As a reminder, in order to earn an A grade in water storage you would need to have enough water on hand to last you for at least a 3 month period, plus have some way to filter or purify additional water. Again, following the required water guidelines, that would mean that you would need to have 180 Litres to earn an A (absolute survival), or 360 Litres per person to earn an A+ (survival plus a few basics).
- – - Calculation for an A: 2 Litres per Person per Day x 90 days = 180 Litres per Person (survival) – – –
- – - Calculation for an A+ : 4 Litres per Person per Day x 90 days = 360 Litres per Person (survival plus a few basics) – – –
When creating a long term water storage strategy, it is important to consider a means by which you can continue to filter or purify water so that you aren’t living off of a limited commodity. The old chinese proverb stands true when it comes to water storage.
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”
It is better to be in the ‘taught’ group on this one and have the knowledge and proper tools so that you would be capable of purifying more water for your family vs. trying to survive off of a dwindling supply.
To start with, let’s talk about what we recommend as Best Practise in regards to long term water storage. It is great to have some datrex water sachets around for a quick get-away, and a few Samson Stackers to provide for some mid-term water storage mobility, but when it comes to long term water storage, we hands down recommend consolidating the bulk of your water storage into a larger unit to save on space and hassle. We favour Super Tankers, which are known as the ‘best in-home water storage unit’ because of their small footprint, ease of use and ability to fit through any doorway or clear any 8 foot ceiling. Super Tankers are available in two sizes: 125 Gallon (473 Litres) or 250 Gallon (946 Litres) - both taking up the same size foot print of 28 inches by 36 inches.
To put this into perspective a small Super Tanker (125 G) can provide a 3 month supply of water for two people (based on 2.6 Litres per person per day) and a large Super Tanker (250 G) can provide a 3 month supply of water for a family of four (based on 2.6 Litres per person per day). Due to the cost vs. benefit ratio, we always recommend that people invest in the 250 gallon Super Tanker if budget and space allow as you get double the water storage in the same foot print without double the cost.
It is also important to remember the shelf life of water when preparing your long term water storage. If you remember from what we had mentioned before, regular tap water has a storage life between 6-12 months. Babysitting and rotating water storage can be an absolute nightmare, so I was personally ecstatic when I discover a product that extends the life of water from 6 months to 5 years! Aerobic Oxygen is a tasteless, ordourless, liquid additive that kills any infectious bacteria prevelant in your water supply. If you wanted to extend the storage life of any water stored in a small super tanker (125 gallons), you would simply pour 4 oz. of Aerobic Oxygen into the storage unit, and likewise, 8 oz. would purify and extend the life of any water stored in a large Super Tanker (250 gallons). Aerobic Oxygen can even be added to mid-term water storage units in smaller quantities ( about 1/4 of an ounce or 100 drops per Samson Stacker, or 5-10 drops per Litre) to get the same storage-extending results.
On a side note, there are 2 types of bacteria that can be found in a water supply – the type that are good for you and essential to your health, and the type that are infectious and attack your body (infectious anaerobic bacteria). When you add an ‘unstable’ product to water such as chlorine or bleach, it ends up killing both types of bacteria. If you were instead to add a ‘stable’ product such as Aerobic Oxygen, it kills all of the anaerobic bacteria but leaves the healthy bacteria untouched and intact – resulting in a healthier, balanced water supply.
Preparing a 3 months supply of water will earn you an A grade in water storage, but you really need to have a backup filtration or purification system in place to earn an A+. There is an endless supply of filtration/purification systems out there, but we actually recommend one of the most simple (and affordable), yet effective options available. Whoever said ‘good things come in small packages’ were right when it comes to the Seychelle Pure Water Filter Straw. It is one of the most affordable and vital lines of defense that I have come across with it’s ability to purify 25 gallons of water! We also love the mobility and universality of this little tool as it’s size allows it to fit almost anywhere and it can be used for alternative purposes such as hiking, camping or even purify water on foreign travels.
Now that we have summed up the first are of preparation and the ABC’s of Water, I sincerely urge you to take your water preparations seriously – even if a C grade is all you can manage at this point, it is far better then remaining completely dependent on the belief that water will continue to pour out of our taps endlessly.
As a reminder, in order to earn a B grade in water storage you would need to have enough water on hand to last you for a 2 week period. It would likely get very difficult to survive on 1/4 of a Litre per day for anything over a week, so for mid to long term water storage, we bump the minimum up to 2 Litres per person per day, which means, bottom line – you would need to store at least 28 Litres per person (allowing 2 Litres of water to be used each day).
- – - Calculation for a C: 2 Litres per Person per Day x 14 days = 28 Litres per Person (as the minimum) – - –
When it comes to mid-term water storage, the choice between mobility vs. consolitating your water storage becomes one of personal preference, budget and space.
