72 Hour Kit

FREQUENTLY Asked Questions on Water Storage

Question: How much water should I store?
Answer: Water is your most important supply during an emergency. The amount of water a person needs will depend upon age, physical condition, activity, diet and climate. One gallon per person, per day for drinking, food preparation and hygiene should be stored with your emergency supplies. For example, a minimum of 56 gallons of water should be stored for a family of four for two weeks.

A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Children, nursing mothers and ill people will need even more.

Question: Can water be rationed if supplies are low?
Answer: Never ration water. If supplies run low, drink the amount you need today and try to find more for tomorrow. You can minimize the amount of water your body needs by reducing activity and staying cool.

Try to avoid foods that are high in fat and protein, and don’t stock salty foods, since they make you thirsty. Try to eat salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals and canned foods with high liquid content.

Question: Does our hot climate mean I should store more water?
Answer: A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day; however, hot environments can double the amount of water required. Reduce your activity and stay as cool as possible to minimize the amount of water needed to stay hydrated.

What is the best way to store water?

If possible, purchase bottled water and keep it sealed until ready to use. You can also store water in thoroughly washed plastic, glass, fiberglass or enamel-lined metal containers. Never use a container that has held toxic substances.

Plastic containers, such as soft drink bottles, are best. You can purchase food-grade (FDA) plastic buckets or 55 gallon drums from MBC Inc. Seal water containers tightly, label them and store in a cool, dark place. Rotate water based on expiration dates on bottles or every six months.

What can I do to improve the taste of stored or boiled water?

Stored or boiled water will taste better if you put oxygen back into it by pouring it back and forth between two containers.

What if we run out of water?

There are hidden sources of water in your home. You can use the water in your hot-water tank, pipes, and ice cubes. As a last resort, you can use water in the reservoir tank of your toilet (not the bowl).

How to use water in your pipes: Shut water off to your house. Let air into the plumbing by turning on the faucet in your house at the highest level. A small amount of water will trickle out. Then obtain water from a faucet located at the lowest point in the house.

How to use hot-water tank water: Be sure the electricity or gas is off before draining the hot-water tank. Open the drain at the bottom of the tank. Start the water flowing by turning off the water intake valve and turning on a hot-water faucet. Do not turn on the gas or electricity when the tank is empty.

Be sure to purify water from outside natural sources before drinking it. Avoid water with floating material, an odor or dark color. You should not drink floodwater.

When should the water into the home be shut off?

If you hear reports of broken water lines or sewage leaks turn off the incoming water valve to prevent contaminating the water in your pipes and hot-water tank.

When does water need to be purified?

Water of uncertain purity should be purified before using it for drinking, food preparation or hygiene. Contaminated water can contain microorganisms that cause diseases such as dysentery, cholera, typhoid and hepatitis.

How do I purify water?

There are several ways to purify water and none of them are perfect. The best solution is to use a combination of purifying methods. Before purifying, let any suspended particles settle to the bottom, or strain them through layers of paper towel or clean cloth.

1. Boiling – Boiling is the safest method of purifying water. Bring water to a rolling boil for one minute. Some water will evaporate. Let water cool before drinking.

Boiling water will kill most microbes but will not remove other contaminants such as heavy metals, salts and most other chemicals.

2. Disinfection – Chlorine water purifying tablets or household liquid bleach will kill most microorganisms. Use only regular household liquid bleach that contains 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite. Do not use scented bleaches, color-safe bleaches or bleaches with added cleaners.
Add 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water, stir and let stand for 30 minutes. If the water does not have a slight bleach odor, repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes.

Is there really an expiration date on water?

Studies show sterilized or disinfected water, stored in clean, food-approved containers with secure lids or caps should be safe for use even after many years of storage. Replacement of stored water with fresh water should be necessary only if the stored water becomes contaminated in some way or if the container should begin to leak. Be certain to label each container so there will be no question about its contents. Include the date and information on the method of disinfection used. We recommend changing properly stored water every three to five years.

