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In survival, as in all aspects of life, it is easier to be organized if we prioritize. The priorities, in order, are shelter, water, heat, food, signal, and utility. You can live four to six weeks without food; three to five days without water; but hypothermia will kill you in 30 minutes. Therefore shelter is the first priority!
Shelter may be defined as anything that protects the human element from nature's elements. A good coat can't be beat, and it is easier to survive in the summer with winter clothes than in the winter with summer clothes.
Water is critical to survival. But where do you find safe drinking water in an emergency?
Boiling: This is the only process that is 100 percent effective in killing any crawlies, but it does not remove any "floaties". Water should be boiled for at least 10 minutes at a rolling boil. It tastes terrible because much of the dissolved air has been lost. You can improve the taste by pouring the boiled water back and forth between two clean containers several times.
Filtering: The easiest and most effective method of removing almost all crawlies and all but the smallest floaties. Does not affect the tastes of the water. You should look for one that filters down to 0.2 microns or less. A combination of filtering and boiling or treatment, when possible, it is the best way to ensure water safety.
Iodine: 75-90 percent effective in killing crawlies, but does not remove floaties. The effectiveness of this method depends on water temperature and contact time. Iodine does affect the taste of the water. Avoided like the plague Iodine tablets sold as "military surplus." The reason they are surplus is because they have exceeded the shelf life of five years and the military, by regulation, cannot issue them. Always check the expiration date.
Bleach: Almost as effective as iodine in killing crawlies, but does nothing about floaties. Use four drops of regular chlorine bleach (not color safe or scented) per quart of water. Note that liquid bleach also loses potency over time, so bleach that has been stored for more than two years is not going to be very effective for water purification.
Water is critical. A filter and some iodine tablets in your kit are a good item to have.
Winter safety is a concern as we travel and play in the snow and cold. Here are some guidelines for being prepared to survive a cold weather emergency. This information can also be used to make you more comfortable while enjoying outdoor winter activities.
Anticipate that everything takes longer to do in the cold. Plan far ahead and don't become frustrated.
For more information on specific hazards, click on the following:
If you are a person with special needs or know a person with special needs and would like more information, click here.