few times from one container to another. Store the water in a clean, tightly covered container.

 

Another method of decontaminating water involves solar pasteurization. For more details on this process, see http://www.solarcooking.org/plans/spasteur.htm and http://65.108.108.197/catalog/.

 

Water on the Go

 

In the June 2008 teaching, the acting Oshienushisama urged members to carry food and water with them in the event of an emergency. Nalgene (http://www.nalgene-outdoor.com) makes inexpensive containers that you can use to carry water with you. Another excellent option is to purchase Coast-Guard-approved emergency drinking water, which has a shelf-life of 5 years. This product, which is typically packaged in portable boxes or pouches, can be purchased from many websites that sell emergency supplies.

 

Even if it's not possible to carry water with you at all times, please at least store some water rations in your emergency backpack. You should have a three-day supply of water (16 oz. per day; more in hotter climates), in case you're forced to evacuate with little notice.

 

Other water-purification supplies to consider having in your backpack include iodine tablets, portable camping filters (look for products that filter out both bacteria and viruses), or a SteriPen (a somewhat expensive device that uses UV light to purify water). All of these items can also be purchased from many websites that sell emergency supplies.

 

Conclusion

 

As members of Sukyo Mahikari, it is important for us to be prepared, not only so that we can protect our families, but also so that we can be of service to society. By maintaining an adequate supply of emergency water, you will be taking an important step toward being ready for anything during this critical stage of the divine plan.



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