Welcome to Let's Be Prepared's Blog page. Here we look at the importance of emergency preparedness and some of the many ways you can prepare. We also talk about things you can do or have done in an emergency.

Friday, February 13, 2009

How to Know Why You Need Sterile Water for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness

By anniewrites, eHow Member

Sterile water or water purification tablets are included in most emergency and disaster survival kits on the market. You might wonder why this is necessary or if you can just store your own tap or bottled water for use in case of emergency. The truth is that dirty water kills 5,000 children everyday and the importance of sterile water can not be underestimated.

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Difficulty: Easy
Things You’ll Need:
Sterile water or water purification tablets.

Step 1: Understand that diarrheal diseases are what is responsible for most of the water contamination related deaths of children under 5. Children's immune systems are more fragile than healthy adult immune systems; and children can easily become seriously ill from contaminated water. In emergency and disaster preparedness, the number one priority needs to be keeping our children safe.

Step 2: Figure out how much water you will need in case of disaster or emergency. You do not want to skimp in this area, as water is just about the most important supply you can purchase. Most emergency and disaster preparedness kits that are designed for 72-hour survival contain either sterile water (in boxes or mylar bags) or water purification tablets. However, to be truly prepared for an emergency situation, it is recommended that each person have access to one gallon of water per day. Most kits do not contain this volume of water, so it is wise to purchase additional water yourself.

Step 3: Learn the parameters for storing regular water for emergency and disaster preparedness. Under certain circumstances, and with great care, you may be able to store your own water, though it may be easier to purchase sterile water or purification tablets. Clean water can be stored in jugs for up to six days under sanitary conditions. Treated water can be stored in 55 gallon drums, tested regularly, and kept for six months under sanitary conditions. Bottled water that you purchase from your supermarket can be kept for six months, as well. The iffy part of storing your own water is the "sanitary conditions" part. Remember hurricane Katrina? Sanitary conditions were hard to come by!

Step 4: Learn why regular store bought bottled water can only be kept for six months for emergency and disaster preparedness purposes. Unlike sterile water, regular bottled water does not come in packaging intended for extended storage. The plastic begins to break down after a period of time, making the water taste like plastic (and then you're actually CONSUMING plastic particles when you drink it), and ultimately the bottle will crack and become unsanitary. If you forget to replace your bottled water after the 6-month shelf life is up, you may find yourself in a natural disaster without access to clean water. You'd better hope you have some water purification tablets!

Step 5: Understand what water purification tablets can and can not do. Water purification tablets can make water bacteriologically safe to drink. They kill bacteria. From an emergency and disaster preparedness standpoint, this is a good thing if you're say, stranded out in the wilderness and do not want to become dehydrated. You can use the tablets to create sanitary drinking water. What is the down side to tablets? Tablets do not make sure that water has the right balance of minerals. This might not be a big deal for a short term emergency, but over the long haul, a dangerous load of certain minerals consumed through drinking water can cause serious health problems. The other issue with water tablets has to do with what to store the purified water in. You would need to somehow come up with a sanitary container to store water in. Depending on your situation, this might present a challenge. Still, water purification tablets DO have their place in emergency and disaster preparedness, as they will assure that you have clean drinking water as long as you can find someplace to store it.

Step 6: Now that we understand a thing or two about water purification tablets, it's important to learn about the benefits of sterile water (in boxes or pouches) for emergency and disaster preparedness. Sterile water has a shelf life of 5 years. It is a long-term preparedness solution. The packaging is durable and the water is so clean that it is suitable for cleaning wounds. So, the water has multiple uses. Not only will you be well hydrated, but in case of injury, sterile water can help to prevent infection. Sterile water can be kept in a wide range of conditions, from extreme heat to extreme cold. Pouches double as ice packs when frozen, which is helpful in case of injury or the need to keep food cold. Boxes are easy to tote. Does sterile water have a down side? Sure, the weight. Water is heavy and not always practical to carry with you. For a home emergency and disaster preparedness stash, though, it is hard to beat sterile water.

Step 7: Now that you have a basic understanding about sterile water and water purification tablets for emergency and disaster preparedness, make sure that you gather the supplies you need to ensure your family has access to clean water. You nver know when you might need those supplies. Your health and the health of your family and friends depends on it.


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