Storing Rainwater – Your Guide to a Safe Water Supply

Water is, of course, one of the most important resources to have in your emergency supplies. Traditionally, people tend to store tap water. However, many of you may want to use the natural resources you have. One of those natural resources is rainwater. Is rainwater safe to store? If so, what is the best way to gather and store it?

Rainwater Collection
Rainwater is generally safe to drink. After all, that’s where all of our water supply originates. Granted, the water that most of us use is generally filtered and treated. However, there are some things to consider when gathering rainwater.
Legality. Some areas (especially places with farming irrigation systems nearby) have laws against rainwater collection. Look for those laws and learn how to work with them, if necessary.
Areas to Avoid. Rainwater has to pass through layers of atmosphere before it hits the ground. If you live close to any radioactive sites, power plants, or other pollution-emitting facilities, you probably don’t want to collect water. It has the risk of adhering to air particulates that you probably don’t want to ingest.
Direct Collection. If you do choose to collect rainwater, the best way to do it is directly from a bucket or other wide-mouth container.You may be tempted to expedite the process by cleaning your downspout and collecting all the rain from there, but due to bacteria and other germs that can grow on your roof and downspout, that is not a safe idea.

Once your rainwater has been gathered, you want to make sure it’s clean before you store it. Make sure that the bucket you’ve used hasn’t gathered bird droppings, bugs, or other debris.
After collection, let the water sit for an hour or so. This will allow any larger particles that have fallen with the rain to settle at the bottom. You may also want to pass the water through a simple filter, like a coffee filter as you pour it into storage containers. To be sure there are no contaminants, you may want to look into stronger water filters that eliminate protozoa and other harmful bacteria.

Once your water is collected and placed in storage containers, you need to make sure the water stays safe.
BPA-Free Plastic. Make sure your containers are BPA-free plastic containers. If the container isn’t BPA free, you risk carcinogenic particles seeping into your water. Most containers made after 2008 and sold in the US are BPA free. However, you should always look for BPA free labels on your containers. If your container was purchased before 2008, it is probably not BPA free and should not be used.
Treatment. Water never goes bad. In fact, if you think about it, we have the same water that was on the earth when it was formed. It’s lived through millions of years of water cycles. However, even clean water needs to be protected against bacteria that can grow in it. The best way to protect water is to use a water preserver. A Sodium Hypochlorite solution with about 5.25% potency is a proven way to safely protect water. Use about 8 drops of the solution per gallon of water.
Storage Location. Store in a cool, dry place with minimal light. Light and heat cause bacterial growth. Since rainwater is never treated, it has a higher chance of bacterial growth. Even treated water will grow bacteria eventually. If you have a basement storage room, this is the ideal place for your water storage. You can store treated water in a cool, dark room for up to 5 years. Remember to check for bacterial growth every few months, even if your water is stored in an ideal climate.
Of course, you may not have an ideal water storage situation. That’s okay. It just means that you need to rotate it regularly. Use your stored rainwater to water your plants once a year, then regather rainwater during the next rainy days.

Collecting rainwater is one of the many ways you can be proactive with your preparedness goals. If you do so correctly, it can be a safe, efficient way of storing water. We’d love to hear your tips and ideas. If you’ve collected and stored rainwater, what advice do you have?


Would You Eat This?

My father served in the U.S. Army and fought in the Korean War.  He had many exciting stories of serving in the military and as kids, we would love to gather in my parent’s bedroom, wrestle and play king of the hill on the bed, have my dad read to us and tell us stories of serving his country.  My father was a very patriotic man, loved parades and found it easy to shed a tear singing the national anthem.

I’ll never forget a story he related regarding his time in basic training.  He talked about how everything was very regimented and if you didn’t follow every rule to a T, there were severe penalties that would be immediately prescribed.  This even included how and when you ate, what you ate, and how you cleaned up afterwards.

In their mess hall, there was a rule that you could take whatever you wanted to eat, but you must eat it all – there was no wasting of food allowed.  The food that was typically offered wasn’t anything to write home about and the cooks were less then chef quality.  One particular day, my father was very surprised to discover that the mess hall was serving steak.  This was very unusual and such a rare treat that my father decided to load up on the steaks knowing there would be no problem devouring them all.

