Posts Tagged ‘water filter’


Top 10 List of Emergency Preparedness Items

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

Back to the Basics – 2017

Matchbook

But will they light?

At least once a year, we try to quickly go over the items that belong in every survival kit. If you have a basic pack in the car, one in the office, and one in the house FOR EACH FAMILY MEMBER, you can breathe a lot easier when someone asks,

“Are you really prepared for an emergency?”

Here’s our end of the year basic list, with some suggestions about how many of each item to get, where to get them and what they might cost. You’ll notice that the list stays pretty much the same, although our top recommendations change as new products become available.

As always, if you click on the product links, you’ll go over to Amazon, where you can shop for just what you want and likely get the best possible price, too. And as we’ve explained, Emergency Plan Guide may get a small commission on the sale — a commission that doesn’t affect your price.

You don’t have to do it all at once!

If you’re just starting to put together your survival kits, consider doing the research and getting just 2 or 3 items a week. Some of them you may already have — they just need to be assembled in one place. We’ve added these symbols –  〈〉 – so you can check off each item as you get it!

〈〉  1 – Water

If you can grab a bottle of water, or store one with your emergency supplies, great. But bottled water gets old, and is really heavy. What you CAN pack so it will always be ready is a water filter. We’ve written a whole review of water filters, here, explaining and showing the different types. For all-purpose use, we like this one, built right into a plastic bottle that can be refilled over and over again. Its priced around $25, which is what most filters cost.

LifeStraw Go Water Bottle with Integrated 1000-Liter LifeStraw Filter

〈〉  2 – Food

Frankly, MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) with a 25-year-life sound pretty awful. Still, if you’re really hungry, having a couple of them handy make sense. Easier and tastier: sealed bags you fill with dried fruit, trail mix, or energy bars. Buy your family favorites and replace regularly — and after the bag gets raided by hungry kids.

〈〉  3 – Warmth

Camping out in the car overnight in a storm . . . uncomfortable at best. Stuff a warm coat into the trunk, or a blanket.  And for your emergency kits, grab a pack of Mylar survival blankets (preferably the sleeping bag model) and put one in every kit you are building. Shiny side out when you want to reflect the sun, shiny side in to trap body heat. The great thing about Mylar space blankets is their price — typically, less than $1 apiece for the simple ones!

This package includes 4 mylar sleeping bags: Pack of 4 Emergency Sleeping Bags, Thermal Reflective Survival Bags, MCR Medical

〈〉 4 – Light

Flailing around in the dark is plain scary and not very smart. You can hurt yourself!  Have an easy-to-reach flashlight — in the glove compartment of the car, in your bottom drawer at work, in every room of the house. Plus one for every survival kit. Yes, you need at least a half-dozen flashlights, and maybe more! Their prices range from a low of $4 to well over $100, depending on power, different light features (pulse, zoom, etc.) and size.

We have written before about the collection of different-sized flashlights described below. Each is top quality. Take a look to see if you could distribute these flashlights so they would work for your family. (Remember extra batteries, too.)

Feit LED Flashlight Kit | 3-pack with Case | 1000, 500, 250 Lumens | Slide Zoom | Batteries Included

〈〉 5 – Communications

In a widespread emergency the only communications you may be able to receive will be those being put out on official emergency channels. To get them, you need a radio – preferably one that operates with batteries, solar, and a hand crank. You may not need one for every person, but certainly you need a couple of radios, stashed intelligently at home and at work.

Our review of different emergency radios will give you a run-down of all the available features and prices. (As you can imagine, you can spend anywhere upwards of $25 dollars on an emergency radio.) If you want to pick one, Ambient Weather continues to be our favorite.  (It can charge your phone, too.) Here’s one of the most popular:

Ambient Weather WR-111B Emergency Solar Hand Crank AM/FM/NOAA Digital Radio, Flashlight, Cell Phone Charger with NOAA Certified Weather Alert & Cables

〈〉 6 – First Aid

You may be caught in a storm or other disaster and only be inconvenienced. But the chances of someone needing first aid are pretty good. Buy a kit, go through it, and add extras that you think you’ll need. Typically, purchased kits (ranging from $10 to over $80) are really skimpy on bandages, first aid creams, bug spray, etc. Once again, you’ll want multiple kits: one for the car, one for the office, one for the house. You could start with one like this:

Coleman Expedition First Aid Kit (205-Piece), Red

〈〉 7 – Matches/fire

The warmth and light of a fire may be very welcome. They could also be life-saving. But don’t even light a candle inside unless you are SURE there are no gas leaks! And watch out for open flame in a closed-in area. You can kill yourself with carbon monoxide.

Assuming it’s safe, though, here’s what you need to get that fire started. You may need to practice getting a fire started BEFORE the emergency hits!

