The world seems to have gotten a little sideways in the last year and a half. While the great toilet paper shortage of 2020 was, at most, an inconvenience for most of us, the reality is that it was a perfect lesson in preparedness. When hysteria hits the mainstream outlets, you can see essentials disappear in a matter of hours. This article is designed to give you a blueprint to help you get the basics of preparedness. This isn’t a prepper or doomsday article, just a review of the basics.
If you’re just getting started and don’t know where to begin, consider a scenario where you and your family will be without power, water, or outside assistance for at least 10 days. Think that won’t happen where you live? Look at Hurricane Katrina, super-storm Sandy, fires on the west coast, etc. It can happen anywhere and if you’re in the middle of it, these tips could save your life. At the end of each section, we’ll provide links to the items discussed so you can begin to accumulate the most important things first.
There are four critical basic needs.
Each of these needs must be considered and prepared for if you want to have the basics of emergency preparedness covered.
In this first article of a four-part series, we’ll cover water.
Under typical conditions, we can go about three weeks without food but only 3 days without water. The only thing that may have a higher priority than water in a survival situation is shelter when immediate cold exposure is a risk.
To determine the quantity of water you need, figure one gallon per person, per day. If you have a family of five that’s fifty gallons for a 10-day scenario. One gallon should generally be enough for both personal hydration and cooking needs.
There are two important elements when considering water – storage and purification.
In a situation where the water supply is interrupted or severely contaminated, you’ll want to have stored water. Make sure the storage containers are BPA-free and won’t leach chemicals, odors, or taste into the water. Again, if you are just getting started, figure two, 5-gallon containers per person to prepare for a 10-day need.
Having stored water is important but there may be situations where your stored water is not enough or is destroyed by a natural disaster, such as an earthquake where your water storage is destroyed or inaccessible. In a situation like this, you’ll need a way to purify water. There are several options: personal filters, high-volume filters, and tablets. If each of your family members has their own filtration device that may be enough, but it’s also wise to consider a high-volume filter system that can purify water in bulk.
It's also important to have purification tablets as a backup. When it comes to water, have multiple options for gathering, storing, and purifying the most critical need for our bodies.