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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Urban Survival Skills – Field Expedient Water Purification

Just got an e-mail from Jim wanting to know if there was a way for him to purify water if he was stuck in a Survival situation someplace without a commercial water filter or purification tablets.

Sure Jim, here’s the deal: The two most common pathogens from non-potable water are Cryptosporidium and Giardia. Giardia will cause bad stomach cramps and projectile diarrhea (hope you’re not eating dinner as you read this). Cryptosporidium which is like Giardia, but can be more severe or less severe and may last for a longer time, as much as a week or more.

You can also ingest parasites which can cause you problems down the road. But we always say “you’ll be dead of dehydration before you ever get sick from parasites.” Still it pays to have and maintain water purification discipline so you won’t be laid up in a fetal position when the zombies try kicking down your door or chasing you through the woods.

Here are some field expedient means to purify water (all protocols require shaking then let standing for 30 minutes): 10 drops of 2% providine iodine to one quart or 2drops of 10% providine iodine; 2 drops of chlorine bleach to one quart; or, 5 drops of 2% tincture of iodine. I'll bet you're now thinking water purification tablets are much easier....they are. But file this information away into your kit bag of Survival Skills and Knowledge.

Of course, the best method of purifying water is to boil it to a rolling boil for about 5 minutes. That even kills Cryptosporidium and Giardia that the aforementioned field expedient mixes may not or won’t.

A field expedient Survival Water Filter can be made using socks or cloth layered with cold black charcoal (from a camp fire) and sand. This helps takes out some of the objects, bad taste and pollutants before you purify it.

I’ll bet your bottled water never tasted so good after reading this. Good night Jim.