A healthy source of drinking water is the single most important item to have on hand in the likely event of an emergency or disaster, second only to breathable air. Food, of course, would be second on the most needed items in natural or human-made disasters or emergency. In most cases, after a disastrous event, the stores quickly empty out of the most crucial items such as water and food, next would be generators, flashlights, batteries, toilet paper, propane, cook stoves, etc.
Water is always the first to go. Not just from the shelves in the grocery stores and convenience stores but along with the electric and gas utilities, water is also turned off. When the water stops flowing from your tap, and you were not able to find any in the stores, what is your plan? In an extended crisis of weeks or even months, neighbors will be draining sources like swimming pools, spas, and water features. They will be knocking down property fences and gates to get at it hauling away buckets at a time and drained in days for sure. Now what?
Martial Law and curfews will eventually be enforced, resulting from wide spread riots and looting, starting first in the cities and then slowly migrating to the suburbs and then into the rural areas. Gangs and small marauding bands of thugs will start taking what ever they need or want, more than likely at gun point. You can quickly start to see you should have planned for such a time as this.
My purpose of writing this article is to alert and warn you that everyone who wants to survive a major crisis or disaster needs to stock, water, food, and protection. Protection? What am I saying? I’ll be blunt, and straight forward, only those that have planned will survive. Are you a pacifist or a Christian zealot? Are you willing to stand by and watch a female member of your family raped and murdered? Get a gun and learn how to use it! That said, let’s move on.
If the neighborhood is on fire, burning from house to house, you need to bug out. Do you have a bug-out plan in place or are you going to jump in your car and head for the nearest grid-lock? What about buckets of beans and rice, wood burning camp stove and cooking utensils. Water? You can only carry so much, and water weights 6-lbs per gallon. What you need is a way to purify any polluted water source using any heat source. Can’t I just use a filter? If you did your homework in advance, you would know that the American Red Cross, FEMA, Homeland Security and the CDC all recommend a non-electric water distiller, and strongly warn against any type filter in an emergency or disaster. Why a non-electric distiller? First, you will not likely have electricity. Second, they recommend boiling water to kill disease germs, bacteria, viruses, cysts and waterborne diseases. Distillers do just that! Plus all non-electric distillers can use any heat source, electric or gas stove, propane stove, barbeque grill, charcoal, camp stove or even a camp fire. There are only four or five non-electric survivor stills available.
Eight features to look for in a non-electric survivor still
1. Determine the volume of water it will purify per day. The production of distilled water from the available non-electric water distillers varies from 8 gallons per day to 18+. ( Take care you pick a model that will supply your family’s needs.)
2. Choose a survivor still based upon the gauge of the stainless steel boiling pot and the one with the sturdiest construction and heavy-duty materials and components. Especially since yours and your families lives will be depending on its performance under the roughest circumstances and conditions.
3. Most non-electric distillers are a severe scalding hazard capable of causing 3rd-degree burns. A child can quickly pull the boiling pot onto themselves as well as an adult. That is the last thing you need is a life-threatening injury during a disaster when hospitals may not be accessible for burn treatments. Pick a survivor still that uses a condenser cooling system and has the boiler snap-latched to the condenser preventing accidental scald injuries and the condenser water always remains at room temperature also preventing scald accidents.
4. Pick a survivor still that is automatic, so there is no need to manually add water to the boiler or continually dump and replace the condenser water as needed with some units. It is tedious and dangerous work handling the boiling pot and condenser. Most models require the condenser water to be dumped and replaced with cooler water for the still to function and if not replaced regularly, the condenser water can reach temperatures of 140- 150 F hot enough to cause third degree burns with just 2 seconds of skin contact. One survivor still model uses a 9-volt pump 5-watt solar panel with battery back-up to keep the condenser cool at all times, rain or shine, day or night and also automatically adds water to the boiling pot as needed.
5. Pick a survivor still that does not need to be level to operate as some models do. If you are in an outdoor camping situation and require a campfire as your heat source, you cannot be worrying about whether the survivor still is perfectly level or not as some brands need.
6. Some models do not have a closed system to prevent outside contamination from the air or debris from a fire. Pick a survivor still that is completely enclosed from the boiler through the cooling coils and the post filter and into a closed collection container. You will never need to worry the distilled water will ever get contaminated in the distillation process.
7. Choose a survivor still that can easily be packed up and transported with ease, in the event you need to bug out fast. You do not want to be dealing with a bulky boiling and condenser pot, especially if you’re on foot!
8. The greatest amount of distilled water is produced using a stainless steel cooling coil inside a condenser full of cool water. For this reason, avoid models that utilize pots of cool water and use the bottom to condense the steam. In this method, the steam is subject to contamination from the air and the lower surface of the pot. Pick a model with a cooling coil suspended in a condenser of cool water, the steam contained inside the coil, is protected from outside contamination. This method also produces three times more distilled water. That feature accounts for the greater cost of a non-electric survivor still with a stainless steel cooling coil and automatic features. The quality of the automatic model, the high volume of pure water and ease of unattended operation and the peace of mind knowing it cannot scald anyone justifies the increased cost. This model also comes in a 7-gallon bucket with a screw on Gamma Lid which houses all parts and has a handle for easy transport.
Which ever model or brand you choose, you will know that regardless of the source of water you will be able to turn it into healthy pure drinking water in any emergency or disaster.