Friday, July 20, 2018

Water must happen

New Zealanders are constantly reminded to be ready in case disaster strikes. That’s great advice in a geologically active country. Tsunamis and storms that are becoming much worse due to climate change are as much of a threat as earthquake and volcanoes are, and storms are the most likely disaster of all. All of them have the same basic requirements for preparation, and the messaging is now ramping up a bit.

It’s no longer just “Get Ready, Get Thru”, nor is it just about securing heavy objects like bookshelves, nor how to know when to run from the threat of a tsunami. Now, they’re adding specific advice for preparation for disaster.

The specialised “It Happens” site warns that “In New Zealand emergencies can happen anywhere, any time, and without warning. When they do, Civil Defence and emergency services will be busy helping the people who need them most.” In other words, we must be self-sufficient, which we should have known already. The site breaks this down into specific areas, like having enough water, for example.

The video above is a short message on how to save water for an emergency. I recently wrote about storing water for the animals, but the principles are the same for humans, too. The relevant part of the website has practical advice, such as:
Keep your empty water, juice and fizzy drink bottles, give them a good clean and fill them with water – you need three litres of water for each person for each day that you are without water. Don’t forget to store water for babies and pets too.
This is the first time I’ve seen messaging talk about the specific amount of water needed—AND the first time I’ve seen them mention pets. This is real progress. But this was even more practical advice:
You can keep stored drinking water for up to a year if you add non-scented household bleach (half a teaspoon for every ten litres of water and don’t drink for at least half an hour after mixing).
I actually knew about this. In fact, I specially bought a 1 litre bottle of plain bleach precisely for this purpose, and it became a part of our “Get Thru” kit—until I needed the bleach for cleaning. I should probably buy a new bottle from time to time, anyway.

I liked another thing labelled a “Top Tip”:
You can also fill plastic ice cream containers with water and keep them in the freezer. These can help keep food cool if the power is off and can also be used for drinking.
This is similar to what I did when there was a planned power outage last month, when I bought some ice and put a bowl in the fridge. At the time, I figured that in the event of a future power outage, I could put some ice in the fridge again. The ice cream tub idea is certainly easier and neater, even if they take up more room.

No one can ever know when a disaster of any sort will strike, though severe storms usually provide some warning. But no matter the disaster, it’s just smart to plan and prepare.

At our house, we’re much farther along than we were a few months ago, but we’re not done yet. This is a good reminder to finish the job.

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