Friday, July 25, 2014

EDC Series: Water (Part 2 of 5)

What do you think of when you hear Everyday Carry (EDC)? EDC means different things to different people. (see blog 7/16/2014 EDC What’s In Your Wallet?)
In this series, I’m going to go through ideas for “kit”, loadout, or whatever you may call your basic EDC.
In doing this series, I’ve reevaluated my idea of EDC. This is where I am working from:
Level 1: Clothing and everything on your person.
Level 2: Items in a pack, bag, purse, or case that you have with you all the time.
Level 3: Items in your vehicle (Obviously if you are on foot Levels 1 and 2 apply only)
When I teach survival or preparedness I teach with this foundation and the acronym ASWiFFS. That is: Air, Shelter, Water, Food, Fire, Security. That is what I will base this basic EDC on.
EDC Series: Water
I live in a very hot and dry place. Rainfall often is non-existent. Water is always an issue. I live outside of a city and have a well for my property. One of the things that concerns me is that if the electricity is out, I have no water for my home. To remedy that, we have a generator so that we can run the well for a short period of time to get water. We also have several gallons of water stored in a tank, barrels, and jugs.
Water procurement is the key in EDC. In my vehicles get-home-bag I have a water filter straw. I store 3 gallons of water plus various containers with water in them. Also in the bag is a “camelback” type of bladder for water and water purification tabs.
What can you carry all the time for water purification are the pills or tabs, but also a filter straw. These come in various sizes and are able to purify a variety of gallon amounts. I like the Aquamira Frontier filter straw. It will only filter up to 30 gallons, but it is very small and very light. The price is usually under $15.00 so it’s pretty affordable. There is also the Lifestraw. This is a little bulkier item, and a little heavier, but it will filter 264 gallons. It’s about double the price but 8 times the filter power in comparison with the Frontier.
Now as I have said before, my definition of EDC is pretty rigid. I am seeing that I should be a little more loose in this. Before I defined EDC as what you have on your person. I see that a fanny pack or backpack, or even a briefcase or purse can extend that. Then there is your vehicle that can expand that even further.
A non-lubricated condom is small, light, and very affordable. They can be used as a water container in the event that you’re able to find water and purify it. As I said, I live in a dry place, yet I am still aware of ponds, rivers and creeks, and a lake nearby. Be aware of these small and large bodies of water near you. They will be your water sources if things ever get to that point. Swimming pools and Jacuzzis may also be a source. Be aware of where those are located near you. Of course, these are owned by others but if a disaster happens when they are away on vacation or otherwise not at home, these may be options. When it comes to water storage in the home, there’s really no excuse. Every person can have some. It just takes a little effort and some ingenuity. We use juice containers because they are food grade and usually a thicker plastic. There are larger bulk water containers for bottled water systems. There are also drums and barrels and tanks out there if you have room. You can use bleach or chlorine to help keep the water fresh and algae free. I know this is not EDC, but it can help your water storage program which can contribute to your EDC.
1 Gallon of water is disinfected by 8-16 drops of regular household bleach (visually about 1/4 of a teaspoon) - double that for cloudy water. Shake and let stand 30 minutes. One teaspoon will disinfect 5 gallons. Immediately after treating, water must initially have a slight smell of chlorine. If it does not - repeat the process.
Only use HTH Pool Shock that does not have any algicides or fungicides. Ingredients should read CALCIUM hypochlorite and inert ingredients. Use a brand with at least 73% Hypochlorite
Before you begin mixing any chemicals in any way, please follow basic safety precautions. Make sure you do this in a ventilated area. Have plenty of water to dilute any mistakes. Wear eye protection for splashes. Lastly always mix the powder into the water NOT the other way around. Also, watch your clothes, chlorine will stain and ruin clothes in such a concentrated form.
Add and dissolve one heaping teaspoon of high-test granular calcium hypochlorite (HTH) (approximately 1/4 ounce) for each two gallons of water.