After the first bite, my father knew he was in big trouble.  You see, those delicious looking steaks were in fact liver and my dad couldn’t stand liver!  It was all he could do to just swallow that first bite.  He glanced up at the mess Sargent who was standing near the tray return making sure all the food taken was indeed eaten and nothing thrown away.  Dad began to sweat knowing he was in big trouble – there was no way on earth he was going to be able to choke down those liver steaks, regardless of the impending wrath of the mess Sargent.

What to do, what to do – there didn’t seem to be a solution.  None of his buddies were about to save him – they just laughed and knew he was in big trouble.  When a soldier finished his meal, he wasn’t allowed to sit around and chit-chat.  He was to leave the mess hall passing the inspection of the mess Sargent.  Dad was stalling – eating his side dishes as slowly as he could till his buddies had left. With the clock ticking, he knew his time was up and he was about to give up and face the consequences the Sargent would be more than happy to deal out.

Then, out of the blue, Dad felt something brush up against his leg.  When he glanced down, he saw something that a soldier never would have expected to see in a military mess hall – it was a dog!  Had the Sargent known there was a dog inside, he would have blown his lid and found the responsible party to take out his anger.

Dad reached down and grabbed the dog so he wouldn’t leave and as nonchalantly as possible, Dad began feeding this miracle dog the stack of liver steaks he had on his tray.  Within a few minutes, Dad’s tray was as clean as any hungry soldier would have left it.  Without hesitating a second, Dad jumped up passing the Sargent, stacked his empty tray and made tracks out of there never looking back.  For as long as my dad was stationed at that base, he never saw the dog again.

Now most of us would have thought – just hold your nose and shovel the liver down.  Easy to say when you’re not the one on the receiving end.  Just last night, I tried to get my granddaughter to try some clam dip and you would have thought I was trying to get her to eat a spoonful of slimy worms.  She’d have none of it!

Over the years, I’ve heard people say, if my kids get hungry enough, they’ll eat anything.  There is some truth to this statement but time is the real factor.  “Hungry enough” is an interesting phrase.  Indeed, if an individual is approaching starvation, there are many examples through history where individuals will eat anything, even other humans.  This is of course the extreme and the last thing we would want is to have family members reach that level of starvation before they are willing to eat unfamiliar or less than appetizing food.  The emotional stress and trauma such a situation would case could scar someone for life.  Why would we ever want any loved one to go through that?

I’m not talking about catering to the finicky kid who won’t eat his vegetables or oatmeal.  Regular, every-day foods are not the issue.  But when we’re talking about serving up venison and lentils, don’t be surprised if you experience some resistance, especially from the younger ones.

There are two basic solutions to this dilemma:

1.  Store the type of foods your family is accustomed to eating. With freeze-dried foods, you can store just about any type of food you currently consume, including real meat.  No longer is it necessary to rely on bulk grains and powdered milk as your food storage plan.  In addition, a 25 year shelf life along with not having to cook you food (just add water), makes freeze-dried food the easiest, best tasting and most cost effective way to provide customary food for your family.

2.  Take the time to introduce all the perceived distasteful foods to your family now. Help them become familiar with the unusual and basic foods that are not typically available at the local grocery store.  Be prepared for a significant amount of push back from the kids and others even though your intent is to prepare them to feel comfortable with living off the land.  It’s not that this approach is wrong; it simply requires a lot of heavy lifting – a total commitment to learning a new lifestyle.  There are many folks who struggle with even the very basic concepts of storing simple foods.  Asking this group to fully embrace the survivalist approach of eating what you kill would be over the top for most.

Remember, when the need arises for you to use your food storage, chances are you will be experiencing a significant uptick in your stress levels.  If you ever needed easy to prepare, nutritious comfort food, it’s during these times of stress.  Make sure your plans address the need to reduce this stress and don’t insist that your family changes the way they eat – it’s not necessary and with help of freeze-dried food, you can keep your family focused on other important issues.

War-Torn Germany – How Did This Boy Survive?

A number of years ago, I had the memorable experience of listening to an order German man, Hans Bauer relate his experience of living in war-torn Germany in the early 40’s and what it was like to experience having one’s life turned completely upside down without warning.  The things he and his family experienced were never considered before the war, never taught by his family or in school and came completely unexpected.  His family was far from prepared (if it’s ever possible to be completely prepare for the horrors of war) and were thrown into survival mode with no idea how to do just that – survive.

