What you need to be ready for an emergency Bushfire, Flood or Cyclone
We’ve had our fair share of emergencies and natural disasters recently – bushfires, drought, devastating storms and even an earthquake in Melbourne. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology is also predicting average to above average cyclone activity as well as above average flooding.1,2 Despite the predicted wet conditions, we can still expect some extreme heat days.2 Bottom line – we need to be prepared and we need to have a plan.
The Queensland government’s ‘Get Ready Qld’ survival tips recommend maintaining an emergency kit of essential items that will equip your household for at least three days of isolation.3 The Australian Red Cross has an emergency REDiPlan that you can download and complete. It outlines four simple steps4,5:
Step 1: Get in the know — Understand the hazards you are likely to face
Step 2: Get connected — Decide on 3 meeting places with all members of your household, including children, and connect with people in your community who could help you.
Step 3: Get organised — Get or update your insurance, store important documents in a safe place other than your home and make a plan for pets or livestock.
Step 4: Get packing – essentials
In terms of packing the essentials, you’ll need to consider things like – food, water, warm, waterproof clothing and comfortable shoes, torch and batteries, mobile phone and chargers, radio (tuned into ABC for emergency messages), medication, first aid kit, pet essentials and cash – because power outages might prevent EFT transactions. It’s important to recognise that water is much more essential to your body than food.6
In fact, survival experts talk about the ‘Rule of Threes’.7
- You can survive for 3 Minutes without air (oxygen) or in icy water
- You can survive for 3 Hours without shelter in a harsh environment (unless in icy water)
- You can survive for 3 Days without water (if sheltered from a harsh environment)
- You can survive for 3 Weeks without food (if you have water and shelter)
We sometimes take good quality drinking water for granted in Australia, but when bushfires, floods or cyclones hit, our water supply can become quickly compromised.8 Bushfires can degrade water quality, especially if it is followed by heavy rain because runoff can carry sediments and pollutants. With floods, sewage can make its way into water supplies, making it unsafe to drink. Additionally, contaminated water can infect cuts and sores on unprotected skin.9 While the emergency authorities recommend boiling water before drinking10, sometimes using gas or electricity may not be possible or could be dangerous. And boiling water may not remove all the contaminants.
Another, more practical option is to include one or more of the LifeStraw water filtration products in your emergency kit. The LifeStraw microfilters remove 99.999999% of bacteria (including E.coli, Salmonella), 99.999% of parasites (including Giardia and Cryptosporidium), 99.999% of microplastics, as well as dirt, sand and cloudiness. Those products in the range incorporating carbon filters will also remove chlorine, organic chemical matter and odours for improved taste.11
LifeStraw products range from individual drink bottles through to the Mission model that filters up to 12 litres per hour, making it perfect for families or groups.