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Today’s lesson came about from a conversation with a friend. He was looking into water purification for him and his wife. He wasn’t looking for a whole house system like a big Berkey, but something small for short term emergency use.
This lesson is all about Water Purification Needs for Individuals, but you can apply it to yourself, your spouse, your kids, as many people as you want really.
A core tenet of the Prepared Philosophy is to keep things simple, and something as critical to life as water needs to stay that way.
At its simplest, you should carry or store a water purification method for each person. If seven people live in your house, keep seven filters on hand. If it’s just you and your wife, then keep two.
And it should be easy to use.
Before we get into specifics, let’s talk first about why you should worry about clean water.
Why do I need to purify water?
Here’s a short list of why you should be able to purify your own water at the drop of a hat. These are all real world causes, most of which have happened this year (and every year).
- Chemical spills
- Sudden emergency evacuation from home for any reason
- Contaminated water utility (water plant, bad pipes, etc)
There’s tons more, but I hope you get my point. Anywhere, anytime, you could need a clean water source.
What kind of water purification?
Don’t stock bottled water for your primary source of water. It’s great to have on hand, but you need something better than that. After all, what if you have to evacuate on foot? Or you drink it all?
You need something you can carry with you.
You need a purifier that guarantees a steady supply of water from any source. If I get thirsty, I can use mine to drink safe water from a mud puddle, golf course pond, gas station toilet, or anything else.
My go-to choice for a water purification device is the Sawyer Mini. It’s small, lightweight, and, most important, simple to use.
It’s so simple, this is me training one of my kids how to use it. And here’s a hint- if you want to interest your kids in learning any of this stuff, gummy snacks go a long way.
Where do you keep it?
Our family keeps our Sawyer Mini filters in our Get Home Bags . The bags are always close at hand and always with us when we leave the house.
Aside from that we keep additional backup water sources at home.
What about backups?
Here’s my hierarchy for emergency water:
- Sawyer Mini (primary)- One per person
- Potable Aqua Purification Tablets– One bottle per person
- Bottled water- One case per person
What do I put it in?
Get a good non-breakable container like a Nalgene or just drink one of your bottles of water and use that.
Real Life Case Study: East Palestine Ohio Train Derailment
In February 2023, a 151 car train derailed near East Palestine, OH while carrying various toxic chemicals.
Not only did most of the cars rupture and spill, but a controlled burn of some of the chemicals was done to prevent massive explosions.
All of this resulted in contaminated drinking water for a large area of the United States.
Although for the long term, other filtering means would be needed, these people definitely needed emergency clean drinking water fast.
From an article at Science.org-
In general, “the U.S. has really safe water,” says Maura Allaire, a water economist at the University of California, Irvine.
Still, problems with drinking water crop up every year, and in some municipalities, year after year. The contaminants in the water can cause stomach flu or “more chronic conditions including a variety of cancers and neurological disorders,” she says.
Never Used a Sawyer Mini Before? No worries.
Here’s a quick video from Sawyer Products on how to use their Sawyer Mini