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Saturday, August 6, 2016

Water Purification Using Chemical Treatments

Water purification tablets are a great back up form of water treatment. They are excellent Bug Out Bags and survival kits because they are light weight and inexpensive. Water purification tablets are also great to store in your vehicle or your bug out location to disinfect water on demand.  If the water supply I am drawing from is extremely shady I combine both a filter and the tablets to ensure my safety. Also, be aware that water purification tablets have a shelf life. Check the expiration dates on your tablets and replace any that are expired.

Water purification can come in tablet or droplet form. The tablet form is better because it is a lighter weight that droplets and easy to use when in a stressful situation.

Two water born pathogens that commonly found in untreated water- Cryptosporidium and Giardia.

Cryptosporidium is a genus of apicomplexan protozoans that can cause gastrointestinal illness with diarrhea in humans. According to the CDC it is one of the most frequent causes of waterborne disease among humans in the United States. In a disaster situation where government maintained services are effected, it is highly likely that this protozoa parasite will find its way into our water supply.

Giardia attached to the wall of the small intestines. Giardia is also an infectious protozoa and it is a big deal in emergency preparedness because it can have such a dramatic effect on your health. The symptoms of Giardia, may begin to appear 2 days after infection, include violent diarrhea, excess gas, stomach or abdominal cramps, upset stomach, and nausea. 

The typical infection within an individual can be slight, resolve without treatment in about 2–6 weeks, although sometimes longer and sometimes the infection is more severe requiring immediate medical attention. 

There are three main types of water purification tablets on the market (Chlorine (NaDCC), Iodine and Chlorine Dioxide) . Not all are equal as each one has its strengths and weaknesses. Choose the purification tablet that works the best with your situation and location.

Chlorine Dioxide Tablets (Potable Aqua, Katadyn and Aquamira Brands). Even though the word “chlorine” is in the name, chlorine dioxide is neither iodine nor chlorine. It uses a highly active form of oxygen to purify water so it leaves absolutely zero taste. As a nice bonus the action of chlorine dioxide causes a lot of sediment to drop out of suspension (fall to the bottom) leaving the container of water more clear and further improving flavor. Chlorine dioxide tablets are a good choice for those allergic to iodine, with thyroid problems, or on lithium. Always follow product usage instructions.

Chlorine NaDCC Tablets (Potable Aqua, Oasis Plus, Aquatabsand Rothco’s Military “Chlor-Floc“ Brands). NaDCC, also known as sodium dichloroisocyanurate or sodium troclosene, is a form of chlorine used for disinfection. NaDCC tablets are different and improved over the older chlorine based (halazone) tablets. When added to water, NaDCC releases hydrochloric acid which reacts through oxidization with microorganisms and kills them. Many tablets advertise no chlorine after taste. Unopened NaDCC tablets have a shelf life of 3-5 years, if opened they should be discarded after 3 months. Always follow product usage instructions. 

Iodine Tablets (Potable Aqua,Coleman, and Coghlans brands). Iodine Tablets use iodine to purify contaminated water. Most iodine purification tablets tend to leave a funny taste to the water and some discoloration, however vitamin C or ascorbic acid can be added after the treatment time to improve the taste and remove the color. This often comes in the form of two bottles with two separate tablets. Iodine water treatment has been proven to be somewhat effective against Giardia and not effective against Crytosporidium.  Always follow product usage instructions. 

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Improvised Survival Life Vest

Your pants can be used for more things than just holding your wallet and keys. Your pants can actually help save your life in a water survival scenario.

Lets use a scenario where you are out boating several miles from shore and for some unforeseeable reason the boat sinks. The boat owner did not have life jackets or any other flotation devices on board. Hopefully, you are not the boat owner that made that costly mistake.

Now, the boat is nowhere in sight because it is now at the bottom of the lake. You are alone and hopefully have some type of swimming skills, especially on how to tread water. If you can not swim, I would suggest learning now before you need the ability to do so. If you can't swim or tread water, this technique will not work for you.

If you are wearing shoes, attempt to remove at least one show string and discard your shoes. This will remove some wait that will drag you down. Hold the shoe string in your mouth until needed for the next steps. If you are able to tie the bottom of the pant legs together into a knot, then you may not need the shoe strings. It depends on how thick your pant material is and the pant size. The larger the pants, the more difficult to tie. I know from experience. 

Remove your belt if you have one. Remove any heavy objects from the pockets like keys, etc.

While doing these steps, it is important not to panic. You may need to go under water once in awhile to do some of these steps to relieve some pressure from treading water. Just hold your breath, sink a little, do a step, and then come back up for air. The colder the water, the harder it is to do these steps.

After removing the belt and other items, if you are able to slip your pants off without undoing the snap and zipper then do so. If not, you will have to close the snap and zipper after removing your pants.

Once the pants are off and everything is snapped up, you will need to tie the pant legs together at the cuff so that air will not escape through them. If you are able to tie the legs together into a knot without using the string, then do that. If it is difficult, then use the shoe string. I prefer to use the shoe string because I can tie the pant leg opening closer to the ends so that it will hold more air.

Next, will need to place your head between the opening of the pant legs with the cuff facing to your back and the zipper facing down into the water. You should be looking at your rear pant pockets if done correctly. 

Next, bring the opening up above your head and the scoop downward toward the water trapping air into the pant legs. You need to squeeze the belt opening together at chest level so that air does not escape back out. You will need to do this step as needed to keep air in the legs. You can also slightly open the belt area up and slap water and air into the opening and then close it back up.

Next, after the pant legs are puffed up with air, lean back slightly while keeping the belt opening closed at the chest with your arms. Determine where the nearest landfall is and start pedaling with your feet toward that direction. You will be traveling backwards, so every now and then look back to make sure your are not heading for any type of hazard or danger.

There is an alteration to this technique. You can tie off each pant leg individually resulting in two floating ends. You keep the belt opening down into the water and place your chest between the crotch area and you can pedal forward on your chest rather than on your back.

Note:  If your pants have holes in the knees or crotch area, this technique will not work.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Friday, July 22, 2016

Cotton Ball Friction Fire

Items needed:

100% cotton balls
Wood ash (the white part of the burnt fire)
Two wood boards (2 x 4, 1 x 4 etc.)
Tender bundle

Prepare the cotton ball by opening it up and form it into square shape. Put about a teaspoon of wood ash on top of the bottom 1/3 of the cotton strip. 

Starting from the bottom, roll the cotton ball as tight as you can get it. Next, roll the cotton cylinder on the board with the palm of your hand to make it tighter. Then, using one of the flat boards, roll it again to make it even tighter.

Next, using the same board, begin rolling the cotton cylinder back and forth in a sawing motion, pressing down with firm pressure. After about 12-15 strokes, lift the board and check for embers. If you see smoke, you make have to open the center of the cylinder a little, to let in some oxygen.

If it has not started to smoke or catch and ember, continue to with the sawing motion until an ember or smoke is produced. If the material is spent and has not produced smoke, you may need to make another bundle and start again. Add a little more of the ash on the second attempt.

Once you have obtained an ember, transfer it to the tender bundle and complete your fire making steps.

Other materials can be used to produce the same effects. Cotton cloth strips, paper towels, dried yucca fibers can be substituted for the cotton balls. Rust from metal can be used in place of the wood ash.

A flat rock can used as a base instead of wood.

Stay prepared! Stay Alive!