Before WWII began in earnest, the Bauer family was just like any other industrious German family.  They lived in a medium sized town in a modest but nice apartment where many other families also resided with similar lifestyles.  Mr. Bauer would commute by train to a nearby larger city every day where he was employed by a large firm as an engineer.  Family life for the children included school and sports and spending time with their friends.  One of the sons, Hans , related how he often gave his mother grief by not eating what was placed before him.

For some bizarre reason, Hans disliked bacon.  I know, it’s hard to believe.  As I tell my wife, the only thing that’s better than bacon is bacon-wrapped bacon.  Anyway, back to the story.  Hans related that whenever he was served bacon, which was usually chopped up into smaller pieces and mixed with other foods, he would pick out the bacon pieces and place them around the edge of his plate.  He said he would call them “spectators” and allowed them to watch him eat the rest of his dinner.  Something only a kid would do.  This info will become much more relevant later in the story.

As the war broke out, it was more of a distant concern with little combat taking place anywhere near their town.  Then, almost without warning, their town and surrounding cities were heavily bombed by allied forces.  There was just enough advance notice that the Bauer family was able to quickly evacuate their apartment, leaving all their belongings behind.  After what seemed like hours, they finally had the courage to come up from the basement of their church where they, with many other families, had sought refuge and protection for the bombing.

It was still dark out as the bombing had taken place in the middle of the night.  There were fires everywhere and it was very difficult to recognize their neighborhood or any surrounding area.  It wasn’t until morning that they were able to see the full extent of the devastation that rained down on them the night before.

More than 50% of the buildings, apartments and houses were totally leveled, many of which were still burning, giving off a terrible black, acrid smoke.  Slowly, others began to emerge from their make-shift bomb shelters, faced with what would change their lives forever.  There were a fortunate few whose dwellings were just slightly damaged while there were some that were miraculously completely untouched.

The Bauer family was unfortunately not in that later group, their apartment building was totally leveled and smoking, even though no flames were visible.  It didn’t take long for shock to set in and a feeling that this all must be a dream or rather a terrible nightmare.  What was most important was that the Bauer’s and their three children were safe, is spite of not knowing what to do next.  It was interesting to note that what was needed most was clean drinking water.  During those first several hours, what to eat wasn’t foremost on their mind, but the shock and stress had created a powerful thrust for everyone.  Luckily, there was a stream about a mile from where they lived where water was available.

As the Bauer’s walked towards the stream, it was difficult to keep from being overcome with emotion as they saw things unspeakable.  Images of those who had perished and others who were consumed with grief by family members who were taken, haunted the Bauer children the rest of their lives.  As the reality of their situation set in, Mr. Bauer realized he needed to find shelter for his family and was at a loss as to where they could go.  As they walked back towards where their apartment once stood, Mr. Bauer noticed a sedan on the ruble strewn road that was only partially damaged.  Not having had the time to scout out a more suitable location for his family, all five of them climbed into the car and began to awaken to the true gravity of their situation.

Knowing they had temporary shelter and access to drinking water, the next concern surfaced as the younger kids began to complain they were hungry.  With no access to their belongings or any provision they may have had in their apartment, Mr. Bauer realized he needed to find food for his family.  After a tearful good-bye, Mr. Bauer left his family in search for food.

Fast forward three days – the Bauer family was still sleeping in the abandon car and the Bauer family grew ever more concerned about seeing their father again as well as being desperate for something to eat.  Three days without food, other than trying to eat roots and grass by the stream, had caused extreme stress for Mrs. Bauer as she was consumed with trying to calm her distraught children.

Then on the evening of the third day, the family was overjoyed to see their father returning to their aid.  Not knowing really what they expected, they were a little concerned when they didn’t see their father carrying anything.  They had imagined he would return with a sack full of wonderful food – a picture they had dreamt about for three days.

Everyone jumped out of the car and ran to their father, Mrs. Bauer and the children sobbed as they embraced their father.  After a very emotional embrace with his wife and children, Mr. Bauer asked his family to return to the car.  After they all climbed back in the car, Mr. Bauer with tears in his eyes pulled out of his coat pocket the only food he was able to locate for his family.  He held in his had a small gift from God that was carefully wrapped in his handkerchief.