Other ways to get water are:
Experts disagree on how long water needs to boil in order to be safe for drinking. I say that’s because they are not experts. Water boils at 212 degrees F (100 C). Protozoa cysts are killed rapidly at about 131 F (55 C). Common bacteria and viruses such as E. coli, Shigella, and Hepatitis A are all killed rapidly at temperatures at or below 149 F (65 C). Even raw milk (which can be swarming with microbes compared to backcountry water) is normally pasteurized for only 15 seconds at temperatures of no more than 161 F (72 C), based on standards designed to kill the most heat-resistant disease-causing bacteria.[USDA 2004] Although the boiling point is depressed at higher altitudes, even at the 26,000-foot elevation of Everest base camp it's (72 C) 161 F, which is high enough for complete pasteurization. It is not necessary to boil for a certain amount of time in order to kill microorganisms. It's true that certain microorganisms can survive being boiled for a short time and still cause disease in humans. These are bacterial spores from the genera Bacillus and Clostridium. Examples of the diseases they cause are anthrax, tetanus, and botulism. However, these diseases are not transmitted by ingestion of the spores in drinking water, so they're not a concern here.[Ericsson 2002] For example, when people get botulism, it's because they ingest the growing organism, which has been proliferating in food; you don't get botulism by ingesting the dormant spores.
If you are still not convinced, boil for a few minutes. But if you have limited water in a survival situation, you will lose some water boiling for longer than a minute or two. I prefer conserving water and fuel and only bringing my water to a boil then letting it cool. Use a lid or cover also to keep water in the container. Make sure when you take off the lid you let the condensation in the lid fall back into the water.
Water still:
To make the aboveground still, you need a sunny slope on which to place the still, a clear plastic bag, green leafy vegetation, and a small rock.
To make the still--
Fill the bag with air by turning the opening into the breeze or by "scooping" air into the bag.
Fill the plastic bag half to three-fourths full of green leafy vegetation. Be sure to remove all hard sticks or sharp spines that might puncture the bag.
CAUTION: Do not use poisonous vegetation. It will give you poisonous liquid.
Place a small rock or similar item in the bag.
Close the bag and tie the mouth securely as close to the end of the bag as possible to keep the maximum amount of air space. If you have a piece of tubing, a small straw, or a hollow reed, insert one end in the mouth of the bag before you tie it securely. Then tie off or plug the tubing so that air will not escape. This tubing will allow you to drain out condensed water without untying the bag.
Place the bag, mouth downhill, on a slope in full sunlight. Position the mouth of the bag slightly higher than the low point in the bag.
Settle the bag in place so that the rock works itself into the low point in the bag.
To get the condensed water from the still, loosen the tie around the bag's mouth and tip the bag so that the water collected around the rock will drain out. Then retie the mouth securely and reposition the still to allow further condensation.
Change the vegetation in the bag after extracting most of the water from it. This will ensure maximum output of water.
This is but one way to make a still. There are others. Seek them out and learn them. Then you must practice or you will lose the skill.
Condensation Trap:
Water can be obtained by placing clear plastic bags over the leafy branch of a non-poisonous tree and tightly closing the bag's open end around the branch. Any holes in the bag must be sealed to prevent the loss of water vapor.
During photosynthesis plants lose water through a process called transpiration. A clear plastic bag sealed around a branch allows photosynthesis to continue, but traps the evaporating water causing the vapor pressure of water to rise to a point where it begins to condense on the surface of the plastic bag. Gravity then causes the water to run to the lowest part of the bag. Water is collected by tapping the bag and then resealing it. The leaves will continue to produce water as the roots draw it from the ground and photosynthesis occurs.
The vapor pressure of water in the sealed bag can rise so high that the leaves can no longer transpire, consequently when using this method, the water should be drained off every two hours and stored. Tests indicate that if this is not done the leaves stop producing water.
If there are no large trees in the area, clumps of grass or small bushes can be placed inside the bag. If this is done the foliage will have to be replaced at regular intervals when water production is reduced, particularly if the foliage must be uprooted to place it in the bag.
This process works best when the bag receives maximum sunshine at all times.
All these things can improve your water collection during a crisis. A plastic bag should be kept with your EDC at whatever level you feel it should be in.
There are other ways to find and transport water. Learn what will be best for your EDC and practice it.
Semper Paratus