If you prefer to have the ability of moving your water storage quickly and/or want to be able to take it with you, it is best to stay with a small, compact units like the 5 gallon Samson Stacker. In order to earn a C by storing your 28 Litres, you would require 6 Samson Stackers per person. If you were wanting to improve your grade to a C+ (56 Litres of water per person which allows 4 Litres to be used each day), you would require 12 Samson Stackers per person. It is at this point that some people start to consider consolidating their water storage into a mid-size water storage unit, especially if there are a lot of people living at their home.
- – - Calculation for a C+ : 4 Litres per Person per Day x 14 days = 56 of a Litre per Person
If you prefer consolidating your water storage and are not overly worried about mobility, we suggest a mid-size unit called a 125 Gallon Super Tanker (which holds 473 Litres). A water storage unit of this size can provide a 2 Litre supply (2 litres per person per day) that will last a family of 4 for two months. We think the Super Tanker water storage units are some of the best in-home water storage units around because they are designed at a width that will fit through any doorway (28 inches wide). They are made out of food grade polyethelene, are seamless, gravity fed, and have an air-tight cap that automatically vents when water is dispensed.
One of the trickiest things involving mid-to-long term water storage is to keep your supply fresh and potable (drinkable). Water is a solvent and eventually breaks down no matter what it is stored in. The typical storage life for treated tap water ranges from 6-12 months, meaning you may have to babysit your water up to 2 times a year to keep it viable.
If you have ever had to ‘rotate’ your water storage, you will quickly agree with me that it is one of the least favourite items on your to-do-list. I have personally spent full days empting and refilling water storage containers (not to mention that water is very heavy and can take quite a toll on your body if you have to haul it around, or worse, up and down stairs) and was ecstatic to learn that there are ways to extend your water storage shelf life from 6 months to 5 years. I will go into more detail about extending the life expectancy of your water storage in the next post when we cover long term water storage (finally a way to stop babysitting your water)!
As a reminder, in order to earn a C grade in water storage you would need to have enough water on hand to last you for a 72-hour time period. Bottom line means that you would need to store at least 3/4 of a Litre per person (allowing 1/4 of a Litre to be consumed each day) for absolute survival.
- – - Calculation: 1/4 Litre per Person per Day x 3 days = 3/4 of a Litre per Person (as the minimum) – - –
It is highly recommended that short term water storage of this type be highly mobile, as it is important for it to still be usable in an evacuation-type setting. In the past, the experts used to recommend water that was stored in juice-box type cartons, but have since altered their advice as the carton packaging isn’t very durable and doesn’t hold up well in the real world (especially in backpacks and 72-hr kits).
It is also wise to be very cautious when storing bottled water as the plastic container actually breathes and can contaminate the water with toxins, chemicals, tastes and ordours – especially if the container has been previously used for other purposes (ie. milk jugs, etc.). It is also important to note that the storage life of bottled water or water cooler jugs commonly bought at local grocery stores are limited to 6-12 months.
Now that we have covered the things to avoid or at least be aware of, you may be wondering what is left! The US and International Coast Guards actually approve and suggest water that is sealed into Mylar Sachets (or pouches). If you aren’t familiar with Mylar, you will be soon as it is one of the best barriers out there to use when it comes to minimizing air transfer and protecting your water or food! The benefit to these Mylar Sachets are that they are highly durable and can even withstand any freezing or thawing conditions that may occur from remaining in a car or emergency pack year-round.
The brand that we prefer and recommend are called Datrex Emergency Drinking Water Sachets, which offer water that has been through some of the most stringent purification systems around and boasts a 5+ year shelf life (compared to the 6-12 month storage life of regular tap water). Each sachet contains 125 mL of water, which means that you would need to have 6 sachets on hand to provide for a 72-hour period (you would need to drink 2 per day to maintain minimum required water intake for survival). In our opinion, the Best Practice to earn a C on our Water scale is to store 6 sachets of water per person in either your car, a 72-hour kit, your workplace or somewhere else that is easily accessible in times of emergency.
In order to bump your grade up to a C+ (which is to store 12 Litres per person of water, or 4 Litres per person per day), it is great to have some small water storage containers filled nearby. Having investigated the benefits and drawbacks of many different small water storage container, we recommend a 5 Gallon unit called a Samson Stacker. It rates high on our list due to it durability, size, carrying handle, nested stackability and tap/spigot. If you were aiming to achieve a C+ for 1 person, you could fill and store 3 Samson Stackers and even have a little bit of extra water left over for any unforseen circumstances. These 5 gallon Samson Stackers even work great for mid-term water storage, but we will discuss that in more depth when we cover the Water guidance and best practices for earning a B Grade in our next post!
