Today we introduce the first of a 10 article series that we’ll publish over the next 3 weeks introducing each of the 10 Foundations of Full Spectrum Preparedness in more detail. In these articles we’ll start fleshing out the Fundamentals of Full Spectrum Preparedness. Essentially, this series will discuss each Fundamental’s place in our Full Spectrum Preparedness cognitive model and briefly discuss how each Fundamental interacts with the other nine. These articles are about the concepts, in later articles we’ll provide practical tactics, techniques and procedures for each Fundamental. We begin with this discussion of Water in Full Spectrum Preparedness:
Why is Water Preparedness Important
It’s often been said that you can only live three days without water…that’s not true. I’ve read accounts of lost hikers dying from dehydration in as little as an afternoon and accounts of others living for up to a week (in optimum conditions) without water. That said, water is critical to maintaining life and therefore water preparedness is a critical element to your survival. Water is elemental (pun intended) to sanitation and food preparation as well as life itself.
The most basic use of water of course is for drinking/food preparation. There are two basic ways to make water potable (with many variations). Water can be treated (chemically, heated or UV), or filtered. We’ll discuss individual techniques in later articles, but those are the basic options.
Because water isn’t something you can do without… you should plan for a minimum of three water sources if the tap suddenly stops working.
- Stored for immediate needs. 1/2 to 3 Gallons per person
- A primary water source that’s as convenient as possible to your living area for situations your stored water can’t handle
- A secondary source if the primary dries up or otherwise becomes unavailable
Aspects of Water Preparedness
As we discussed in our article, Introduction to Full Spectrum Preparedness Doctrine, each Fundamental should be viewed both in terms of the following four aspects as well it’s interactions and overlap with the other Fundamentals. Viewing each Fundamental in these two ways should be help you develop a preparedness plan that is more comprehensive than any one-size-fits-all survival program. Consider your Water Preparedness in terms of:
- Knowledge & Skills: Knowledge is knowing how to do something, skill is actually being able to do it. In a short term emergency you should know how to make water potable and actually be able to do so (without making anyone sick). In longer term situations knowing how to safely acquire and disinfect large volumes of water are important. The more stored water you have on hand the more time you have if you need to transform knowledge into skills.
- Stuff: This is the storage and supplies you maintain to meet your water preparedness needs. Some of the stuff you should consider for your water preparedness are stored water, water storage containers, water purification chemicals, pots to boil water, plumbing supplies to bring water into the house or capture rainwater. If you’re going to purify by boiling you’ll need LOTS of fuel.
- Network: This is your personal network of friends and acquaintances. An example of the importance of a network to water preparedness is if your secondary source of water is on a neighboring property…only be forging relationships and being a good neighbor will you have access to this resource. Remember the best relationships provide benefits to both parties.
Water Preparedness & the Other Preparedness Fundamentals
As we’ve discussed previously, there is tremendous overlap between the Preparedness Fundamentals, which is why we refer to it as a ‘spectrum’ vs a category or list. Below are some examples and thoughts about how your Water Preparedness will interact and overlap with the other nine Fundamentals of Full Spectrum Preparedness
- Cognitive Preparedness: At the most basic level… this is knowing that it’s important to store water and have backup water sources.
- Communications Preparedness: While you’ll generally want to collect your water during the day, perhaps you’ll need to develop an after dark ‘announcement’ or password to let your neighbor know that you need to pass through their property to reach your water source. You don’t want to get shot just because you didn’t get started early enough on your evening bath.
- Family & Community Support: If you live in a small subdivision surrounding a lake or creek it’s imperative that all families living along the waterway cooperate to take the necessary sanitary precautions to keep from contaminating the water source. Notice how the Water Fundamental overlaps Personal Health as well as Family & Community Support in our example.
- Financial Preparedness: Do you have the savings to keep the tap turned on if you lose your job? Do you have barterable items to trade for water transportation or purification supplies if yours are stolen or damaged.
- Food Preparedness: Safe, potable water is necessary for food preparation and kitchen sanitation.
- Personal Health and Medical Preparedness: Safe water is a requirement for sanitation in order to stay healthy. How will you purify water, and hopefully heat it for bathing? What equipment or supplies will you need to accomplish bathing…maybe a solar shower or bucket with holes in it suspended over a drain…or maybe you just want a 5 gallon bucket and a wash rag. Are you fit enough to carry or transport the amount of water you’ll need for yourself and your family?
- Security Preparedness: When things get dangerous you’ll still need water. How will you maintain your personal security while fetching water, will you need someone standing guard while you’re working and carrying?
- Shelter, Clothing & Protection from the Elements: Can you use your shelter to collect water (rainwater catchment)? What will you need to wash your clothes if there’s no power…remember that dirty clothes are inefficient at protecting you from the elements. Water’s also necessary for maintaining a clean home.
- Transportation Preparedness: You’re going to need a lot of water, and you may be carrying it a long way. What will you transport your water in and with? Do you have an old backpack frame you can attach a bucket to? Maybe you’ve got 5 gallon buckets (over 40 lbs each when filled) and a little red wagon. Don’t count on that gator or ATV running forever even if you’re fortunate enough to have one in the garage. Maybe you have an old fashioned windmill that can pump (transport) water from your well into a holding tank that can gravity feed (more transportation) it into your home…you’ll need pipe and fittings if your plan is to build a system like this…better yet, build it now.
As you can see, the Aspects of each Preparedness Fundamental and the overlap with the remaining Fundamentals when considered together will help you build a more complete preparedness plan or as we call it…Full Spectrum Preparedness.