Monthly Archives: October 2012

Are You Prepared for a Storm?

By Megan Vick

By now, most of the East Coast is battening down the hatches
for the slow, sprawling storm, Sandy. While many people know to have plenty of
batteries, food, and water, there are a few more things to know.

 

1. If you’re hunkering down for a storm, make sure you know
your nearest shelter. Your town or county should have this information
available on its website. You can also check out the Red Cross for shelters in
your area.

2. Keep your gas tank at least half-full and be sure to have
cash on hand. If the power goes out, gas pumps and ATMs won’t work.

3. Keep your pets and livestock safe! Animals are like
family so it’s important to keep them protected too. The US
Humane Society
has constantly updated information on how to prepare for
emergencies with your pet, and what to do should you find yourself in one.

4. If you’ve got a generator, you already know how handy
they can be when the power goes out. Remember, when generators run, they emit
carbon monoxide gas. Don’t keep your generator in your home or in your garage.
Be sure it’s at least 20 feet away from your home’s doors and windows. Also, be
sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors (with a battery backup) near
sleeping areas in your home.

5. If you lose power, watch your refrigerator and freezer.
Perishables in the fridge should be thrown out after 4 hours without power.
Food in the freezer can stay there for up to 48 hours, as long as the freezer
door remains closed. A good motto: “When in doubt, throw it out.”

6. Any time there is a major storm, be prepared for boilwater advisories. With flooding and storm surge, the potential for a water
main break increases. It’s important to have safe drinking water available in
air tight containers if the power goes out (and you’re on a well) and/or if
there is a boil water advisory issued. 
Your Brita
just won’t get the nasties out in the event of a water quality advisory.

Should
you be faced with a water quality advisory, be sure to either boil your water
or drink from the reserves you already have. Once the advisory is lifted, be
sure to:

  • Toss all ice cubes, disinfect the tray and
    containers
  • Drain and refill the hot water heaters set below
    120 degrees
  • Run cold water faucets for one to two minutes
    before using the water
  • Replace ALL water filters (faucet, fridge, under
    sink, shower) that were installed when the advisory was issued

 

We want everyone to be safe before, during, and after
storms! Take care of yourself, loved ones, and animals.

 

What a Wonderful, Watery World

This article is
adapted from the original.

By Megan
Vick

 

Similar to Howard Wolowitz from TV’s The Big Bang Theory, former NASA employee and environmental
engineer, John Feighery, designed the bathroom for the International Space
Station. Feighery and his team needed to focus on efficiency, waste management,
and air and water quality to have a successful system aboard the ISS.

 
Simon Helberg as Howard Wolowitz

In 2003, Feighery changed his focus to helping the global
water crisis. When he spoke to AlertNet, he said, “I’d been working on supplying
clean water to three or four people in space, and meanwhile there are a billion
here on Earth that don’t have it.” This profound change in thought led him to
work in Bangladesh with a group from the US Health and Human Services Department testing
well water. While he was there, he lugged around heavy equipment and had to
take notes and chart locations by hand. Because of his other physically taxing
duties, Feighery decided this process could be, and should be, easier.

 

mWater App for Android

Feighery developed mWater. mWater is an Android app which
records vital information about any given water source. This amazing app allows
a user to input the results of water quality tests and map them. Users can also
notate the appearance of the water, scent, flow, and other defining features. Photographs
can even be uploaded to give more information.

 

 

mWater is an accessible and functional tool to help people
affected by the growing global water crisis. Feighery will be working with UN
Habitat and Rwanda’s ministry of health in the future to teach employees to use
the app. These employees will be able to continue to monitor water sources and
possibly even prevent an outbreak of waterborne illness from reaching the human
population.

 

The app is available for Android devices at the Google Play
Store.