Saturday, June 04, 2011

Incorporating Self-Sufficient Living Into Emergency Preparedness

By Irene Test

Self-sufficient living and emergency preparedness tie into each other. In times of emergencies, disasters or otherwise, you need to be self-sufficient. Help may not arrive soon, and until that time comes, you need to provide food and water for yourself. As a result, self-sufficient living is part of any emergency preparedness plan.

Water, an emergency kit, and food storage are the three basic parts your emergency preparedness plan needs to incorporate. Out of these three, water is the most important. When water does not come up from a pump or out of a faucet, backup supply must be available and can be kept in a water storage tank. Made out of food-grade high-density polyethylene, a water storage tank holds 14 to 56 gallons and should be portable.

No matter how the water is collected, microorganisms, chemicals, or pollutants are likely present. Before any water is used, it must be purified and filtered. Purification removes most, if not all, microorganisms, and filtration catches the remaining chemicals and pollutants.

Boiling, chemical treating, or ultraviolet light are three approaches to purifying your water, and each has advantages and disadvantages. Boiling requires you to have heating equipment on hand, and the water must cool before it can be used. Adding iodine, chlorine, or bleach is another option, but too much of a chemical can make your water poisonous. Ultraviolet light requires a separate filtration device, one which sterilizes all microorganisms with a mercury vapor lamp.

Purification may take out the viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms, but other particulates are still present in your water. Filtration through ceramic, glass fiber, or hard-block carbon removes most of the remaining floating substances.

Water is necessary for preparing food and survival, but it is not the only aspect of rel=nofollow []self-sufficient living that you need to consider. Disasters arrive quickly, and in the event you need to leave the area, bringing an emergency kit is a must. An emergency kit needs to last 72 hours and must be portable. All basic needs must be added: water, food, sanitation, and first aid.

Many disasters or emergencies leave you stranded at home without access to food, water, or electricity. As you have seen from many large-scale natural disasters, help does not always come to the scene quickly and address everyone's needs. During this time, you will need to be self-sufficient without regular access to water or electricity, and in addition to your water storage tank, food storage must be part of a disaster preparedness plan.

Like water storage, food storage cannot be done at once and must be part of your lifestyle. Long before a disaster hits, begin building up your food storage by starting with staple items: grains, beans, dehydrated milk, sugar, salt, oil, and seeds. Eventually, each item should last a year.

A diet of grains and beans is repetitive, and other dehydrated or freeze-dried foods may give it variety. Emergency food kits by Mountain House, Alpine Aire, and Provident Pantry contain #10 cans or pouches of individual foods or meals add variety to your diet and complete your daily caloric needs. Most items in these emergency food kits simply need water and may be combined with your staples.

Food and water storage must be done in a cool, dry place in your home. A temperature-controlled basement or crawl space, free of chemicals, is ideal. Water storage tanks, additionally, must be kept out of the sunlight.

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