As the family leaned in close to their father with greater anticipation than opening any Christmas gift, their father slowly unwrapped their treasure.  It was a piece of raw bacon about four inches square.  Each family member took a turn smelling the bacon and were overwhelmed with excitement and later stated they never remembered anything smelling as wonderful as that raw bacon did that evening.

Mr. Bauer took out his pocket knife and began to cut off very thin slices of bacon and gave one to each family member.  Hans, the hater of all things bacon, said he remembers putting that thin slice of raw bacon in his mouth and just sucking on it.  He didn’t want to chew it because it would be gone too fast.  In spite of his previous dislike for bacon, he said he never remembered anything tasting as good or being as satisfying as that small slice of raw bacon.  It’s been a very powerful lesson for Hans all his life.

Hans went on to relate that his family was eventually taken in by another family that had a small room where the Bauer’s could stay while the very painful and often traumatic months of recovery unfolded.  Food and other provisions continued to be an extreme challenge and many ongoing days and nights were filled with the fear of additional bombings as well as the fear of having nothing to eat the following day.

Hans made an interesting observation at the end of his story.  He related how there were a number of industrious individuals who were somehow able to establish access to certain food items that were made available to survivors for a price.  Paper money had no value and was not used but precious metals including jewelry, wedding rings or any form of gold or silver was used to purchase these food items.  The most valuable commodity of all was food itself and the most valuable food item was “fat” as Hans put it.  In other words, the richest individuals during that time where those who had some supply of oil, lard or some type of fat.  This was highly sought after for the energy, calories and flavor it added to the limited supply of bread or basic grains that could found.

At the end of his story, Hans plead with us to put an ample supply of food aside for any possible occasion when grocery stores wouldn’t be an option.  He also stressed the need to have plenty of storable “fat” as part of our food storage.  All I kept thinking about afterwards was how valuable his story was and how we must learn from the experience of others.

The Good Samaritan

The parable of The Good Samaritan can be found in Luke chapter 10 in the New Testament in the Bible. It is the story of a man on his way to Jerico. Along the way, he was set upon by robbers. He was robbed and beaten and left for dead. Several people passed the poor injured soul. A priest and a Levite passed the man and did nothing. A Samaritan came along and saw the injured man. He dressed the man’s wounds, gave him water, took him to a safe place to recover, and paid for his treatment.

What can we learn from this sad tale? A simple kindness can go a long way. The Samaritan didn’t have to stop and help the injured man. Perhaps the Samaritan was in a rush and was low and supplies. He still took the time out of his day to care for another’s needs. 

The priest and the Levite didn’t even take a second glance at the dying man. In ancient Jerusalem, priests were held in high regard. Levites were a chosen few, their character was above reproach. Priest and Levites worked together in holy temple to ensure that the blessings of God followed unto the people. So why would holy men leave someone to died?

For our purposes, the priest and Levite can represent governments or charity organizations. Those individuals tasked with helping during a disaster situation. For whatever reason, they were unable or unwilling to help. You might be self-reliant and help yourself and those in your community. 

Store extra food, water, and other supplies to help those less able to help themselves in your community. Samaritans were thought of as a lesser population in the ancient world. They weren’t anything important or special, they were just regular folk. The Good Samaritan was just a regular man on his merry way but he saw a need and stopped to help. You can do the same with those around you. You can help tend to a wound with your first-aid kit, give water from your storage, and provide a safe place to sleep with extra blankets or sleeping bags.

Donate what you can to your local food banks. There are always people in need even if there isn’t a disaster. When disaster strikes, be aware of who needs help in your community. Work together to set up a medical center in order to quickly and efficiently treat wounds. Create a group kitchen to make sure everyone is fed. Pull out tents and sleeping bags to camp in backyards or garages. Ideally, others in your area will have prepared as well. Joining your resources together might give everyone access to things they didn’t have themselves. Store enough supplies for your family and then some, the more you have the more you can share or barter with. 

An Ounce of Prevention

I spent several hours in a hospital with my daughter the other day.  She had fractured her ankle in two places in a freak accident.  She initially thought it was just a bad sprain but after insisting she get it looked at, she let me take her to an InstaCare facility where they x-rayed her ankle and found out the severity of the injury.  It was determined she needed surgery where several screws would be placed in two of her ankle bones to assure the healing process would proceed correctly.