In our day of running tap water and heavenly hot showers, the blessing of water is often overlooked and even taken for granted. Most haven’t considered the possibility of that blessing pausing, or even worse, ceasing. When I was growing up in a small town of 300, about twice a year we would be given a 2 day notice that the water would be turned off for a morning or afternoon for upgrades and maintenance. I have vivid memories of helping my mom fill up all of the juice pitchers, pots/pans and the bath tubs so that we would have access to water throughout the day. Since moving from that little town, I don’t think I have experienced the water being shut off since…it just doesn’t happen, or is very rare in larger communities. Unfortunately this undisrupted supply of water can cause a lot of us to neglect the thought of it ever being shut off.
It is our hope that you will choose to avoid the consequences of relying on the instant gratification of tap water by having some extra water on hand. Now you are likely asking, ‘What exactly do you mean by some’ as that is a little vague. Well that is where our ABC’s of water come into play.
Just to offer a refresher on the ABC rating system:
- C – Means it is a GOOD first line of defense
- B - Means that when you combine this level with C, you have just created an even BETTER line of defense
- A – Means that when you have all of A,B & C in place, you have are protected by the BEST line of defense
When it comes to water, the grading is based on how long your water supply will last you.
C Grade –
This is to have enough water on hand to last you for a 72-hour time period. Our bodies can survive for 2-3 days without water (which isn’t very long), and require approximately 1/4 of a Litre per day for basic survival.
Just to give you a frame of reference, the average healthy person drinks 2 Litres of water per day. The Canadian government advises that we actually store 4 Litres per person per day in order to account for drinking water, basic hygiene (ie. brushing your teeth) and basic cooking. They have also pointed out that more water would likely be needed in an emergency scenario in order to tend to the injured and/or for little children who would struggle on rations.
Bottom line, this means that you need to have 3/4 of a Litre per person in order to earn a C (absolute survival) - or – 12 Litres per person in order to earn a C+ (survival plus a few basics). Ideally this water storage (short term water storage) should have the ability to go mobile quickly in case of an evacuation.
B Grade –
This level is to have enough water on hand to last you for a 2 week period. It would likely get very difficult to survive on 1/4 of a Litre per day for anything over a week, so for mid to long term water storage, we bump the minimum up to 2 Litres per person per day. Following those guidelines and what we covered in level C, this would mean that you would need to have 28 Litres per person to earn a B ( survival) or 56 Litres per person to earn a B+ (survival plus a few basics).
A Grade -
This level is to have enough water on hand to last you for a 3 month period, plus have some way to filter or purify additional water. Again, following the required water guidelines, that would mean that you would need to have 180 Litres to earn an A (absolute survival), or 360 Litres per person to earn an A+ (survival plus a few basics). When considering a long term water storage plan, as an A Grade does, it is important to calculate in a way that you can continue to filter or purify water so that you aren’t living off of a limited commodity because you would be capable of preparing more.
In an effort to keep these posts simple (and not TOO overwhelming), I will create 1 post on the guidelines and basic knowledge of each Area of Preparedness, and then follow that up with a secondary post to cover the best practices and expert’s guidance on how to efectively accomplish those ABC’s. So stay tuned, as we will cover some great ways to accomplish the ABC’s of Water Storage in our next post!
``It is very true that out of simple beginnings… Great things evolve!
It was a simple start that led us along a winding pathway to end up with us guiding others through preparedness. I was 17 when it occurred to me that I probably shouldn’t expect to rely on my parents forever and naively expect them to carry the full weight of my welfare. It was then that I began to save $5 a week to put toward my own little personal food storage stash. It is amazing how quick 1 jar of peanut butter here, and a couple boxes of crackers there actually add up! It didn’t take long before I had 2 full shelves of food in my closet, and that was the beginning of Emergency Preparedness as I knew it!
My hobby and interest in learning and practicing preparedness tips and tricks grew as the years sped by, until I eventually found myself coaching and guiding others along the beginnings of their preparedness journeys. When that combined with an amazing opportunity to link arms with some of the most leading experts in the Preparedness Industry to reach out and teach more people, we just couldn’t resist!
It doesn’t matter whether you are just beginning your emergency preparedness journey, are lost or stalled somewhere along the way, or are even a seasoned pro – as I will share the knowledge that I have gained in a very simple plan….and even add some fun tidbits in for our resident pros!
The best place to start in learning a new language are with your ABC’s and 1,2,3′s – just as learning and implementing Emergency Preparedness techniques has it’s ABC’s and 1,2,3′s.
The 1,2,3′s of Short and Long term Preparedness are found in the 8 Areas of Preparedness:
- First Aid
The ABC’s are simply a grade or level of preparedness in each of these 8 areas:
- C – Good
- B – Better
- A – Best
As we learn about the ABC’s and 1,2,3s of Emergency Preparedness, you will be able to watch your understanding and knowledge blossom from Simple to Great!