Monday, June 29, 2015
Thanks for stopping by in order to see what I have to share with you today.
I’m always on the lookout for possible improvements to my food storage and emergency preparedness that I can utilize in order to better serve my family in any emergency.
I’ve watched probably hundreds of You Tube (YT) videos in an effort to confirm the best methods to utilize for storing water. I used that information that others have shared and I have purchased several Seven Gallon Aquatainers, one for each member of my family. That way, right off the bat, each person has at least a week’s worth of water. I also began saving and re-purposing two liter soda bottles and one gallon orange juice jugs (with the built in handle), as well as many cases of 16.9 ounce sized commercially bottled spring water.
I try to be the devil’s advocate on storing re-purposed containers. In case any one of them ever springs a leak, I have all of them that are filled stored inside Rubbermaid bus trays that I bought from Sam’s Club for $12.98 for a bundle of two. That way, I am covered for any leaks since the water won’t damage anything because it is contained within the Rubbermaid bus tray. An upside to that is that not only do I not incur damage from the water, but the water itself would be saved within the bus tray because the trays have the same six gallon capacity as the total of the re-purposed containers stored within them.
I have seen a large number of people on YT recommending that you store your re-purposed two liter soda bottles like they do, which happens to be on their side to accommodate available space. I think that is asking for trouble. The cap on these bottles is the weakest link and has the greatest potential for leakage. The bottles really weren’t made for reusing, but everyone does it, including me. Why would a person invite trouble by laying them on their side? That just doesn’t sound like a safe way to me, but that’s just my opinion. If the bottles repeatedly get very warm and then cool off, they could expand and contract and the caps could possibly become loose. Remember, these aren’t like the caps at the bottling plant where originally there is a plastic part of the cap you have to break and twist off to get the soda out. Once a two liter bottle is opened, that cap safety feature is gone forever. That presents the potential, although admittedly a remote possibility, that a soda bottle on its side could have the top work loose and if unchecked, leak out about 2/3’s of its contents, until the water level reaches the lowest side of the bottle’s spout while it is stored in the horizontal position.
I choose to store all my bottles and even the Aquatainers in an upright position. This completely eliminates all possibilities of leaks around the threads or spigots. My personal preference is to err on the side of caution, so that’s why I do mine this way. Besides, the aggravation of water leaking onto the wood floor would be intense, so I would rather avoid it.
Another questionable area that I see frequently on YT is the storing of emergency water in opaque plastic milk jugs. Snap top milk jugs or actual opaque one gallon water jugs are being recommended by some folks to be good for storing water. That plastic is not designed for long term water storage. If you drop a full one, it will pop the top off and splash everywhere, or just plain burst. The older the jug is, the weaker it becomes. Plastic milk jugs take 500 years to degrade when buried in a landfill, so they are not “biodegradable”. The problem for using milk jugs as water containers is that they ARE “photodegradable”, which means that exposure to light eventually breaks down the plastic until it begins leaking and then ultimately fails. See:
When it comes to re-purposing containers, I believe that only the very clear plastic containers such as juice jugs or 2 liter soda bottles should be used for emergency water storage. I will share with those reading this that while I have a very substantial amount of drinking water stored, I also have dozens of empty, clean, juice containers stacked and stored in large laundry baskets. If a hurricane is coming, I will fill these containers at first notification of a probable landfall in my area. However, I will have to store them out on the floor in an unused bedroom because my shelf space is currently filled to capacity. That’s why I currently have them empty, stacked in laundry baskets, stored where I wouldn’t store my water.
Another action that I see frequently is the filling of 55 gallon blue plastic water storage barrels with a household garden hose. There is a lot of bacteria contained within a garden hose. That is one of the reasons that the water left sitting in a garden hose smells bad when you first use it. The hose is used for everything from watering gardens to washing cars to washing the dog. As the hose sits in the sun or hangs with some water in it on a hose rack, the bacteria within just multiplies. People should be using special hoses like the ones used for RV’s for filling their water storage barrels. Bad enough that there’s the bacteria in the garden hose, but watch how many people drape the hose into the water barrel and let the end of it become submerged in their stored drinking water. Imagine the bird poop and bacteria that this hose connection has been dragged through on the ground. It’s even worse if you have pets that use the yard for their toilet. Now those germs are in your emergency water supply. Who wants to drink that?
The next item subject to my observation is storing your emergency food supply in a hot, uninsulated attic or storage shed. In my opinion, there is nothing that could make me store my foods in that type of area. Temperature control is a major factor in the length of shelf life of your foods. Rather than store my foods in a hot attic, I would find places within my climate controlled (or at least buffered from the heat by building materials) living space to store my food. The temperature in your living space is exactly the temperature range that you should usually store your food in. Even if you don’t have AC, your living space is nowhere near the attic temperature. Basically, I think that if your attic temperature will kill you, it will kill the shelf life of your food storage.
Finally, I see people’s food storage videos graciously sharing with us what supplies they store in their preps. Personally, I don’t store some of the food products that other folks do, because of the high fat content in those foods. Fats can go rancid and are not suitable for long term storage. Large quantities of cooking oils are one of the storage items I see very frequently in these YT videos. Some folks have way over a dozen bottles of cooking oil in their storage. Now in our home, we hardly use cooking oil except for an infrequent baking project. So storing a large quantity of cooking oil seems illogical for us. It is possible that some folks that store gallons and gallons of cooking oil might actually use it before it expires. Maybe they deep fry a turkey for the holidays. That’s good! That would use a lot of the oil. Storing gallons of cooking oil just doesn’t benefit our diet, so I only keep one or two bottles on hand.
Something that that I recently became aware of is using the sun’s ultraviolet rays and several two liter soda bottles to make the water safe to drink. I think this is pretty remarkable and these video links below should be watched by anyone who wants to really ensure their water supply. I sincerely hope each visitor to this blog watches all three videos in their entirety. The longest one is only ten minutes and one second, but it shows you how well this works!
Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS)
SODIS is an alternative water treatment method designed for use at the household level. The technology is simple in terms of the procedure, yet effective in eliminating water borne related pathogens. Please watch these short videos on the subject:
In light of the above identified YT videos, I have set aside two or three dozen two liter bottles as well as three or four large mirrors from bedroom dressers to assist me in disinfecting water when I need to do that. The mirrors speed up the process. Next time you see a bedroom dresser put out for bulk trash pickup, you may choose to stop and remove the mirror still in its frame, which is usually held to the back of the dresser by two screws on each upright post, and take it home for storage until you need it. It doesn’t cost you anything but a few minutes of your time.
In summary, store what types of food you normally eat or like, and make sure you have plenty of stored water, which is the most important item, for any emergencies that come your way. You will be glad you did when the emergency happens, and it will happen.
I hope what I have shared today provides some food for thought for ensuring the success of your emergency storage plan.