As my wife and I sat in the surgery pre-op room, multiple medical professionals kept coming into the room to check and double check everything was in order for things to go as well as possible in surgery.  I counted seven different individuals who assisted my daughter before her surgery and I’m sure there were a number of others in the OR that I didn’t see and meet. Her doctor, nurses, anesthesiologist, case worker and several others whom I didn’t know were all there to insure things went smoothly and successfully.

A decision was made at the last minute to transport her to the main hospital rather than perform the surgery in the Orthopedic Center as originally planned.  There was a concern that due to the complicated nature of her particular injury, the doctor and anesthesiologist felt it would be best to perform the surgery at a location where they would have access to more sophisticated equipment and additional medically trained personnel.

In spite of the dollar signs flashing in front of my eyes thinking of all the extra costs associated with the move and possible spending a day or two in the main hospital, I was truly grateful that these additional measures were being taken to assure the safety and well-being of my daughter.  As her doctor mentioned to my wife and me, the likelihood of complications was low but they just didn’t think it was prudent to take the risk.

Being in the preparedness industry for well over 30 years now, it didn’t take me long to draw an analogy with this developing situation and emergency preparedness.  We’ve all heard the old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  There is great wisdom in those words; unfortunately that wisdom is mostly ignored by far too many of us.

It all started when we were kids and our moms would yell out to us as we ran out the door to play, “Be careful and look both ways when you cross the street!”  We would yell back, “OK mom” and then promptly ignore everything she said.  That’s just the way both mom’s and kids were made – moms can’t keep from warning their kids to be careful and kids can’t seem to help brushing it all off.  Somehow, our species continues to survive.

As our children grow into the sometime “brain dead” stage of teenagerhood, it becomes increasingly difficult to insist our kids “be careful” as they start to drive and act as if they are wise adults.  Unfortunately, far too often our teenagers are not careful – mistakes are made and sometimes very painful and costly consequences follow.  As parents, we naturally want to protect our children and shield them from the awful consequences of bad choices, but sometimes those consequences are necessary for our children to learn and hopefully not repeat harmful behavior.

In a way, many of us tend to act like teenagers when it comes to food storage and emergency preparedness.  We have the attitude of immortality – those bad things won’t happen to us.  And, if any such things should happen, we won’t be affected to any great level.  Plus, I’m sure that FEMA or some other government agency will take care of us.  Many simply don’t like the feeling we have this virtual over-protective mom insisting we “be careful” and prepare for more difficult times.  Some habits and behavior is simply hard to change.

One particular behavior that really gives me concern is the attitude that others will solve any given problem for us.  This idea we don’t have to worry because someone else is in a better position than we are and surely will want to help is a very dangerous mindset.  One of the many experiences my son and I had as we were caught in hurricane Katrina reinforces this concern.  Here’s an excerpt from my journal regarding one such issue.

“We walked over to the hotel lobby to check out and experienced a sad scene. There in the lobby were about 20 people, many older, who looked very forlorn and scared. They were all intently listening to a small transistor radio that was sitting on the reservations desk. The news they were hearing was not encouraging as they heard reports of the flooding and damage near the coast and they were holding on to the hope that the Red Cross would somehow find them and help them with food and supplies.”

“Many of these people hadn’t eaten for 24 hours and were getting worried as to where they would find their next meal. Then we heard someone outside yell that a restaurant across the street was open and had some food (it was easy to hear because one of the lobby glass doors had been blown out). Several people jumped up from the lobby and ran across the street with others only to be sadly disappointed when they found the doors locked. You could definitely see the hopeless feeling in their faces as they waited for someone else to save them.”

“This really bothered me. I never want to be in that condition – waiting for someone else to save or take care of me and my family. I think there was far too much of that in the whole Katrina disaster, people not taking responsibility for their own and expecting others to solve their problems. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely those who need help from others because of health, age, handicaps or other reasons, but those who are able need to step up and fend for themselves.”

One challenge those of us who believe in preparedness have is trying to convince others they should also prepare.  This is no easy task.  Nevertheless, the scriptures council us to try.  In Luke 22:32 we are told “…and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” We certainly can’t force others to see things the way we do but we need to try.

