17 September 2012

Review: SteriPen Emergency

While you can survive up to three weeks without food in a disaster situation, you'll be lucky to live three days without water. We take running water for granted - after all, here in America, we just turn on the faucet and there it is. If there's a water main break, we just run to the store quickly and grab a few cases of bottled water.

But what do you do when your town has been devastated by a natural disaster? Or you have gone for a hike in the woods, gotten lost, and you're almost out of drinkable water? Or the extreme worst case scenario - stuck in a grid-down situation with no running water or electricity for almost a month, like what happened in Quebec several years ago.

The SteriPen Emergency Water Purification is an affordable emergency preparedness item that will allow you to have safe drinking water. If you've ever been through a hurricane or flood, you know that often a boil water order is given out. But how do you boil the water if you have no electricity? You could use an outdoor BBQ grill, but that's not always an option. SteriPen Emergency Water Purification can be used in just about any situation. It uses shortwave germicidal UV lights to purify water. It sounds high tech, but it's simple to use, and it takes up hardly any room. Check it out:

I love the red color, because it's easy to spot, and it's just a little bit longer than my hand. The SteriPen Emergency uses 4 AA batteries (not included). The company recommends using Lithium or Nickel Metal Hydride batteries, and I suggest you have a set for in the SteriPen ready to go, and a backup set in your emergency preparedness kit. Adding the batteries does make it a little heavier, but it's worth the weight in your bug out bags if you are adding it in. One set of batteries will allow you to purify roughly 200 half-liter servings of water.

Let me back up one second: while the SteriPen purifies water, it's not a filter like you'll have on your counter. If you're getting water from a fresh source, such as a stream, you'll want to filter out large particles of dirt with a coffee filter, bandana, or something like that. Don't use it in dirty water because it won't help.

Once you've got the SteriPen ready to go with batteries, and you've got a container of clear water, you'll want to push the activation button once for water volumes between 1/2 liter and 1 liter, and twice for volumes of up to 16 ounces or 1/2 liter. Your average re-usable water bottle is about 16-20 ounces, so if you're not exactly sure how big it is, do it once. If you can though, be aware of the size of the drinking containers you'll be filling so you're positive you are doing it the right amount. You can use the SteriPen in any container, from glass to plastic to metal, except for quartz. (How many drinking containers do you see made out of quartz though?!) If you're afraid you'll forget how many times to push the button without the directions, it's written right above the button. Once you've pushed it, the green indicator button right underneath the button will start to flash green for up to 15 seconds, letting you know it's ready to go.

While it's still flashing, dip the UV lamp into the water (remove the plastic cover first!) making sure the lamp and sensing pens are completely immersed in the water. The lamp will turn on automatically at this point. Then you'll want to slowly stir through the water in a circular motion, agitating it so it sterilizes ALL of the water in the container. Don't stop until the lamp turns off and the indicator is turning green again. If it turns red, the process will need to be repeated a second time. You'll want to carefully dry off the lamp with a soft piece of fabric and pop the cover back over it.

It sounds super complicated at first, but it's really not, and in just a few moments, you'll have safe, clean drinking water thanks to your SteriPen Emergency. It's been proven effective: destroying more than 99.99% of viruses, bacteria, and protozoa when used as directed, and has been tested and certified by WOA against US EPA Microbiological Water Purified Standard. The SteriPen Emergency retails for $49.95, and you can find it at stores like REI, as well as online via Amazon and Emergency Essentials, among others.

By the way, each SteriPen Emergency has a long lamp life, purifying up to 3000 liters - which is almost 800 gallons. You could purify 2 liters each day for over 4 years this way! (just make sure you have enough batteries, or a way to recharge them, of course!)

SteriPen also makes other great water purification products in a variety of sizes. Don't want to mess with batteries in your emergency kit? Check out the SteriPen Sidewinder, as it uses handcrank energy instead. I highly recommend SteriPen's products, and use them in our family's emergency kits to ensure we have safe drinking water, no matter the situation.

I received the product mentioned above in order to try it out in my own home and share my thoughts on it. All opinions are my own. Please follow the directions carefully in order to ensure the product is working properly.


Stacie said...

This actually sounds pretty nifty. Doesn't look really big and bulky at all. The price doesn't seem all that bad either. It's nice to know that if there is a disaster you can have safe drinking water. You never know when a natural disaster is going to hit.

Noelle the dreamer said...

Thanks for sharing! An amazing little gadget and quite handy. I know how costly batteries are though so I was happy to hear it has a sidewinder version.
Will check this out and include it in our emergency pack!