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Your Emergency Plan is as Easy as C-A-P

What is an emergency? Perhaps the simplest definition is “any unplanned event that causes death, injury, or property damage.”  It has been said that less than 10 percent of people in the United States are prepared for an emergency. Being prepared for an emergency is as easy as 1-2-3, or in this case just remember three things, C-A-P.

“C” stands for COMMUNICATION.  Whether it is your business (check with employees to find out what they think are the essential elements of the business) or home (check with family members to determine what actions are best to protect the family from harm). In addition to communicating within the business and home circle, reach out to community resources such as your local Chamber of Commerce and your insurance carrier to see what advice they have about recovering from an emergency.

“A” stands for ANTICIPATION.  Here in Utah we do not get hurricanes like they do in Florida, but we do have occasional flooding, massive snowstorms, and those of us in the Salt Lake area are aware we live in an area with high potential to earthquakes. Maybe your company is located next to a rail line that carries shipments of hazardous materials. You need to anticipate any possible emergencies that might happen to you or your community.

“P” stands for PREPARATION.  It all starts with an emergency preparation plan, whether you are talking about a family or a company, large or small, one location or many locations. A sufficient plan that will allow you to face any potential emergency is critical to short and long range survival. For a business’s survival, it may be important to cross-train employees, so that is some are cut off from making it to work, other employees can fill in on essential operations. A plan should include an evacuation strategy and a course of action for contacting family members to see if anything is needed until they can return home. Homes and businesses should keep a supply of water and food just in case conditions prohibit people from leaving. Energy bars, electrolyte drinks, or anything that will provide you with basic nourishment for a minimum of 72 hours.

The key to being prepared for emergencies is to remember these three things.  Do this, and your family and/or your employees will thank you when the emergency is over.

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Container Choices for Food Storage

There are three types of containers that are excellent for storage.

The standard five or six gallon plastic bucket is the most common. They come in a variety of colors, some use blue for water for example. These are ideal for storing supplies such as food and non-food items. Examples include: Toilet paper, soap, shampoo, flashlights, batteries, etc. Spend a week or so and jot down what you use. Items that moisture will affect but temperature will not can be stored in the garage or storage shed. Give serious attention to how your family will cope when power is out and plan accordingly, utilizing pails to put books and games in.

There are two types of lids to use with the standard plastic bucket. The less expensive alternative is a lid that you will need a hammer to put on. This seals the contents from moisture and bugs. To remove the contents the lid must be removed with a special device. The other type of lid is a “Gamma” lid. It is a lid that can easily be screwed on and off. Both lids come in a variety of colors.

The second type of container is a specialty bucket. It comes primarily in white. This bucket/pail has a removable lid. It is more heavy duty than the first plastic bucket. In fact, these buckets can be used to dispose of waste if need be.

The last type of container, which continues to gain in popularity, is the “grain vault” type. This container is typically oblong, made of durable plastic, and comes with a screw on lid. All of these are reusable and ideal for food storage. Water storage containers are generally different and we will discuss them next time. Until then, enjoy practicing self-reliance and getting prepared.

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Water Storage for a Rainy Day

Fact: People can live without food longer than without water. Fact: Drinking water can be stored for long periods of time. Fiction: If there is an emergency, there is enough bottled water in local stores to handle the need. Fiction: The chances of you needing safe drinking water is less than average because natural disasters happen in other parts of the country, not here.

Why do survivalists say water is step one in emergency preparedness? Simple, for many natural or man-made disasters, safe drinking water may become a rare, priceless commodity. Having enough drinking water will, at a minimum, save you and your loved ones from unpleasant side effects, and best case, save lives.

For some, Emergency Preparedness feels overwhelming. Just wrapping our minds about needing water, food, first aid, etc. brings up uncomfortable feelings. While there is no scientific evidence indicating the world is going to come to an end in 2012, there is plenty of evidence to indicating natural and man-made disasters happen all the time, and so does the need to set some things aside for a rainy day. Rain happens. So where do you begin?
The easiest way of getting prepared is to pick up some commercially prepared water. Whether it is distilled, spring, or plain old bottled water, it does not matter. What matters is that you have enough. Minimum requirements: One gallon of water, per person, per day for three days. (Formula: 1g/p/dx3) It’s easy to pick up an extra case of water (which by the way can be stored for at least five years) and put it in your basement or in some out of the way place. Remember, if you have pets, they will need water as well. AND it is “smart” to set a little extra aside because you never know what or who might drop by and for how long.