Preparing both mentally and physically for trying times ahead is not something we can do for others.  It requires a personal conversion to the wisdom of preparing for uncertain times.  It is frustrating to see relatives and friends ignoring the need to prepare while whispering behind your back that you’re considered somewhat of a fanatic.  Even the term “prepper” has lately developed into somewhat of an extremist’s interpretation, almost being put in the same class as “flat earthers”.  It really is sad to see peer pressure having such a negative effect on those who don’t want to be seen as “end of times” extremists.

We just need to take a deep breath and look rationally at the world around us.  Every day that passes, there are more reasons it just makes sense to prepare with a greater likelihood of needing those preps sooner rather than later.  Seriously, what’s the down side to preparing for potential troubled times ahead.  If we set some food aside along with other preparedness items, and nothing ever happens where we need to use it, we can still eat it rather than spending more of our hard earned money at the grocery store.  What a bonus!  You don’t get your health, home and auto insurance premium payments back if you never submit a claim – they’re gone forever.  Not so with your food insurance – you can eat your investment any time you wish.

It really does behoove us all to take a closer look at the wisdom behind the proven benefits of putting some effort towards preparing today to avoid the potential devastation of not being prepared to provide for our families is times of need.  I’m convinced; the time will shortly come when those who sacrificed to acquire their ounce of prevention will be forever grateful they were able to avoid the cost of the pound of cure.

DIY Water Filter

Access to clean drinking water is vital to survival. During a crisis, freshwater stores may be limited. Charcoal water filters have been used since the Ancient Egyptians. They work by absorption, negatively charged ion in contaminants are attracted to the positive ions in the charcoal. The contaminants are then trapped in the charcoal thereby cleaning the water.

You can make a water filter at home out of a few household items. By layering dirt and gravel in a plastic bottle you can recreate the layers of the Earth. As water follows through the ground it is naturally filtered and cleaned.


  • Plastic Bottle
  • Gravel
  • Activated Charcol
  • Fine Sand
  • Newspaper
  • Dirt
  • Water
  • Coffee Filter
  • Non-toxic Glue
  • 2 plastic buckets with lids
  • Beverage dispensing faucet
  • Sifter


  1. Push a wadded up piece of newspaper into the neck of the bottle. It should be a tight fit, this will prevent the dirt and gravel from falling out.
  2. Use scissors or a knife to cut the bottom off the of the plastic bottle.
  3. Break up the charcoal into small manageable pieces so they will fit inside the plastic bottle easier.
  4. Fill the bottle with a layer of the activated charcoal in first.
  5. Place a layer of sand on top of the charcoal next.
  6. Mix the dirt and gravel.
  7. Place the dirt and gravel mixture in last. The water should pass through the layers biggest particles to smallest.
  8. The buckets should be about the same height as the plastic bottle. The water should pass through the filter slowly for best results. The buckets will allow you to storage and access fresh water when needed.
  9. Removed the cap from the plastic bottle and set it aside for now.
  10. Cut a hole in the bottom bucket and attach the beverage dispensing faucet. This will allow you to easily access the filtered water.
  11. Cut a hole in the bucket lid to fit the plastic bottle.
  12. Cut a hole in the bottom of the second bucket to hold the plastic bottle in place.
  13. Use non-toxic glue to stack the two buckets on top of each other.
  14.  Push the plastic bottle filter through the hole. It should be a snug fit. Glue in place so it doesn’t move.
  15. Cut a hole for the sifter in the lid of the top bucket. This will catch any large particles as the water passes through it.
  16. Glue the sifter in place. Line it with fabric or a coffee filter to trap fine particles.
  17. Fill the filter with water. The filter will take a while to work.
  18. Open the faucet to access the newly filtered water.

The filter material should be changed regularly to prevent trapped bacteria from growing inside the filter. The charcoal will trap many contaminants, but it is unable to get rid of viruses or bacteria. Boil the filtered water to be safe.


Why is BPA Dangerous in Water Storage?

You’ve probably seen “BPA Free” on many of the plastic bottles at your local grocery store. You might be wondering what is BPA and does it matter if the products you buy are BPA free or not. The research is divided on how harmful BPA is, but researchers do agree that BPA does leach into food and water stored in containers made with BPA.

