What About Your Water Supply?

Many hours of work and dollars are involved in water storage.Many people a lulled into thinking if they have a stash of bottled water, barrels of rain water, a cistern, or other way to store large amounts of water they are in the clear.  That is only the beginning.

Imagine, thousands of gallons of water sitting there, but you can’t use it because it was contaminated during the disaster.  What good did it do to store all that water if you can’t use it after the disaster?  Plenty of good, if you are prepared.

When you return to your location after the disaster, first things first.  Check on any livestock that might not have been evacuated and render first aid to them.   Check out the safety of the home and tend to the immediate needs of the family only using food and water that came back with you.  After that, it’s time to set about the business of checking on the food and water supplies.

The food is either safe or it is not.  There’s not much you can do to fix it if it is contaminated.  The water on the other hand, can be cleaned and be useful.

How to know if it is contaminated?  Use your common sense and your senses.  If the disaster and your water supply obviously crossed paths, the first thing is to test the water.  Such cases as natural disasters that disturb land and water like earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes.  All of these can contaminate wells with petrochemicals and other things.  Obviously a nuclear disaster would demand that you not return to your home.

The EPA provides information about water contamination and what to do about it.  The EPA chart about which tests order is helpful.  Considering that state agencies will be flooded with work after a disaster, it might be a good idea to have test kits on hand.  It helps to know which tests to use.

Consider your location.  For instance, in our location there is the risk of contamination from all manner of refineries after a hurricane.  For this reason, we would know that our wells would be likely contaminated with industrial chemicals, animal decay, sewer system failure, and salt water.  We would not use any stored water until it can be purified and retested.  Over time the wells would clean themselves, but certainly not fast enough to use right after a disaster.  Frequent testing of the wells will let you know when they are safe to use again.  In the meantime it will be necessary to purify the water according to EPA instructions for the contaminants found.

It is important to note that wells may test negative for one contaminant this week, but next week it might test positive because of the underground flow of water or rain washing contaminants into the well.  Until all wells in the area test clean, don’t assume your well is always safe.  For that information contact the appropriate authorities in your region.

The EPA and water quality associations are dedicated to pure water for everyone one.  Use the resources they offer.

Hurricane Season and Livestock

Hurricane season and livestock are not a well matched pair.  One of the horrid things we see during hurricanes is the loss of livestock.  There are situations where evacuating livestock is not possible but, given the nature of hurricanes, the well prepared farmer will have a plan to evacuate all the livestock he can.

Others don’t even attempt to evacuate them.  Why?  Mostly because of poor planning. Often people purchase insurance to cover agricultural losses.  Animals are property to be insured.  Another reason is because hurricanes are unpredictable until two days out.  By then, most people have evacuated.  They don’t want to take their livestock because they think the chances of hurricane hitting some where else is greater than the chances of it hitting their home.  Lastly, they often think it won’t be as “bad” as that and the animals will be fine.

The prepper view of livestock should be not so willing to abandon animals when the threat of a storm looms in the future.  The purpose of prepping is to have the preps available when the disaster makes itself at home in your front yard.  Your animals should be enjoying the same level of safety as you.  If they are not, aside from being inhumane, you could lose all the time and money you put into raising them.

Deer are part of some preppers' livestock plan.Chickens for instance, take five or six months to start laying eggs.  If you let them die in a disaster, you will have to wait another six months to have fresh eggs while investing the time and money again.  The same goes for the rest of your livestock whether it be deer, hogs, goats or cattle.

What to do?  Plan well in advance. Get to know people in  areas of the state or country who will be willing to temporarily house your animals for you.  You might have to pay them something, but it should be worth it.  If you are friends with landowners a reciprocal agreement for helping each other out in case of such events would be beneficial to both.  Remember, whoever you have these agreements with, the person needs to be outside the potential disaster area.  If your livestock bug-out place is within the zone, you have gained nothing.  Make sure your animals have all their vaccines and other veterinary attention taken care of before hurricane season.  Healthy animals whether stressful situations better.

Consider how you will transport your animals and when you will begin the process of evacuating your animals.  For hurricanes you can have as long as a week or more to decide what to do.  For instance, if you see there is a possibility of evacuating  your livestock you should take the extra bags of food you will need for at least a week to the livestock bug-out location. It would also be a good time to take your veterinary supplies to the bug-out location.

Sometimes it just isn’t possible to evacuate all your livestock, no matter how much you want to.  If this is the case, there are things you should do long before a hurricane is on the way.  Check the barn and other buildings for loose boards, fence or other things that could become flying debris.  Check the buildings routinely to reduce the amount of effort required later. Have a stockpile of fresh water and food for your animals.  Much livestock is lost because they swallowed saltwater.  Animals inside a barn can be seriously injured or killed if a tornado hits the barn.  Animals should not be locked in the barn during a hurricane and will instinctively look for higher ground.  But if your animals are within range of the storm surge, they may experience a higher death rate.

Caged animals and birds can be moved to the safest location in the garage if they can’t go with you.  Remember to take the same precautions in the garage as for the barn.  Once all animals are tended, be sure to turn off electricity and water before you leave.  For the farmer who names his animals before they go to market or become dinner, leaving them behind in such a situation is heartbreaking.

When returning to your home after the disaster, your livestock will need immediate attention.  Take your veterinary first aid kit, and maybe the vet you partnered with for the zombie apocalypse to assess the welfare of each animal.  Getting animals to safety as quickly as possible will be the first priority.

We all hope we don’t have to endure such an event, but if we do, being prepared for our livestock as well as ourselves will save heartache for all.


What Does Windstorm and Hail Insurance Cover?

If you live in a coastal region, your home is at risk of hurricane damage.  Your home is important to you and likely you have home owner’s insurance.  But is it insured for windstorm and hail?  How about flooding?  It is important to know what your policy covers.

Windstorm insurance does not cover flooding.Homeowners’ insurance may not cover windstorm, hail or flooding.  It is important to know the risks of the area you live.  For instance, when a hurricane comes, if it doesn’t blow a hole in the wall or rip off part of your roof, you may not be covered for water damage.  Hurricanes bring a tidal surge with them which is labeled flooding by the insurance companies.  If you don’t have flood insurance, you might just be trying to figure out how to pay for an uninhabitable home.

If you live in Texas, you may download a sample of the Texas Windstorm and Hail policy.  Variables are deductibles, premiums, and payout.  Read through the policy to determine what other types of insurance you will need.  Remember, when you file a claim, your property will be “depreciated” by the insurance company.  In other words, you will never get enough money to make life normal again.

The amount of coverage you buy is important too.  Insuring for less than 80% the total value of the property will trigger another depreciation clause on the dwelling.  But, as with all insurance policies, they will never pay out more than the total dollar amount for which you paid premiums.

The policy is very clear on which events it will and will not pay claims.  The policy premium must be paid more than 30 days before the storm to be in effect when a hurricane makes landfall in your neck of the woods.  Keep in mind that policies change from year to year, so you need to evaluate your coverage yearly.  If you don’t understand the policy, ask a licensed insurance agent.

Edit:  Changed “. . . does not cover windstorm . . . ” to read “. . . may not cover windstorm . . .”

Edit:  Changed “. . . you are not be covered . . ” to read ” . . .you may not be covered . . .”