Broward County Florida, water main break leaves over 220,000 without water for hours with more to come. Residents of cities Sea Ranch Lakes, Tamarac, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Port Everglades, Oakland Park, Winton Manors and Ft. Lauderdale were notified by an emergency alert text message early in the morning that the water was cut off. We were informed we may not have water for 24 – 36 hours. We had city water when we went to sleep, when we woke up there was none.
I’m covering this story because it’s local, it affects me directly and it is an excellent demonstration of why we have emergency supplies and equipment. Living in Florida we have an expectation of hurricane events every year. Due to that fact of life one must be prepared for the loss of municipal services like water, or private business services such as electricity.
Most of the water here comes from aquifer wells because we are surrounded by brackish and salt bodies of water. If one doesn’t know where too look one could run out of water fast here and dehydrate quickly. There is also the potential for dangerous wildlife encounters gathering fresh water. It’s why we keep an average of 80 plus gallon of bottled water on-hand at any given time. With the broken 42 inch pipe temporarily repaired we have a boil water order until further notice. That means they consider all water entering our home to be contaminated and it must be treated before use to be safe.
That’s not all. The repair is only a temporary one and must have a permanent solution before the water supply returns to normal. That means we will be without water again sometime in the near future. The other potential with this incident could have been the loss of electric power. The pipe was broken when a power company contractor was digging a hole for new electric service. Without water and power it would be like after a hurricane. We spent three weeks without power after Katrina struck Miami.
How did this affect our home? Beside potentially contaminating our pipes, hot water heater and toilets it also left us without working fire hydrants. We have water purification covered. We have the ability to boil water with our electric stove, portable gas stove or turkey fryer as well as purify it with a mixed oxidant disinfectant we produce our self and our hiking water filter.
Water purification covered that leaves fire protection. Ft. Lauderdale Fire Rescue reported that they called for mutual-aid from Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Fire Rescue for tanker trucks to provide water should they need it. Setting up quick dump reservoirs and shuttling water is a time consuming process which may leave fire crews needing water if things don’t go as planned or the fire is a large one. The last thing they want to do is draft from a body of water or canal.
Without working hydrants and the slow nature of tanker trucks there is the potential for a ripping blaze by the time fire crews can supply enough water to fight fire effectively. I’ve seem homes burn down because there was no water supply or a delay in supplying it. If the homeowner or tenant doesn’t have a way to fight fire during a natural or manmade disaster there is always the possibility of loosing everything or someone.
The best success causing the least damage requires a quick response. If we had a fire during the worst part of a hurricane we would be on our own without municipal fire protection. That means during a storm we have to have the ability to put out a fire. If not if will burn a home down and possibly the neighbors as well depending how close they are. Radiant heat will set other homes, vehicles and anything else close enough on fire.
Because of our preparations for those type incidents we have for the most part been unaffected. Our water supplies were in stock there was no need to go anywhere for supplies. We have several means to supply pure water so there was no concern should we have to use them. And on a small scale we have fire protection covered, enough so that we could put out a small fire quickly. We regularly wash clothing and dishes as soon as there is a load, so most of our clothing/dishes are clean. That was a lesson learned from Katrina.
This incident should make more people aware of the preparations necessary to prevent last minute scrambling for emergency supplies. No matter where one may live there is always the potential need for those supplies. Everyone should be prepared. This was an excellent test of our capabilities. I think our preparations have proven to meet my expectations. Are you ready? -13