Bisphenol A better known as BPA is a chemical added to plastics. It is used to make the plastics hard and clear. BPA is used in everything from compact discs to baby bottles. 90% of people have a detectable amount of BPA in their urine. BPA gets into the body through food or water stored in containers made with the chemical.

Animals studies have shown an increased risk for cancer when exposed to BPA. Researchers are looking at a possible link between BPA and heart problems. BPA could have an effect on obesity, diabetes, and ADHD. Though more research is still needed.

BPA seems to affects the endocrine system, the body’s hormone center. BPA disrupts the body’s natural levels. Children are at an increased risk since their bodies are still developing and are less able to eliminate substances from their bodies. Babies whose mothers were exposed to BPA during their pregnancy had BPA present in their system at birth. Pregnant women should avoid products with BPA at all costs. It is still unclear what all the effects of BPA are.

Microwaving increases the amount of BPA that leaches out of the container and into the food or water. Heating up plastic containers should be avoided. Don’t leave water bottles in your car on a hot day. The heat can increase BPA leaching. Water storage containers should be kept in a cool dry place.

Several countries are phasing out BPA. Canada has even banned all products made with BPA. Companies are labeling their products “BPA Free” to help the public identify what is safe and what is not. When in doubt check for the recycle symbol. Most plastic goods will have a number 1-7 in the recycle triangle somewhere, typically on the bottom of the container. This indicates how easy the plastic is to recycle, in other words, what chemicals they might contain. A number 7 usually means BPA is present. Many large water storage containers are number 7 plastic, look for containers that are labeled “BPA Free” to ensure your water supply is safe.



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Keep your 72-hour Kit Up to Date

A 72-hour kit is one of the first things that comes to mind when thinking about emergency preparedness. What do you need in a good 72 hour kit? What’s the best way to adjust for your own family?

72-Hour Kit Supplies 

  • 1 gallon of water per person per day
  • 3 day supply of non-perishable food
  • Hand crank radio
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Can opener (not the electric kind)
  • Dusk mask to help filter contaminated air
  • Cell phone charger, possible a solar charger
  • First-aid kit
  • Duck tape and plastic sheeting to build a shelter
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Wet wipes/ toilet paper
  • Infant formula and diapers for babies
  • Comfort items for children (favorite snacks or toys)
  • Prescription medications
  • Pet food and water
  • Veterinary records for pets
  • Clean clothes and sturdy shoes
  • Cash
  • Copies of important documents (insurance policies, medical records, etc.)

It is extremely important to keep your 72-hour kit up to date. Expired food and medications won’t be very much help during an emergency. Water should be rotated every six months to a year. Food will need to be replaced as it expires. Batteries will corrode over time and damage the flashlight, be sure to replace the batteries regularly.

My father prepared our family’s 72-hour kit. He packed infant formula and baby clothes for us when were small. As the years went by the formula expired and we quickly outgrew the baby clothes. Thankfully there was never a need to use them. But what if there had been a crisis? Would we have been prepared? Our 72-hour kit sat in the basement gathering dust. We thought we were secure in the knowledge that we had prepared, but that sadly was not the case.

Your 72-hour kit should be tailored to your family’s needs. For instance, emergencies can be especially difficult for small children. A stuffed animal or game can help them stay calm. Infants won’t last very long without a supply of clean diapers and formula. Do you have pets? Plan for their needs as well.

Store your 72-hour kit in a cool dark place. Keep it packed and ready to go at a moments notice. It should somewhere you can access quickly during an evacuation. As your family grows and changes you’ll need to change the items in your 72-hour kit.

Challenge your family to live out of your 72-hour kit for 3 days. Get the whole family involved and pretend you are camping. It can be a fun game. Can you do it? Do you really have enough food and water? Is it food you like? Will the kids actually eat it? What about games or toys for the kids? Maybe you need a tennis ball or chew toy to keep the dog occupied. See what you are lacking and make the necessary adjustments. It is also a good way to rotate your supplies every now and then.


DIY 72-Hour Kit

The first three days after a disaster are the most important. Emergency officials might not be able to reach you for the first few days. A 72-hour kit should contain your go-to emergency supplies.  At a minimum, your 72-hour kit should have enough food and water for at least three days, more if space and budget allow. Take a backpack and fill it with bottles of water, granola bars, trail mix, etc. The food should be high in calories, no low calory diet bars here. Items should be lightweight. Canned goods are great, but carrying a heavy bag be trying after a while. Heavy bags will be difficult for children to carry as well.