Next, now that you have set yourself up for success for a 72 hour period, consider adding enough water for a long term emergency. Sometimes it takes weeks, even months, before everything turns back to normal. While water heaters, toilets, pipes, etc. can and will provide some water (as could rain water, rivers, lakes, streams), we suggest picking up a 30 or 55 gallon drum or two for water storage. Another option are 5 gallon pails for water.

Lastly, unless the water is from a sealed container, it is important to keep in mind that it is not always safe, regardless where it comes from. It is important to learn how to disinfect drinking water, especially any water that comes from a questionable source. To disinfect the water, simply boil it for about three minutes. There are commercially available treatment solutions and chlorine bleach (concentration depends on the number of gallons being disinfected), which can kill all dangerous organisms that may be present. Emergency Preparedness, its easy.

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What to Pack to be Prepared in a Disaster? “‘da List”

Think of emergency preparedness as if you are going on a trip. Once we make a decision to go on a trip, we sometimes make a list of what we are going to bring. Your 72 hour kit is THAT list. Here are some suggestions:

Water – at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 to 7 days.

Food – at least enough for 3 to 7 days — non-perishable packaged or canned food/juices — snack foods — non-electric can opener — cooking tools/fuel — plates/utensils – If needed: Extra powdered milk and food for infants and elderly.

Blankets/Pillows, (sleeping bags?) etc. It is important to be as comfortable as possible.

Clothing – seasonal / rain gear / sturdy shoes

First Aid Kit / Medicines / Prescription Drugs (check dates)

Tools – keep a set with you during the storm

Toiletries / Hygiene items / Moisture wipes (toilet paper has lots of uses)

Flashlight/Batteries (It is a good idea to pack extra batteries)

Radio – Battery operated and NOAA weather radio (Hand crank is a good option as well)

Telephones – Fully charged cell phone (car charger may be a resource) with extra battery and a traditional (not cordless) telephone set.

Cash (with some small bills) and Credit Cards – Banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods.

Keys

Toys, Books and Games (playing cards, crayons if you have children, puzzles, etc.)

Important documents – in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag — insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.

Vehicle fuel tanks filled (If possible have an extra 55 gallon drum or two of fuel stored in the garage)

Special Items – for babies and the elderly (if needed)

Pet care items — proper identification/immunization records/ medications — ample supply of food and water — a carrier or cage — muzzle and leash

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Course 101: What to do in an emergency?

Emergencies come in all shapes and sizes and they can be devastating. The impact on roadways, power stations, water plants, and water sewage treatment plants can turn the “normal routine” upside down for hours, days, even months and years. Having fires with no water to fight them or local EMTs so swamped that there are no professionally trained people to assist in an emergency is no laughing matter.

Emergencies happen without warning. There is no time to think. Whether it be a natural disaster such as an earthquake (44 of the 50 states are earthquake prone) or severe weather, or a man made disaster caused by equipment failure, such as a power outage, it is important to be prepared. By thinking, planning, and preparing ahead of time, one is able to respond quickly and calmly. The benefits of being prepared are numerous: lives are saved, injuries are prevented, and property damages are reduced. It is easier to “bounce back” from an emergency. Lets review some basics to emergency response for various disasters.

How one responds vary depending on the type of emergency. A medical emergency is the most common. Getting proper first aid training helps one determine how to quickly assess a situation calmly and with control. It also reduces the fear that often comes up when one is in an unfamiliar situation. First and foremost always keep yourself safe. People are the number one priority. Be prepared to assist others as to the location and type of emergency. Dialing 9-1-1 may be all you can do.

For weather emergencies, stay out of harms way by seeking shelter. Stay inside and clear of falling debris. “Duck, cover and hold” may be apropos. That is, seek safety underneath a table or sturdy object, cover your head, and stay put until the situation becomes safe. Stay alert for aftershocks in an earthquake situation. The impact of tornados may have created an unsafe situation so care is to be taken. Be sure to secure equipment to prevent any possible lateral movement or having equipment tip over. Shut off main valves, such as gas lines to prevent leaks.

