This winter has brought plenty of snow and rain to the western states. We’ve been seeing record amounts of moisture, and while it is much needed due to the droughts that have been experienced in recent years, the levels we’re seeing are causing other natural disasters such as floods. While the waters rise, images of children’s playgrounds turned into water parks and kayakers riding down the middle of flooded streets are surfacing on the internet. Not only are the water levels rising, but the cost of damage is rising as well. Roads are unsafe to travel on, businesses have closed their doors, and homes have been evacuated. If you have been issued a flood watch or a flood warning, you’ll need to head to higher ground and take your emergency kit with you.
Having the right items in your emergency kit takes preparation before the event takes place. If you were told to evacuate right now, you will need to have everything contained in an easy to grab container such as a backpack so you can run out your door. Assemble your kit now so that you are prepared should you need to evacuate. While you may be thinking of all of the items that you would need to keep dry in a flood, there are other crucial items that need to be added to your kit as well. Have you ever heard the saying “water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink?” This is especially true in a flood. You may be completely surrounded but water, but the water is so filthy, you shouldn’t drink it. Flood waters are filled with debris, animals that got caught in the rising water, and even sewage. That means you’ll be able to find Protozoan Cysts, Bacteria, and Viruses floating just outside the door. Having the right kind of materials to clean your water, could mean the difference between life and death. There are multiple ways to treat water on the market and it can be difficult to know the differences when looking at a package. The three main ways arethrough, filtration, microfiltration, and purification. Each category does something different and the best option is usually to combine.
Filtration – Filters are on the cheaper end of the scale. These are most often found in pump systems and in filter straws. They work by forcing water through a series of small pores to catch and trap themicro-organisms in the water. Water filters remove protozoan cysts and some bacteria’s. Since they don’t remove everything, these can’t be used by themselves to treat flood waters. There are too many micro-organisms that could get through.
Microfiltration – Microfilters are very similar to filtration in the way they work. However, the pore sizes are smaller, meaning they can trap protozoan cysts, bacteria, and even some viruses. They tend to be more expensive than filters, but are more reliable. However, they can’t filter out all viruses, meaning they need to be used with something else as well. These are most often found in pump systems and drip filters.
Purification – Purification is a way of killing all themicro-organisms in the water. Unfortunately, purification doesn’t remove them, and they can still be found in the water, but they are unable to hurt you. Purification can kill ALL micro-organisms in the water and are most often found in the form of a UV light and chemicals. You can also purify water by boiling it. Keep in mind that since it does not remove anything from the water,you water will still be filled with dirt, sand, and other debris. Some forms of purification will not work when the water is dirty, leaving you without clean water. Now, that we’ve discussed the different ways of cleaning water, which one is the best? Well, that depends on the situation, but having a combination of purification and either filters or microfilters will cover your bases. Microfilters and filters will remove the debris from the water (as well as the larger micro-organisms) and allow your purification method to kill theremining “bugs” in the water. As you narrow down your choices, keep in mind how many people you’ll be providing clean water storage for and how much water you need for drinking, cooking, and washing dishes. You’ll also want to make sure you wash your hands in clean water as well. By being able to provide clean water during a flood, you’ll be able to keep your family from getting sick from the water around them.