Our hearts go out to the many people who were affected by Hurricane Harvey. It was a devastating, record-breaking hurricane that poured 11 trillion gallons of water into the Houston area! Now Hurricane Irma, the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic, is bearing down on the Caribbean and looks like it’s headed to Florida.
Here are some quick points to help you deal with Harvey and Irma…
EVACUATE WHEN YOU CAN. The one saving grace of hurricanes is that we can see them coming (unlike an earthquake that takes everyone by surprise). The best way to protect yourself from a massive hurricane is to not be there. Evacuate if it is safe to do so.
BE PREPARED BEFORE THE EMERGENCY. Why is bottled water the first thing to fly from grocery store shelves? Because most people aren’t prepared for an emergency. It does not take a lot of money or time to get prepared, but it must be done BEFORE the emergency hits. Prepared people are in a much better position to stay safe, help others, and not be a drain on emergency resources.
PREPARE IN MULTIPLE WAYS. You never know what you’re going to get with an emergency situation. Your best laid plans can go out the window. The best thing you can do is be prepared in multiple ways. Bottled water is very important, but it’s not a complete solution. You also should have a bottle of bleach, a way to boil water, and a way to distill water. The more options you have, the better off you will be.
THE MOST IMPORTANT TOOL YOU CAN HAVE IS KNOWLEDGE…There are a number of things you should have on hand in order to ensure safe drinking water for your family, but the number one tool you need is KNOWLEDGE. You need to understand…
- The vital importance of safe drinking water.
- How water can become dangerously contaminated.
- What the Red Cross recommends for treating dangerously contaminated water.
- WHY the Red Cross recommends what they do.
- That there are different types of water emergencies and the way you respond to one type of emergency may be exactly the wrong thing to do in a different emergency.
- How to assess your situation.
- How to provide your family with safe drinking water in any situation.
The best way to get this information is to get our free ebook by sending a blank email to FREEBOOK@EmergencyWater101.com and by watching the videos on our site.
SAFE DRINKING WATER WILL BECOME YOUR TOP PRIORITY. We all take safe drinking water for granted, because it is so plentiful in daily life. But, when an emergency strikes and our infrastructure fails, you will no long take safe drinking water for granted. Having a supply of safe drinking water WILL become your top priority.
TREATING YOUR OWN WATER. If you need to treat your own water, the Red Cross and FEMA recommend only three methods; boiling, chlorination, and distillation. Filters should NOT be used as a stand-alone method. Filters can be used to pre-treat water before you use one of the Red Cross recommended methods. We explain these processes in detail in our free eBook, which you can get by sending a blank email to FREEBOOK@EmergencyWater101.com.
FLOOD WATERS ARE EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. During floods, sewers overflow and sewage mixes with tap water and the flood water, which means dangerous levels of bacteria, viruses, and parasites. In addition to these biological contaminants, gasoline, oil, and other chemicals mix in the flood waters to make it a toxic soup. Superfund sites, which are areas that have been quarantined because of toxic spills, add to the toxicity when flooded. Chemical pipelines can rupture, trucks and trains can spill their contents, and chemical refineries can explode. All of this mixes to form a very dangerous combination, so avoid the flood waters as much as possible. You should not treat flood water with anything other than distillation, but even with a water distiller you should always start with the best water available to you.
CHILDREN AND ELDERLY ARE THE MOST VULNERABLE. Be especially careful of the quality of the water you provide to newborns, toddlers, children, the elderly, and immune-compromised persons. These people can be especially sensitive to dangerous contaminants and dehydration. Do everything you can to ensure the safety of their water. Preferably, they should drink only bottled water or distilled water.
DON’T LET UP ON WATER SAFETY, EVEN IN SURROUNDING AREAS. During flooding, don’t trust the water coming from your tap, even if it looks clean and doesn’t smell. You can’t tell if your water is contaminated. At the least, boil your water before drinking it. Preferably, distill it.
DON’T TRUST WELL WATER. Don’t feel like you have escaped the danger of flooding if you are on well water. The rule of thumb; in an emergency situation, like a flood, don’t trust your water. Boil it or, even better, distill it.
DO NOT TRUST FILTERS OR RO SYSTEMS. People often feel safe because they have a filter or reverse osmosis (RO) system. Filters and ROs do NOT offer you protection against dangerously contaminated water and they can actually make the problem worse. You can use the water from a filter or RO if you boil it AFTER you filter it. Also note that bacteria will get trapped in the filter housing, so even after your tap water is safe, your filter system will be dangerously contaminated. After your tap water is safe, you must remove your filters and carefully sterilize the entire system, including the lines, as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
DISTILLATION IS THE ONLY METHOD YOU CAN COUNT ON. Distillation is the only home treatment system that you will be able to count on when your tap water is dangerously contaminated. Distillation is recommended by the Red Cross and FEMA. There are two different types of water distillers; electric appliances and non-electric emergency distillers. Both types use the same process of boiling the water, then collecting and condensing the pure steam back into liquid water. A properly designed emergency water distiller is specifically designed for emergency situations and can be used with any heat source, such as a campfire. This is the single most effective way to treat dangerously contaminated water. If you have an electric distiller, and if the power is still on and the distiller did not get contaminated with flood water, you can still use that and it should offer good protection.
If you find yourself in an emergency without a distiller, you can make your own simple distiller. You’ll find instructions in our free eBook, which you can get by sending a blank email to FREEBOOK@EmergencyWater101.com.
BE GRATEFUL FOR OUR COMMUNITY AND EMERGENCY RESPONSE. While disasters like these hurricanes are almost completely negative, I think it’s important to step back for a moment and be grateful for the amazing community we live in. It’s times like this that we all come together to support each other, and our emergency response teams from all over the US come to the rescue.
ON A FINAL NOTE. I want to point out that while Harvey and Irma are very serious emergencies, a massive, long-term blackout would be far more dangerous. Everyone, no matter where you are located, should be prepared. You can learn more about that in our free course, Emergency Water 101: The Basics.