Search This Blog

Sunday, December 30, 2018

What do you DO with your water storage?

As a Stake, we feel strongly that it is very important to have water stored for an emergency.  You can live many days without food, but can't live for long without water. 

But storing a lot of water presents a major problem: Rotation. Water is very heavy! It weighs a little more than 8 lbs per gallon. To put that into perspective, your 55 gallon water barrel when completely full, weighs more than 450 lbs.  Trying to move it, drain it, clean it and refill it is a job most of us try to avoid!  So let's talk about some of the most common questions about how to care for your stored water:

Do you need to rotate your stored water? 

Water doesn't have an expiration date.  The problem with stored water is contamination.  If you properly store your water, it should be good for a long time (up to 5 years).  However, it is important to check it every 6-12 months to ensure it hasn't been contaminated.

What can contaminate the water? 

The most common thing is bacteria and algae from the water itself or the air.  To avoid this, treat the water when you store it with chlorine or a water preserver.
  • Chlorine is used at 1/8 teaspoon of chlorine per gallon of water.  So use about 7 teaspoons for a big blue 55 gallon drum of water.  

If you have stored commercial water (water bottles), the BPA in the plastic can contaminate the water.  Check the expiration date, or even better, put the water through a filter before drinking. 

 How often should I check my water?

It is a good idea to CHECK your water every six months. Make sure nothing is growing in it and that it is still drinkable. What You’ll Need to Check For-
  • Build Up Around the Edges
  • Bacteria
  • Algae
  • Cloudy Water
  • Foul Smell

Why does my stored water taste funny? Does that mean it's contaminated?  

Stored water will often taste flat and weird because there’s no oxygen in it. To get rid of that weird stored water taste, simply swish your water around your cup a few times before drinking.  It’s also a good idea to store some sort of drink mix like tang, crystal lite, koolaid, etc. if you have picky “drinkers”.

What can I do to rotate less often?

  • Store in opaque containers to keep out light (dark green and blue are best)
  • Store in a place that is dark and cool consistently
  • Sterilize any containers you are storing water in before filling
  • Treat your water with a special water treatment like those listed above.

What if I didn't rotate my water and I need to use it??

If you are worried about the safety of your water, you can always boil it to purify it. If you are conserving fuel or need to also filter out any particles, then have a good filter/purifier like a Berkey Water Filter on hand. The idea is to make sure you have a way to have clean and drinkable water in the case of an emergency.

Do I need to store my water off the cement? 

You may have heard it's best to store the big blue 55-gallon off the concrete.  The basis for this is that some of the cehmicals may leach out of the concrete into your water.  This isn't a big concern, but it is easy to put some boards or a wooden pallet beneath the barrel before filling it.

How to Clean Your Water Container or Tank

When you do rotate your water, you should take the opportunity to really clean out your water storage container.  First, you need to wash out the tank with mild soap  and water. When cleaning the inside of the barrel, use a scratch pad to get the hard to get areas. Rinse out and repeat the process if you suspect it has been in contact with bacteria or other harmful substances. It is important to make sure that there is no soap or chemicals inside the container once you rinse it out.

What to do With Rotated Water

If you have hundreds of gallons of water stored, you want to make sure to be able to USE the old water so you aren’t wasting it. Some ideas for using your water are:
  • Rotate in the spring and water your lawn and gardens with it
  • Use it to flush your toilets
  • Run several batches of laundry using stored water
  • Wash your car with it
  • Water house plants
  • Purify it and use it for drinking/cooking
  • Give your dog a bath!
Hopefully this lets you relax a bit about your water storage.  The most important thing is TO HAVE SOME STORED!  You can figure out how to use it if and when the time comes.

Keep working at it and every month you will have more peace about your preparedness. 

Sunday, December 2, 2018

 Are You Prepared to Evacuate Quickly in an Impending Emergency?

At this time of year, the last thing we want to think about is leaving our home.  It's cold, there is snow on the ground, and we are dreaming of "sugar plums", not evacuations.  However, there is never a good time for an emergency, and they never seem to strike when it's convenient.

So when you have a few minutes to slow down after the holiday, spend some time thinking through what you would need to take with you if you were to leave.  There is an interesting phenomenon called the "Normalcy Bias".  This bias causes people to underestimate both the likelihood of a disaster and its possible effects, because people believe that things will always function the way things normally have functioned.

An example I have heard and will paraphrase is from a man caught in wildfires in Southern California.  His home was being threatened, and he was given 3 hours to get his things and evacuate.  Instead of calmly and rationally gathering his valuables and irreplaceable items, he paced in front of the TV, watching CNN report on the advancing flames, sure it wouldn't really get to his home.  By the time the fire was so close he had no choice but to leave, he had five minutes to throw his dogs in the car and get out with nothing but his life.  

Why did he waste all of that precious time?  Because his house had never burned down before, why would it now.  This sounds ridiculous, but it's a very real thing that happens in an emergency.  To outsmart the normalcy bias, you have to prepare ahead of time and have a very systematic way to evacuate your home.  Less thinking and decision making in an emergency, the better off you will be.
Here are two great lists and the links to find them.   Use them and the ideas below to prepare your list.

Emergency Evacuation Grab and Go List
Evacuation Grab and Go List

 Grab & Go List #Evacuation List Emergency Preparedness - Prepared LDS  Family
 emergency grab and go list

What Would You Take if You Had to Evacuate? How to Create a Grab & Go List

(Adapted from
What would you take if you had to evacuate? Many people do not think clearly during times of stress and panic, so a well thought out Grab and Go List created before an emergency could greatly assist you. It should have items listed by priority because you do not know how much time you will have to evacuate. Not all evacuations can be planned in advance like hurricane evacuations. You could get a knock on the door in the middle of the night and be told you have a few minutes to leave. You may never experience an evacuation, but you can learn from the experiences of others. Most will tell you that the better planned you are, the fewer regrets you will have.

Consider these things when planning your Grab & Go list:

1. Who is important to you?
2. What is important to you?
3. What would you need if you are gone for a few days to a week?
4. If everything in your home were to disappear, what items would make starting over easier?

How to Organize Your Grab and Go List:
1. List items which are important and essential to you.

2. Next, prioritize your items into four groups. 5 minutes to evacuate, 10 minutes to evacuate, 30 minutes to evacuate, and a few days to prepare.

3. List the location of the item next to it, and then sort within each group based on areas of your home. This will prevent you from running all over your home only to pass up items in the same area.

4. Ask other family members what things in their rooms are the most important and irreplaceable to them. Pay attention to what children say.

5. Make several copies of the list and post it in several places in your home such as upstairs, downstairs, or on either end of your home. Keep a copy of your list in your cell phone by emailing it to yourself since you may get a call from a kind neighbor who wants you to tell him what to take if you are not at home.

6. Do a practice evacuation with your family and use your list. You could assign different family members to gather different items. You could also practice with all of them, and then with only a few of them.

*Update your list twice a year.