Jewish Preppers?

Some people finding our website may be wondering what is a Prepper and why does it have a religious affiliation? Well the short answer is...A Prepper is the modern day survivalist. It's not (necessarily) a right-wing militiaman preparing for Armageddon in the boondocks of Montana. But better represented by a normal, educated, middle class individual perhaps living in the most urban of cities, preparing themselves physically and mentally for any upcoming disaster, natural or man-made. This could include anything from earthquakes to volcanic eruptions, social unrest to an act of terrorism. Preparations include: food supply, medical supply, weapons supply etc. and the knowledge and skills to use them. Of course, a Jewish Prepper is just a designation for a small niche of the Prepper Community that is of the Jewish Faith. We are non-profit and nonpartisan. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Water, water everywhere but not drop to drink...safely


There is a survivalist rule of thumb of ‘3’s: 3 minutes without oxygen, 3 days without water, and 3 days without shelter and 3 months without food. Looking at my waistline, maybe 4 months.

In an urban setting and an emergency of short duration, there’s not too much to do or worry about the oxygen. Breathe a deep sigh of relief unless you're in a jet at altitude. Also shelter is a less of a concern; safe shelter is a different matter.

Water is far more important to worry about.

Modern cities are dependent on plumbing. Think about it for a moment. Fresh water that’s safe to drink is within an arm’s reach 24 hours a day. Daily hot water for showers and cleaning dirty dishes is routinely available. Toilets that flush are ubiquitous. All taken for granted. Thank a plumber for making modern life possible.

Our government suggests storing a gallon of water per person per day, and to have at least a 3 day supply on hand as a minimum. Kind of bulky if you’re a family of 4 living in an apartment, and that supply doesn’t take into account water for cooking. More like 2 gallons a day if you want to throw in hygiene and cooking. A bit more if you’re in the South and plan to be active. And even more volume if you go for a 10 day supply. My guess is you don’t and won’t have a 3 day supply. Perhaps I’m projecting, as I don’t have a stash of water.

Now, imagine 10 days without running water in your home or apartment. What would happen in your neighborhood? If you’re in a city, how long before the sidewalks become more like sewers? Stench and more importantly, diseases come immediately to my mind. Google ‘fecal contamination diseases’ and a litany of bad things pop up (poop up?) What about personal hygiene? Small scrapes more easily become infected. Dirty dishes pile up in the kitchen. And most importantly, what do you drink after the Coke and bottled water in the fridge and on the shelves are used up in 3 or 4 days?

Hopefully water trucks will be by in time. Maybe the lines for water will be orderly and not a mass of people elbowing in to the source. Maybe.

First, make sure to have something than can carry water from those trucks.

And if the water trucks aren’t available, here are some options. Make sure to have 2 backup plans. Filters break, bottles of Iodine tablets capsize… you know, Rabbi Murphy!

Make sure to have some water purification tablets –Iodine for questionable water from those trucks or from other reasonably safe sources. Remember that Iodine is light sensitive so protect it from light when stored. Follow the directions! 30 minutes is what the USAF recommended during training for a canteen’s worth of water.

And for those allergic to Iodine, household bleach (usually sold as a 5% solution) can be used:

Treating Water with a 5-6 Percent Liquid Chlorine Bleach Solution

Volume of Water to be Treated

Treating Clear/Cloudy Water:
Bleach Solution to Add

Treating Cloudy, Very Cold, or Surface Water: Bleach Solution to Add

1 quart/1 liter

3 drops

5 drops

1/2 gallon/2 quarts/2 liters

5 drops

10 drops

1 gallon

1/8 teaspoon

1/4 teaspoon

5 gallons

1/2 teaspoon

1 teaspoon

10 gallons

1 teaspoon

2 teaspoons


Drinking from puddles – not so good. I would also worry about water from nearby rivers in an urban area; too many unknowns could happen upstream. One solution to make water safer to drink is, well, a water filter. There’s lots of nifty science stuff involved, how small microbes and viruses and making sure your water filter does not let them pass by.



General Size

Filter Type

Particle Size Rating


Giardia, Cryptosporidium

5 microns or larger

Water filter

1.0–4.0 microns


Cholera, E. coli, Salmonella

0.2–0.5 microns


0.2–1.0 microns


Hepatitis A, rotavirus, Norwalk virus

0.004 microns

Water purifier

to 0.004 microns

Use the above table when checking out the specs for filters. The smaller the filter, the more expensive it is as well as more difficult to push the water through the filter. If you get a filter good through 0.2 microns, follow with a boil to kill those nasty viruses. Two recognized leaders in water filtration are Kataydin ( and Berkey ( I think the folks at Berkley are either getting goofy or greedy in that they are hawking a “Stabilized Oxygen” additive to keep water fresh. Kataydin offers a wide range of products for different needs. They have very nice small to medium size units that work by a little pump and larger ones that are driven by gravity. I would avoid anyone’s “water-bottle’ unit that you have to use your mouth’s suction to pull the water through the filter. There are several other manufacturers out there. These are but two.

Do a bit of research, and get a filter that fits your budget and needs. Running to the local camping store the day the water goes out won’t work.

If the water is contaminated with a lot of silt or large particulate matter, try to pre-filter the water through some cloth (bandana, t-shirt, sock) to get the big stuff out and prolong the life of your filter unit. Also remember that particulate matter makes chemical purification more difficult so if using bleach or iodine, give it extra time to work. Also allow more time if the water is cold. To get rid of that iodine or bleach taste, add some powder mix drink or vitamin C in a pinch. For some, a few drops of single malt scotch is perfect.

Boiling contaminated water to kill organisms is good; there is a lot of talk about how long you need to do so. According to the Wilderness Medical Society, water temperatures above 160° F (70° C) kill all pathogens within 30 minutes and above 185° F (85° C) within a few minutes. So in the time it takes for the water to reach the boiling point (212° F or 100° C) from 160° F (70° C), all pathogens will be killed, even at high altitude." See Even so, for my piece of mind, I will boil for 5 minutes. I may change my mind on this if fuel is scarce.

Water, it may not be ever-present in an emergency. You need some type of container for transport if water trucks or other sources are available and accessible. Short of that, there is boiling, chemical purification (Iodine and common bleach), and physical filters. Dying or becoming seriously ill from a water-borne disease or dehydration is easily avoidable. Don’t become a statistic.


Survivor said...

Compare the Lifesaver Bottle. Check out: for another great filter!

Erik said...

In reference to your comment about water storage in a small apartment, I think this link is invaluable for those people.