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Clean water is a critical supply. A person can survive for a few weeks without food but only days without water and dehydration starts to slow reactions and fog mental processes within hours. A person requires 2 liters of drinking water per day, more in hot conditions or when hiking or working. Contaminated water supplies can kill quickly and in a gruesome fashion, completely incapacitating within a few hours, rendering someone unable to assist themselves. In a disaster, normal supplies of water may be inaccessible (pumps may have stopped for lack of water or pipes may be broken) or normally clean supplies may have been contaminated by flood water or unsanitary refugee conditions.
Each volunteer must have at least 2 liters of water in their Go-Bag and another in their Extended Field Bag. An astute observer will note that this is only 48-hours worth of water under normal conditions and does not include any for toiletries or cooking. The required amount represents a bare minimum, but as water containers are bulky and heavy, it can be difficult for a volunteer to really carry enough into the field. We therefore need to ensure that adequate unit supply also exists as early as possible in a response. The EFB shall also contain some mechanism for water treatment (tablets or a personal filter) to allow the volunteer to produce potable water from whatever supply may be available. It is also important for volunteers to seek out basic wilderness survival training to understand where to find drinkable water, how to get it, and how to avoid contaminating supplies if cut off from a supply base[bib]845[/bib].
You need readily accessible containers in your Go-Bag (e.g. canteen, hydration bladder) and sturdy containers to refill them in your EFB. Rinsed 2-liter soda bottles work well. Hydration bladders tend to make you take water in small, steady amounts, and this is often ideal when working or hiking, especially in windy Missouri conditions, but many people find the hoses irritating or even dangerous while working with equipment or in brush. Use whatever will work best for you. Steady straight-line winds will dehydrate the body quickly and you will rapidly exibit mental effects if you are not careful; it is critical to be able to think clearly at all times in an emergency deployment. Water-bearers to move water forward and check volunteers for signs of dehydration are a critical component of any emergency response team.
In addition to the water itself, some source of flavoring and electrolytes are needed. Many people are not used to drinking plain water and will not drink enough of it if it is plain. In hot weather deployments, you will rapidly lose salt and other electrolytes. Powdered lemonade mix or similar can work well, as can sekanjabin syrup [bib]OzarkHerbal1[/bib] [bib]OzarkHerbal2[/bib] "Sekanjabin Syrup". If you add too much flavoring in hot weather, your body may not get enough plain water to meet its needs. Therefore mix weakly (~ half strength) and only as needed so you retain some plain water for other needs (washing out a wound with lemonade is sub-optimal). Make sure you can measure and mix easily.