Week 8 of 52: Emergency Sanitation
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About the Prepper's Blueprint
Across the ages, in every survival story, a disaster of some sort plays a prominent role. Sometimes the part is played by the government, sometimes it is played by Mother Nature, and other times, the role is taken on by a random mishap. If we have learned one thing studying the history of disasters, it is this: those who are prepared have a better chance at survival than those who are not.
A crisis rarely stops with a triggering event. The aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. Because of this, it's important to have a well-rounded approach to our preparedness efforts. Due to the overwhelming nature of preparedness, we have created the Prepper's Blueprint to help get you and your family ready for life's unexpected emergencies. To make a more comprehensive, easy-to-follow program, The Prepper's Blueprint has been simplified and divided up in a way to help you make sense of all the preparedness concepts and supply lists provided. We have divided the chapters into layers of preparedness.
- Layer 1: Chapters 1-14, prepares you for those everyday disasters that have shorter-term effects: power outages, storms, injuries, and evacuations
- Layer 2: Chapters 15-31 help you to get ready for disasters that turn out to be much longer-lasting: economic collapse, long term power outages, and pandemics, to name a few
- Layer 3: Chapters 32-56 prepares you for the long haul and a complete change of lifestyle, the end of the world as we know it: providing food and water once supplies run out, security, retreat properties, and long-term plans
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The following chapter is part of the free 52 Weeks to Preparedness web series
Week 8 of 52: Emergency Sanitation
Have you ever wondered what it would be like if your trash wasn’t picked up each week? Have you thought of how you dispose of it? What would happen to your town if trash was left to sit out in the sun to bake for weeks on end without anyone showing up to take it away?
The odor alone would be enough of a nightmare to face, but what about what is inside the trash itself (i.e., dirty diapers, contaminated medical supplies, rotting meat and food)? This type of situation would cause E. coli and bacteria to invade most everything that you touch. If a situation like this was allowed to fester, the potential for diseases and epidemics would create an entire new disaster to be dealt with.
No one really wants to discuss sanitation because it’s an unpleasant and dirty subject; however, it is one of the most important areas to focus on when preparing for a disaster. In a disaster where water resources are compromised, people within a 50 mile radius could be adversely impacted by illness and disease just if one person handled the trash improperly. When trash cannot be picked up, it must be burned or buried by you; however, municipalities cannot risk contamination to the water source or soil from people who incorrectly bury their debris, so it is important to know how to properly dispose of your waste products.
If you find yourself in a situation where toilet paper is not available, you may have to resort to a more natural method of being hygienically clean. Below is a list of toilet paper alternatives for an emergency situation.
Toilet Paper Alternatives
- Phone books
- Unused coffee filters
- Corn cobs (That’s right- Corn Cobs)
- Dilapidated kitchen towels (no longer used for cleaning).
- Bed linen strips
- Mail order catalog
Don’t forget that women need to have sanitation items stored for emergencies. Prevention is the key to spreading communicable diseases, so prepare appropriately. If water services are interrupted during a short term emergency, consider these alternatives:
- Clean and empty the water of the toilet bowl out.
- Line the bowl with a heavy-duty plastic bag.
- Once the bag has waste, add a small amount of disinfectant and deodorant (e.g. cat litter) and securely tie the bag and dispose of it.
- A large plastic trash can (lined with a heavy duty bag) can be used to store the bags of waste. Once waste services begin, the city will come and collect these.
- If waste services do not begin, then you may need to consider burning or burying your waste. If you decide to do so, there are factors you need to consider. Click here to learn more.
Long Term Disasters
Sanitation during a long term disaster requires the same sanitation supplies used in a short term disaster; however, a more permanent structure, (e.g., a latrine) must be put into place for long term use.
Having a sanitation kit ready for a disaster is essential to keeping your family and neighbors healthy. These kits fit easily into a bucket, and they are affordable. Also, having a natural alternative to cleaning yourself is a proactive way to prepare for better sanitation practices. This article shows you ways of making your own hand sanitizer by using natural ingredients.
Your suggested preps to buy this week will specifically target creating a sanitation kit.
Preps to buy:
- Disposable bucket or luggable-loo
- Toilet paper (1 roll per family member for each week)
- 1-2 rolls of paper towels
- Diapers for infants
- Additional infant supplies (baby wipes, diaper rash cream, etc)
- Rubber gloves
- Sanitation items for women (at least one- month supply)
- Garbage bags with twist ties ( i.e., to line toilets or luggable-loo)
- Cat Litter or absorbent material (i.e., saw dust or dirt)
- Baking soda (for eliminate odors)
- Soap or antibacterial cleanser (one per family member)
1. Create a sanitation kit for your family.
2. If you are preparing a sanitation kit with infants in mind, ensure that you have accounted for their short- and long-term needs (see list above).
3. Familiarize yourself with different methods of handling the sanitation problems that arise during short- and long-term emergencies.
Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.
Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals.
Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.
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