Magnesium fire starter with some extras:

#1 BEST Fire Starter – SurvivalSPARK Emergency Magnesium Fire Starter – Survival Fire Starter with Compass and Whistle

All-weather matches (not like the ones in the photo above!):

UCO Stormproof Match Kit with Waterproof Case, 25 Stormproof Matches and 3 Strikers – Orange

〈〉 8 – Shelter

Your kit doesn’t have room for a tent. The best suggestion: another simple survival blanket that you can string up as a lean-to. You’ll need a rope or some bungies to accomplish this, of course.

Emergency Mylar Blanket 52″ x 84″ – Pack of 12 Blankets

And here’s the cord you could use for your lean-to. Paracord bracelets are cool, too. All under $15.

Paracord Planet 100′ 550lb Type III Neon Orange Paracord

〈〉 9 – Personal items

This category could include extra eyeglasses, medicines, small tools that you know how to use, toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, toilet paper, sanitary items. (For children, it could include a favorite stuffed animal.) Include a list of important contact information, too.

Everyone needs a pouch for personal items (use baggies) and everyone’s pouch will be different!

We really like these wet wipes that are individually packaged, easy to tuck in your survival kits:

Wet Ones Antibacterial Hand Wipes Singles, , Fresh Scent, 24-Count (Pack of 5)

〈〉 10 – Something to carry it all in

A fully packed survival kit or go-bag, with everything possible in it, probably weighs more than you can carry. For sure, it weighs more than your mother can carry, or your 5 year-old. So, keeping their weight and size in mind, consider the best container for each person and each kit.

The best thing is to assemble the supplies for each person, and THEN decide how big a carrier you need.

A simple backpack is probably the best all-purpose carrier. Dig through your closet or head to your local sports shop or big box store and get a pack that fits the person who’s going to be carrying it. Here’s a new resource about backpacks: One Size Does Not Fit All.

Some packs have wheels. It makes them heavier, but may make them more flexible.  Here are some wheeled carts we’ve seen being used, too. Consider whether you will be in an urban setting, where you’ll be hiking along a road or sidewalk, or in a more rural setting, where wheels just won’t work.

The main thing is that . . .

Each person must carry his or her own survival kit.

Please use this list as a quick reminder. If you can check off each of the ten items, congratulations! You’re ahead of about 90% of the rest of the world! But let’s not stand around feeling smug. Share the list with other family members, clubs you belong to, etc.

The safer the people around us are, the safer we ALL will be!

Virginia and Joe
Your Emergency Plan Guide Team

If you are interested in more details about any of these items, we probably have written at least one Advisory on it! You can use the search box at the top of the page or skim the list in the Advisory Archives. Or, drop a comment with your question and let others chip in.

 

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Show and Tell

At our recent neighborhood meeting, our CERT leader asked me to do a “show and tell” on the LifeStraw® that I have in my emergency supplies. The photo shows what I shared with the group.

Lifestraw

My LifeStraw: mouthpiece open at left

The LifeStraw is a tube you suck through (the “straw”) to filter water when you’re out camping or in an emergency.  I discovered it about three years ago after my son became very ill from swallowing water on a hiking trip. (He spent 5 days in hospital; his organs started shutting down due to dehydration.)

LifeStraw features

There are other products that look the same, but the LifeStraw appears to be “the original.” It won awards when it came out in 2005, and was chosen by the U.N. to provide clean drinking water in developing countries. Later was it made available in the U.S. by manufacturer Vestergaard Frandsen. It costs about $20.

The LifeStraw is handy and simple:

  • It is small and lightweight, so fits into anyone’s survival kit.
  • It requires no batteries or replacement parts.
  • It filters up to 1,000 liters – about 265 gallons.

You can stick the straw into a puddle or stream and drink directly, or scoop up water into a bottle and then stick the straw into the bottle. It filters out 99.99% of bacteria (for ex., e coli and salmonella) and protozoa cysts (Giardia), which is what made my son so sick. It does NOT filter out viruses, which are too small to be caught. And it does not make salt-water drinkable.

How to use it

Since there are no chemicals in the straw, the water coming through has no chemical taste. You remove the caps at both ends and sip through the mouthpiece. It takes a good 4-5 pulls to get the water started. To keep the filter clean, you blow back through the straw to unclog it.

You can use the Straw over and over again.  Just keep it clean and let it dry out before you recap the ends.

Here where we live in Southern California, we are not likely to have puddles to drink from in an emergency since we get so little rain! However, in an emergency, we might be forced to look for other sources of water: water heater, toilet tank, or big water barrel. Getting water out of these tanks would likely involve some dirt, grains of rust, sediment, etc. Filtering the water through the LifeStraw would be a reassurance of its quality.

If you or family members live stormy areas or hike or camp a lot, this is a no-brainer addition to your emergency kit. Get more information at Amazon:
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

Next time: Water from Swimming Pools

I’m on a roll now about water. Next blog will be about how to use SWIMMING POOL WATER in an emergency.  Can you?  Should you? How to treat it first?

Stay tuned.  (If you don’t want to miss that next Advisory, sign up right now on the form below.)

And do check out that LifeStraw. It just feels right.  It makes a great gift!

Virginia Nicols
Your Emergency Plan Guide team