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Get Prepped Newsletter: June 24, 2011

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.


Dear Reader,

Every wee I receive a variety of questions from my readers. I enjoy helping you and wanted to thank each of you for your kind words and for taking the time to read Get Prepped. In the next week or so, I will be uploading our past newsletters to Ready Nutrition, so if you missed an issue, you can catch up. Having the information at your fingertips may help new readers who also want to be prepared.

This week we will be discussing sanitation. This is one of the most important and overlooked areas of being prepared. I am going to give you alternative methods of maintaining sanitation, and I am going to share with you a few tips in how to prevent epidemics that result from poor sanitation conditions.

Don’t forget to see what we’re up to on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Why not extend an invitation to your extended family so they can also be prepared by reading Ready Nutrition.


Tess Pennington


Week 9 of 52: 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

  • Leaves
  • 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 for Week 9:

  • 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)
  • Bleach
  • Cat Litter or absorbent material (i.e., saw dust or dirt)
  • Baking soda (for eliminate odors)
  • Vinegar
  • Shovel
  • Soap or antibacterial cleanser  (one per family member)

Action Items:

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.


In Our Home:

There are times when I forget how important it is to cross train family members with different skills sets, especially my children. Even though they are still young, I want each of my children to be self sufficient and able to care for themselves independently. I have focused on teaching my daughters how to cook, mainly because they show so much interest in it; however, my son recently came to me and asked me to help him make a gift for his father. He wanted to make his dad fresh peanut butter. We had no peanuts, but plenty of pecans (thanks to my mother in law); so he and I sat and shelled pecans together and shared stories until we were through. After we made the pecan butter, and he went the extra mile and made chocolate pecan butter, he was so proud and I was too. The result was heaven, but the best part was having a tender moment with my son. When a child comes to you with a question, don’t forget that is an opportunity for you to pass on your knowledge. I encourage you to recognize the moment and seize it.

Family Preps:

 This week, my husband and I have been reviewing our contingency plans and emergency check lists. Since it is hurricane season, we have reviewed emergency evacuation routes both for our vehicles and on foot. I know that when an emergency arises, clear-headed thinking can sometimes go out the window; therefore, I want everything in order. In addition, I have been adding onto my G.O.O.D (Get Out of Dodge) Notebook.  Every family should have an emergency notebook to fall back on; this is a great resource to store all your back-up plans in.

Outdoor Activities:

I started a new compost pile this week using a lasagna style layering system. I know that compost piles are supposed to be turned to introduce oxygen, but I want to experiment with something different. I threw in about 5 to 6 inches of green items and layered it with a thick piece of cardboard to use as my brown item. Then I water it down and keep it moist. In theory the cardboard will act as a self decaying tarp and will keep the compost pile moist. When I have accumulated another 5 to 6 inches of green items, I will create another lasagna layer. This is a work in process, so I will let you know how it turns out in a few months.


In case you missed this week’s articles, be sure to read this:

Are You Ready Series: Heat Safety

DIY Electrolyte Powders


Did you know that June is National Safety Month?

There have been several states under emergency evacuations because of flooding. To those of you suffering through this, my heart goes out to you. Evacuations are hard to deal with, and it is heartbreaking to uproot your life and leave your home behind. I’d like to send a big thank you to all of the volunteers who are helping during this crisis; you are making such a difference. If you are going through this and don’t know where to turn, Red Cross shelters have been set up to assist those who have no where to go, and city workers can help guide you to safer locations. Do not be afraid to ask for help.
According to the Red Cross website, if needed, they can provide you with a cleanup kit: mop, broom, bucket, and cleaning supplies.

Those that have to return to damaged home may want to read these online manuals and facts on what to do after the flood waters have subsided, such as the following:

Teach kids about flooding

Repairing your flooded home

After a Flood – The following are guidelines for the period following a flood:

  • Listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink.
  • Avoid flood waters because water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
  • Avoid moving water.
  • Be aware of areas where flood waters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
  • Stay away from downed power lines, and report them to the power company.
  • Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
  • Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by flood waters.
  • Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.
  • Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.
  • Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.


As busy as I have been, I have not had any new media opportunities, but I do plan on getting some more demonstration videos up for everyone on my YouTube Channel. So, stay tuned! In the meantime, click here and you can view some past media opportunities I had the pleasure of doing.


One of the perks of my job at Ready Nutrition is to address questions and/or concerns that you may have with your prepping endeavors. Feel free to ask anything that is on your mind because no question is too big or small. You can email questions to: getprepped@readynutrition.com

This week’s question addresses radiation:

Hello Tess:

I know that the disaster that happened in Japan happened months ago, but I am still worried about radiation levels increasing in America?  I don’t even know how much radiation is too much but I want to be prepared.  Do you know where to find the radiation pills?

Sylvia P.



That’s a great question.  And, you are not the only one concerned with the increasing of radiation levels and fall out from Japan.  We are all exposed to a certain amount of radiation each day.  Depending on where you live, and your lifestyle, these levels can increase and decrease.  This website has a calculator that will tell you how much radiation you receive on a yearly basis from natural means and from un-natural means.  If you are still concerned with radiation from Japan, then you can buy some potassium iodide tablets that will help if there is a nuclear event near you. 

Potassium iodide helps prevent the thyroid from absorbing some of the radioactive materials that can cause damage to our bodies.  According the website that sells these tablets, by taking them immediately after a nuclear event, the thyroid becomes saturated with “good iodine” and cannot absorb the “bad iodine.” 

I must advise you that these tablets are to be taken after a nuclear event has occurred near you.  I would not advise you to take these due to the fallout from Japan because too much time has passed.

I hope this helps. 

Thanks again,


This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on June 24th, 2011

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