If there is a fire, notify personnel, shut down equipment and leave or evacuate the area safely. Use and knowledge of fire suppression equipment is critical. Check for broken connectors after shutting off main valves. Check with a flashlight, do not use a match. It is important to have a designated meeting area to re-assess the situation and determine if everyone is safe and what might need to be communicated to emergency personnel.

If a chemical spill happens, stop and think. Is it hazardous? Do I know what to do? Do I have the proper equipment? Am I trained? Is this a danger to you or the facility? Do not try to clean it up, but instead, rope it off and let properly trained professional personnel clean up the spill. Again, the first rule of safety is keeping yourself and others clear of potential dangers.

Keep food and water storage, first aid kit, tool supplies, sanitation, flashlight and batteries and other emergency preparedness materials in a place that is easily accessible. Utilize water supplies such as water heater, toilets, ice cube trays, when needed in an emergency. Pre-emergency drills go a long way to instill calm and focus. Remember it is not uncommon to be isolated from your loved ones during an emergency. Being separated due to work and proximity constraints happens often. Now is the time to practice and get prepared.

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ARE you Prepared?

Recently I was on the www.fema.gov website. There continues to be a growing concern in the U.S. about what is happening with the economy, natural disasters, and world events, including terrorism. I noticed the website had a map listing out the recently declared disaster areas in America. Most of those listed, whether it was in North Dakota or Texas, I was not familiar with. Are you?

Families and businesses are beginning to wake up to the importance of being prepared for potential situations, which will lend them powerless and unable to secure their long-term food, and water needs. Most people are vulnerable to outside influences and have not made an investment in preparing for a disaster. Given that no amount of money can keep someone alive in a crisis, long term water and food storage may be the most important investment we can make.

The food and water systems we have created in our local communities are designed to support our basic day-to-day needs. It is estimated there is less than a three-week supply of food in the national food distribution network. Grocery stores keep about a one-week supply of food in their stores. Most households have even less food readily available. A serious emergency could easily cause breakdowns in the supply of essential goods and services. The non-existent food reserves coupled with a water supply that could get easily contaminated would spell disaster for millions. Are you prepared?

Most survival experts suggest a minimum three-month supply of storable food and water per person. A wise person once said it is better to buy two years early rather than a day late. Still undecided? Personally, I would rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. How about you? There are a variety of people readily available to lend you assistance. Contact us atwww.marksbarrelcompany.com and let us help.

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Question 2 – 10 Questions to ask yourself before you get prepared

Question 2 – 10 Questions to ask yourself before you get prepared

Yesterday we talked about preparedness as a process. You were invited to sit with the question: what are the circumstances or scenarios you have determined may exist that will require you to rely upon your preparedness supplies? Truth is, it makes little sense to be prepared for a hurricane when you live in a desert, or have a stop, drop and roll earthquake preparedness poster on your wall when that scenario will never happen where you live.

The second question deals with timing and it goes like this: How long will your emergency scenario last, and what is the duration of time that you will be preparing? At MBC we understand it is difficult to envision the difficult details that may occur, but understand it is a critical question.

We at MBC believe the adequacy of your preparedness planning and supplies are directly tied to honestly asking this question. We do not have to look to long and hard for examples of people who weren’t adequately prepared for a disaster or the length of the disaster. I only have to say the word: “Katrina,” or the city, “Houston.” These are not third world events, but they happened right here in the good old U.S. of A.

It may just go without saying, the longer the duration of the emergency the more effect it will have on multiple aspects of your daily routine, lifestyle, and the need to be awake to the variety of situations and challenges that surround you.  Most emergency preparedness personnel insist you need to have at the bare minimum, a 72 hour kit. Do you have enough food and water stashed away for you and your family for a three day period? If you do, you are further along than 90% of the population. That alarming number should tell you one thing: If you are relying on your neighbor to bail you out, chances are you will be disappointed.

