Water Storage

Muscle Memory in Emergency Preparedness

Ever heard the slogan: “Prefect practice makes perfect”?

With last year’s disaster in Japan and others including the Joplin, MO tornado and the BP oil disaster, the supposed “end times” coming up in December, more people bring up disaster preparedness. Some circles live with a preparedness awareness. For members of the Latter Day Saints faith community preparedness has been talked about for years especially centered around having a year’s worth of food and water storage.

One aspect of awareness that gets over looked is the actual practice of practice disaster drills. Think about fire drills at work and school. They can be very disruptive but if a fire broke out there do you know what to do? Can you do it in near automation mode? If the answer is yes then you know why drills are important. It is similar to “muscle memory” in exercise.

There are many good preparedness blogs though one of the best for the average person could be from one that survived Katrina and posted about the experience with worksheets on his blog, “Listening to Katrina.” He gives a great outline on getting prepared in your own region.

A key component of preparedness is practice. Consider having a drill every six months on getting out of the house in one minute or packing the car for evacuation in an hour. Turn off the power and see if you can hook up the generator if you have one or just see how you would manage without power or water one weekend. These practices can be as short or as long as your family wants to tolerate.

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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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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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Water Tanks for Beginners

Water storage problems? Before you consider a Rain Water Tank, Water Storage Tanks, Bladder Tanks, Underground Tanks, Slim-Line Tanks, Round Tanks, Steel Tanks (you can add to this confusing list), first answer to questions: What is the space available for fitting the water tank, and secondly, what will be the primary purpose of the tank?

Consider installing one of the different varieties of water tanks that are available in the market today. If you are satisfied with the answers to the above questions, and you are convinced you need a water tank and not a water barrel, here are a few descriptions of what is available on the market today to assist you in picking the right tank for your needs.

Bigger really is better – To start off, when picking a tank, get the biggest tank you can afford and can be installed in the space you have set aside. The most important reason first, the larger the tank, the safer you are if you are not getting water for an extended period of time. It is not uncommon to be without water for a few days to a week in some natural disasters. Secondly, if you have enough storage, you can always use the water to keep your garden and landscapes sufficiently hydrated. Next, the use of rainwater to fill your tank(s) can help solve any water shortage problems you may be experiencing.

Steel water tanks are available in a variety of sizes and are popular, especially in the larger sizes to help you store as much water as possible. They are available coated or uncoated, lined or unlined, and some tanks are galvanized to extend service life. Whether it is “ready-to-install” or in parts you need to assemble, a steel tank is a durable, long lasting alternative to other tanks.

Slim-Line tanks are a perfect fit for those who do not have much room to install a tank. These “high risk” category tanks are made of high quality materials and most manufacturers guarantee them up to 10 years. Like the steel tanks, Slim-Line tanks come in a variety of sizes. Unlike steel and other tanks, you can also get them in a few different color schemes.

If cost is your concern, consider a bladder tank or a round tank. They are generally the most economical and are available in different sizes to fit your water storage needs. Bladder tanks are ideal for those who want to carry tanks with you when moving to other locations.

Underground tanks, because of their very nature of being buried out of sight, can provide more water storage capacity. Concrete, plastic (poly), or steel are ready options depending on your budget and availability.

It is advisable to get the help of a professional when installing a water tank, above ground or underground. The utmost care must be taken when installing your water tank to determine best fit and proper installation to prevent waste. After your tank is installed, adequate care, repair and maintenance are critical to extending the life of your tank and ensuring your water is free of contaminants. Using un-hygienic water can cause disease. Try cleaning your water tank(s) often if you are using it for drinking purposes and always keep your tanks closed to prevent contamination.

Contact us at Mark’s Barrel Company should you have additional questions or concerns regarding water tanks.

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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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Why Food Storage?

An Anthropologist from Notre Dame recently discovered people were storing grain long before they learned to domesticate crops.  The circular vaults were some 11,500 years before Christ walked the planet. More and more we discover storing food in today’s economic climate makes as much sense in 21st century America as it did over 13,000 years ago outside of Jerusalem.

Repeatedly I re-discover that which I believed were stable are anything but. One thing that I can count on is I will get hungry – daily. Food is something I cannot live without and next to water, it is one thing I will be needing when times are good or bad, emergency or not.

There are a community of men and women who are getting the preparedness message out. They have devoted websites, Facebook pages, and regularly tweet messages about being prepared. When you start to think about it, there are many reasons to store food and water.

Emergencies are but one reason, but often the reason most point towards. Another great reason to store food, cooking at home and making meals are but a fraction of the cost of eating out. Truth is, most of us already have a pantry and in some form or fashion we are practicing food storage. We buy the foods we like. We rotate food to eat only that which has not expired. Even the few “stick it in the microwave” meals I buy from time to time are rotated.

I recently started hanging out with a group of people who like to go camping or on long backpacking trips. Freeze-dried and dehydrated foods are a staple in their bags (and they pack easy as well). This came in handy for me as I summitted the Grand Teton earlier this year. Getting the right balance of protein and carbohydrates were critical for our 20 hour car to car day. But if you are in an emergency situation, freeze-dried foods are easier to prepare and so have an advantage over dehydrated foods in certain situations.

Most do not understand our local grocery stores have enough food for about a week, based on normal purchases. In other words, to rely on the supply chains may backfire on you. It is prudent to have a week’s worth of food stored in your house. That way you will not be impacted during a natural disaster, which could mean a food shortage and out-of-sight prices for the food that is available.

Start today by taking an inventory. Get prepared. Utilize your storage space to stock the foods that will keep you and your family healthy and happy.

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What if?

Much has been said/written about the need for water in an emergency.  Medically we know we are largely made up of water and we will not survive long without it. Most say 72 hours or less. This makes water a crucial component of emergency preparedness.

It is staggering to discover just how much water an average family of four consumes here in the United States. We use approximately 400 gallons of water a day to wash, clean, drink, prepare food, water our lawns/plants/crops, flush, etc. [On average the number is closer to 25 gallons/person/day when we take away farming and industry.] What would happen if we did not have this water or have access to it?

Government emergency preparedness agencies have told us for years to get prepared. It only makes sense given the examples worldwide we have seen and read about: Haiti, China, Philippines, and closer to home, New Orleans, Nashville, and Houston. Consider some man-made disasters and their impact: the stock market, the mortgage industry, unemployment rates.

Being prepared is simple. It is the practice of setting something aside for a “rainy day.”  I believe one reason that only less than ten percent of Americans are adequately prepared is most do not believe a catastrophic event will happen to them or their communities. The “big one” is unimaginable.

But what about the power going out for 24 hours due to an electrical storm? What about your spouse coming home and informing you they were downsized and lost their job? What about small flash flood due to snow melt that contaminates the local water supply? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little something set aside just in case?

Are you prepared? What would it take for you to buy a 72 hour kit and set some water (we recommend a couple of gallons per day per person) and food aside? Many recommend having enough water for a week; do you have enough water storage containers to handle this? What would it take to get prepared?  Begin today to plan for a possible shortage of resources. If anything happens, you will be grateful you did.  There are numerous resources at your fingertips available to help.  Just ask.

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