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Of all the preparation for emergencies, having an adequate source of water should be at the top of the list. Survival seems to be a rule of threes. If you’re in a severely cold, snowy environment, it takes three hours before you perish from the elements. Without food, you’ll die within three weeks. Lack of water only takes three days before your body becomes too dehydrated to survive. Most people will face emergencies by holding up in their home or at a place of business. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan for freezing temperatures, but in many cases, it’s not nearly as likely as running out of water. It should be the top priority on your list of preparedness.
There’s a difference in the amount of water you need based on whether you stay in or bugout. The amount of water you need when you stay in your home is larger, averaging three gallons per person per day. Bugging out is different. You can allot as little as one gallon per person per day. When you bugin, you have the luxury of storing water that doesn’t require much attention, except to move the containers when you need them. Bugging out means carrying the water with you and that means hauling a heavy load. Each gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds, not including the weight of the container. You can imagine how much energy you’ll use hauling enough water for the group for several days, plus the water loss you’ll face from perspiration created by hauling the heavy load.
You can’t store all the water you need for long term use, so having a source of water, clean or not, is important. That also means a method of filtering the water so you don’t end up sick, with vomiting and diarrhea, causing further dehydration. Bugging in means preparing ahead with rain catching methods, in ground storage or even a hand pump to the well. You should identify areas that are close to your home that contain a source of water.
When you bugout, you should have a preplanned route that has marked areas where water is available. Each person should have their own personal water filtration straw. Whether you’re traveling in the city and have pools or fountains marked or in rural areas with lakes and streams, you can never safely drink water without a filtration system. The more sources of water along the path the better. You should also have an alternative path with the water sites clearly marked.