Operating in the field requires different methods to build moral within a group, which is needed to ensure individuals are motivated and ready to complete tasks. This concept was reinforced this past weekend during a Cub Scout outing where a simple item like warm coffee or hot chocolate can effectively wake people up in the morning and prepare them for the day. To achieve this task, Coffee Boilers are a field expedite method to quickly heat up water in an open fire. Pictured is a comparison of a 2-quart and 3-quart boiler. The smaller 2-quart boiler to the right has the percolator insert that is needed to limit the amount of coffee grounds in your coffee. The 3-quart boiler below does not have this feature. Boilers/kettles are extremely convenient for boiling water for purification and other cooking needs. When packing boilers in your pack, save on space by placing items in the boiler such as food items or breakables prior to packing.
If you are looking for a great water carrying/storage system purchase the Swiss 20L (5 gallon) Water Bag Black offered on Amazon.com (see item description below). These bags are extremely durable and are easily rolled into a small compact size for storage in your preparedness kits. Another plus about this storage bag are the heavy grommets and rope handles that allow the bag to be hung as a shower, or to be used as a rugged carry handle for easy transportation.
A critical item for your Disaster Kit, First Aid Kit or Combat Lifesaver Bag is a bottle of Anti-Diarrheal pills to prevent individuals from becoming dehydrated due to sickness that is caused by waterborne viruses, bacteria and parasites. In addition to dehydration, the loss of fluids through diarrhea can cause electrolyte disturbances such as potassium deficiency and salt imbalances that can lead to death if untreated. The World Health Organization has identified diarrheal diseases as a leading cause of deaths globally for both adults and children. Stocking your medical kits or bugout bags with this critical item is extremely inexpensive. You can purchase 144 caplets at Walmart.com for under $9 by purchasing Equate Anti-Diarrheal Caplets. Equate's Anti-Diarrheal Caplets are a cost effective way to control the symptoms of diarrhea, compared to the complications this illness can cause.
Download and print a copy of EPA's "Emergency Disinfection of Drinking Water (PDF)" information guide (see picture below for site overview).
A friend of mine recommended purchasing swimming pool shock treatments such as the pictured HTH Shock'n Swim (calcium hypochlorite) sold at Walmart for $12.97, as a cost effective solution for disinfecting water. This item is packaged in 5 individually packaged 1 pound packets, making it easy to distribute to others.
The following guidance is directly from EPA's "Emergency Disinfection of Drinking Water (PDF)" that is available at their website. "Always remember for chemical disinfect to be effective, the water must be filtered and settled first."
You can use granular calcium hypochlorite to disinfect water. Add and dissolve one heaping teaspoon of high-test granular calcium hypochlorite (approximately ¼ ounce) for each two gallons of water, or 5 milliliters (approximately 7 grams) per 7.5 liters of water. The mixture will produce a stock chlorine solution of approximately 500 milligrams per liter, since the calcium hypochlorite has available chlorine equal to 70 percent of its weight. To disinfect water, add the chlorine solution in the ratio of one part of chlorine solution to each 100 parts of water to be treated. This is roughly equal to adding 1 pint (16 ounces) of stock chlorine to each 12.5 gallons of water or (approximately ½ liter to 50 liters of water) to be disinfected. To remove any objectionable chlorine odor, aerate the disinfected water by pouring it back and forth from one clean container to another.
It is essential individuals store at least one gallon of water per person per day for drinking and sanitation. Most experts recommend storing at least two gallons per person per day, one gallon for drinking and one gallon for sanitation. Below is a list of ways individuals can address their water requirements. To get started, I recommend using inexpensive techniques such as using chemical purification in conjunction with a rain collection barrel. Of course boiling water is the best solution available to ensure drinking water safety. Also take into consideration the amount of water in household hot water tanks and piping system.
Links to detailed discussions on achieving needed water requirements.
1. Bleach for Emergency Water Purification
2. Rain Collection Barrel Example
3. Water Filtration Systems - Carried in your 72 hour/bug out bag.
4. Iodine Tablets - Emergency Water Purification - Carried in your 72 hour/bug out bag.
5. Water Storage System
**See FEMA's Ready site for additional water storage ideas.
Water is a key preparedness area that needs to be reviewed often to ensure family water consumption needs can be sustained for extended periods of time. Rain collection barrels are a simple water solution to augment your needs, especially for areas that receive significant rain fall. Sam's Club is offering the Impression Palm 65 Gallon Rain Saver (Item #: 449159) downspout system that includes spigots and built-in overflow for $70. This system incorporates a decorative exterior that does not draw attention like a traditional 55 gallon drum. Although, rain water must be properly treated prior to consumption, it can be used for sanitation and garden watering directly from the container. For water storage planning FEMA recommends storing at least one gallon of water per person per day for drinking and sanitation. See FEMA's Ready site at http://www.ready.gov/ for additional water storage ideas. Most experts recommend storing at least two gallons per person per day, one gallon for drinking and one gallon for sanitation.