Tomorrow we will talk about staying informed and the positive impact that will have on you and those you come in contact with.

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EP Water Basics

So you have decided to get prepared and you are zeroing in on your first priority – that would be having enough SAFE drinking water for you and your loved ones. You have numerous options as to how to store water (prepackaged versus package yourself; bottles, jugs, barrels; locations; types of containers; etc.). Here are a few suggestions regarding containers and ensuring the water you have is safe to drink.

First off, lets assume you know how much water you need. An easy formula to follow is to have one gallon of water per day per person set aside. Most agencies suggest you build up to a month’s supply of water (28-30 gallons of water per person). The important thing is to get started and build up your supply if need be, so I encourage you not to put it off or be overwhelmed by the suggested quantities.

The container you pick is important for a number of reasons. Ease of use, durability, safety, storage capability are all factors to consider. If you choose to set aside a few cases of water, we recommend you follow the container’s “best if used by” dates as a rotation guideline. Believe it or not all water is the same and some store better than others. I suggest you choose water that has been bottled in PETE or PET containers.

If you are packaging your own water, use only food-grade containers.  Avoid using plastic milk jugs as they tend to become brittle and leak over time. Do not use containers previously used to store non-food products. If the container had been used previously, it is a good idea to sanitize and thoroughly rinse all containers with a mild chlorine bleach solution (1 teaspoon to 1 quart of water) before using. 55 gallon drums, 5 gallon jugs, and other food grade poly-plastic containers are recommended.

Water from a chlorinated municipal water supply does NOT need further treatment when stored in clean, food-grade containers. If the water comes from a non-chlorinated source, simply treat it with a bleach that does not contain thickeners, scents, or additives. The formula is 1/8 of a teaspoon (8 drops) of 5-6% sodium hypochlorite (liquid household chlorine bleach) for every gallon of water.

Rotate water every couple years or so just to be safe. Water goes stale and can taste “funny” after it has sat for a long period of time. You can improve the taste of stored water by pouring it back and forth between two containers (such as two water pitchers) before using.

Water storage for emergency preparedness is easy. You just need to get started.

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Solving the EP Water Storage Riddle

Are you puzzled as to what to do in an emergency situation when it comes to water? You are not alone. In an emergency, you may not have access to clean drinking water. It is a good idea to have a back up plan in finding water during a disaster situation.  Here are five suggestions:

  1. In many cases, your tap water may still be flowing and pure. Listen to authorities for instructions (another reason to have a radio and extra batteries) as to the purity of your tap water. If there is any question, boil it or filter it.
  2. The water you have set aside for emergencies is ideal. Your 72 hour survival kit, or the cases, jugs or drums of water you put together for just this situation will come in handy.
  3. There are water sources within your home as well you might not have thought about. Water lingers in your garden hose and water pipes (first shut off the incoming water supply so you don’t contaminate this water, then turn on your lowest faucet to access the water). It is available in your toilet, and in your hot water heater (turn off the gas/electricity to the tank first).  The water found in the water feature in your yard (if you have one) or swimming pool (if you have one, play pools for your kids work as well) can be used to flush toilets or cleaning (not for drinking).
  4. Rain barrels are a great source of water. Cisterns have been used for over 5,000 years! Rain water can be pretty dirty and needs to be filtered using one of the “stand alone” water filters that are readily available in stores such as REI (think back country). Some have a solar still. This is a shallow hole, approximately four or five foot square and three feet deep. A collection container, such as a plastic 5 gallon bucket is placed in the middle of the hole and a six foot round piece of plastic is put over the hole. A small rock is put in the center, which causes the plastic to slope to the container. Water condenses on the plastic and drips into the collection container.
  5. Lastly, there are outside water sources to consider. Nearby streams, ponds or rivers can be a source of water, but obviously you should take measures to make the water safe by filtering it. Boiling, distilling and chlorinating it may help as well. You should never drink flood waters.

I hope this list helps you in an emergency. I hope you never have to tap into the emergency supply of water you have set aside for a “rainy day” or a catastrophic event, but if that emergency happens, take some peace in the fact that you will be prepared.

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