While it is often hard to see the upside of an emergency situation, these circumstances can help people to realize just how reliant they are on modern conveniences. Within as recently as the past half century, many individuals in the nation still used outside pump wells and true ice boxes for water and food storage. Although most homes are equipped with indoor plumbing and electricity, this does not mean that these amenities are always on hand. When a disaster happens, having long-term food storage and sufficient potable water can mean the difference between survival, and lasting detriment that can be caused from dehydration and malnutrition.
Although people can survive for period of time without food, anything more than three days without water leads to significant and often irreversible health conditions, including chronic respiratory difficulties. This makes drinking water the first order of business when assessing emergency needs. Many people will keep both potable and functional water in storage for these purposes, but this may not be sufficient for the amount of people or the amount of time in the emergency. Disinfecting water also needs to be considered a multi-step endeavor, since both microbes and debris in the fluid can cause ill health. Boiling the water for at least 15 minutes and then passing it through a filter can ensure its safety. The use of additives such as iodine or calcium hypochlorite can also kill off parasites and other micro-organisms in the water, while portable water filters that are at least 1µ or smaller can also contend with organics and some minerals and debris.
It is always important to remember that even if collected rain water or streams look clear, they could still be filled with harmful potential.
Food And Stuff
If a person has sufficient skill to forage for fresh foods, then it is always recommended that these be well rinsed, using a light solution of water and dish soap to wash the consumables. However, it is far more common that long-term food storage
and food kits will also be provisions, and while well stored foods can be viable for years, the utensils that are used will still need cleaning. Soaking utensils and dishes in a bleach and water bath and then letting them dry can be effective, but boiling the items in soapy water can also be a good way to clean and disinfect for health and safety.