A preparedness area often overlooked is the storage of potable water due to our expectation we will always have access to drinking water during emergencies. If you live in the Southwest this preparedness area is a must. The pictured Augason Farms 55-Gallon Water Storage Kit is a great solution that can be purchased for only $99 at www.Walmart.com and includes free shipping to your house. I like the included shipping because large items like a 55-gallon barrel are hard to get in most vehicles. This water storage system comes complete with 55-gallon barrel, hand pump, lid opener, water treatment drops and fittings. For water storage planning FEMA recommends storing at least one gallon of water per person per day for drinking and sanitation. See FEMA's Ready site at http://www.ready.gov/ for additional water storage suggestions. Most experts recommend storing two gallons per person per day, one gallon for drinking and one gallon for sanitation.
During an emergency, water from an unknown source requires treatment to purify it from contaminants. The two best methods are to boil or chemically purify (add bleach) the water. Experts recommend boiling is used over all other methods. When boiling water make sure the water is boiling and kept rolling for at least one minute in order to kill any microorganisms in the water. For higher altitudes, starting at 5,000 feet you must boil the water for at least 5 minutes and add an additional minute for each incremental 1,000 foot increase in altitude. A great suggestion to improve the taste of boiled water is to aerate the boiled water by pouring the water from one container to another container several times and then letting the water stand for several hours. Make certain all water containers for storage and drinking are sanitized so you do not re-contaminate the water. Sanitize containers by washing them and then soaking them for 2 minutes in a bleach solution consisting of 1 tablespoon bleach per gallon of water.
If boiling water is not an option chemical purification is the next best method. A gallon of store bought bleach containing 6% sodium hypochlorite can purify over 3,000 gallons of water. That is a lot of emergency purified water for such an inexpensive preparation. When using bleach for water purification the general rule is 2 drops of bleach per quart of water if the water is clear, or 4 drops of bleach per quart of water if the water is discolored. If the water is discolored you should remove particles and debris prior to treatment by running the water through a coffee filter, paper towel or other fabric. Once the bleach is added to the water you must close the water container for at least 30 minutes. After 30 minutes check the water to see if a slight chlorine smell is present. If there is no smell, add 2 additional drops of bleach solution per quart of water and let the water sit for an additional 30 minutes. To make the treated water easier to drink by reducing the chlorine smell allow the water to sit uncovered for several hours. The attached picture shows my emergency gallon of bleach with the following items taped to the container for easy access: coffee filters, medicine dropper and these purification instructions. An old medicine dropper from a kid's medicine bottle works well. Finally, if adding flavored beverage powder to improve the taste of chemically treated water, you must wait the 30 minutes until after the water treatment process is complete.
Ratio of Bleach to Water for Purification (Only use regular bleach, no scented bleaches).
*2 drops of Regular Bleach per quart of water.
*8 drops of Regular Bleach per gallon of water.
*1/2 teaspoon Regular Bleach per five gallons of water. If the water is cloudy, double the above dosages of Bleach.
*To ensure that bleach is at its full strength, rotate or replace your storage bottle prior to the products expiration date.
My favorite MOLLE pouch is the Canteen / General Purpose Pouch (NSN: 8465-01-525-0585). Unlike older canteen pouches designed for only carrying your canteen, this general purpose pouch is easily convertible from a canteen pouch to a general purpose pouch that has many uses. The two pouches pictured shows my pouches configured as a 1-quart canteen pouch that includes the canteen, canteen cup and purification (iodine) tablets, and the pouch configured as a magazine pouch holding five 30rd AR mags (see picture bottom left). This pouch is also large enough to use as a first aid pouch or a dump pouch. The two pouches pictured are surplus "acceptable" purchased as part of a rifleman MOLLE load bearing vest with 9 pouches for $42 for the complete system (canteens and canteen cup purchased separately). This is a far better deal than purchasing the pouches individually for $10 to $15 each.
If boiling water or using a water filter is not an option to purify a suspect water source, treatment with Iodine-based purification tablets are the next best solution. Iodine tablets are used by military forces throughout the world for emergency disinfection of water that effectively kills giardia, bacteria, viruses and most microorganisms. USGI military canteen covers have a pouch that is intended for the storage of a purification tablet bottle. When conducting an operation or a hike it is wise to carry several bottles of iodine tablets for emergency situations. From a load planning standpoint one gallon of water weighs approx. 8.35 lb, or about 3.79 kg. For a three day trek into the mountains you are not carrying all of your required water so an alternate purification method must be planned. Standard iodine tablet bottles contain 50 tablets which treats over 6 gallons of water (2 tablets per quart). If you do use purification tablets ensure you follow the directions for water treatment. Iodine water treatment should be used for short periods of time when other purification methods are not available. If you are using beverage powder to improve the taste of the treated water, ensure you wait until after the treatment period to add the powder. Keep extra purification tablets on hand in all of your emergency kits. They only cost $5-$7 per bottle and can be bought online or at Wal-Mart for this price.