Keeping all of your emergency gear in one place will make an evacuation that much easier.  Gathering supplies can get expensive quickly. Start with the basics and upgrade as funds become available. Focus on items that will help you survive until help arrives. Plan ahead so you are prepared when the time comes.

A rain poncho will allow you to stay dry and keep moving. Staying dry will lower your risk of hypothermia. A rain poncho can also be used to make a shelter using some rope. Rope can be used for just about anything from tying bottles of water together or climbing to safety. Matches or a lighter will help you get a fire going to stay warm, single for help, or cook food. A pocket knife is a great tool. A knife could come in handy for self-defense or hunting. Don’t forget about personal hygiene items such as toilet paper.

A first-aid kit is an essential part of a 72-hour kit. Getting injured during a crisis could be disastrous. Hand sanitizer can help clean wounds and prevent illness. An emergency blanket doesn’t take up much room but it will keep you warm and help when treating someone for shock. If you take prescription medications, talk to your doctor about getting a few extras for an emergency situation.

Keep everything in a waterproof bag. You can put your supplies in a wet-dry bag or just line a backpack with a trash bag. The supplies won’t be much use if they are damaged in a flood. Disasters are especially difficult for children, pack their favorite snack or toy. Even just a small stuffed animal can help them cope. Make a plan for your pets as well, your 72-hour kit should have enough food and water for your pets for three days as well. Keep an extra leash with a carabiner for your dog. Attach the carabiner to the leash handle, it can be used as a tie down in an emergency.


    • 3 day supply of water
    • 3 day supply of food
    • Flashlight with extra batteries
    • Rain poncho
    • Rope
    • Lighter or matches
    • First-aid kit
    • Prescription medications
    • Waterproof bag
    • Pocket knife
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Toliet Paper
    • Emergency blanket
  • Comfort items for children
  • Leash for dog
  • Important documents (medical records, birth certificates, etc.)
  • Cash

A 72-hour kit can be customized to meet your family’s needs. The most important thing is that each member of your family has enough food and water to last three days. 

Do You Have Enough Oil for Your Lamp?

The parable of the ten virgins can be found in Matthew chapter 25 in the New Testament of the Bible. It is the story of ten young girls on there way to meet the bridegroom. Unsure of when he would come, they must wait throughout the dark night. Five of the wise ladies prepared in advance by gathering oil for their lamp so that they would last all night long. The other five girls didn’t think to prepare in advance. When the bridegroom finally arrived the five prepared women were able to join the party without any problems. The five foolish unprepared women begged the others to share, but there wasn’t enough for everyone. So they were forced to rush to the shops to try and buy oil for their lamps. Due to the big party, all the shops were sold out and they were unable to purchase any oil to light their lamps. They arrived late to the party and were denied entrance.

You might be wondering why this story of a few silly girls is important. It is important because five of the girls were not silly. They prepared in advance. They didn’t know how long their lamps would need to last so they bought extra oil just in case. As the night dragged on their oil kept their lamps burning bright. The girls who didn’t prepare were left in a state of panic rushing to the store only to discover there was not more oil.

Disasters come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes it is a Category 5 Hurricane and sometimes it is a trucker’s strike that halts shipments to your local grocery store. The point is you don’t know which one you will be faced with. You might only need food and water for 72-hours, or you might need to replace everything own. Don’t get caught in the dark of night unprepared. 

Failure to prepare is preparing to fail. The five foolish women didn’t plan ahead. They were just as excited about the party as everyone else, but their lack of planning prevented them from joining in the fun. If you don’t have the supplies you need to ensure your family’s survival then you’ll surely regret it.

Why didn’t the girls just share their supplies? They didn’t have enough to share among themselves and the others. You shouldn’t rely on the preparations of others. Governments and charity organizations do a lot to help a lot of people but don’t count on them when things get tough. Your failure to plan shouldn’t create an emergency for someone else. 

Part of your preparation should include self-defense. The unprepared women asked for help, they could have put up much more of a fight. If you have the only food and water on the block be sure someone will come knocking at your door. Share if you can, but there might not be enough supplies to go around. Hungry people are not the most friendly. Be prepared to protect yourself and your supplies.