Monday, May 9, 2011

Sanitation Procedures

Don't Forget Sanitation & Personal Items

During an emergency, you could probably get by without having to use everyday sanitation items such as soap, toilet paper, water, wet wipes etc., but would you really want to?
Chances are that you would prefer in a crisis to have some personal essentials that make an emergency easier to live through.

After disasters, very harmful germs such as typhoid and cholera are spread by poor sanitation and improper waste disposal.  To help prevent the spread of disease, use the following precautions:

Always wash your hands before eating or handling food and especially after going to the bathroom or handling anything that contains germs.  Also pay extra attention to hand washing when you are ill, have an infection or open would, or are caring for anyone who has illness, infections ,or wounds.

Disinfect toilet seats before using with a bleach solution (1 gallon of water & 2 tablespoons of plain liquid chlorine bleach)

Take measures to keep flies, insects, disease-carrying mice, rats, or other rodents and animals away from waste disposal areas.

Emergency Sanitation Items

Sanitation items are easy to gather. Choose brands or items your family is accustomed to using.  Waste elimination is an embarrassing subject, but it's better to be prepared now than to have to live uncomfortably in a crisis. There are several recommended items and precautions that can prevent uncomfortable or embarrassing moments:

Toilet Paper: When it comes to emergencies, any kind of toilet paper--smooth, soft, rough, printed, colored, plain, or scented is a luxury. But, by preparing ahead of time, you can insure that you don't experience unneeded discomfort by being without it. It is common for those in emergency situations to develop gastro-intestinal problems which tends to intensify the problems of sanitation.  

Paper Towels: These are used instead of cloth hand towels for spills, and drying of the hands.  Dispose of the used towels in the plastic bags along with the other waste.

Disinfectants: Wet wipes can be used to clean the bottom, as well as the hands without using your water supply.  There are also waterless hand sanitizers available; some which can be purchased through survivalist stores which can kill viruses.

Feminine Hygiene Products: It's embarrassing enough discovering that your menstrual cycle has started and having to dash to the store. Now imagine that you do not have access to a store.  Remember menstruation can and does start under times of stress, change of elevation, etc. You can either purchase enough supplies to last you a year or more...or you can make your own. I will have instructions on making your own pads at a later date. These are actually much nicer than what you purchase in the store, and you are able to reuse them for years and years, and they only get softer.

Gastro-Intestinal Problems: I’m not giving medical advice, but you would probably want to make sure you have plenty of Pepto-Bismol, &  Imodium in your Emergency Toilet kit. I personally don’t use these over the counter medications, I and my family use Peppermint Oil either internally or rubbed on the stomach to ease any stomach discomfort.   Since times of stress, problems with sanitation, or illness can cause dire problems, it is best to keep these supplies with your Toilet Kit where they will be most needed.

Emergency Toilet: Most luggable toilets on the market use plastic bags. You can find small portable potties, plastic bedpans, collapsible camping toilets (these are NOT recommended as they do collapse when in use)  that use plastic bags, etc. at Wal-Mart, preparedness and camping stores.

Plastic Bags: Use the strongest plastic bags you can find.  DO NOT use plastic grocery bags, as they leak.  You do not want to have the bag puncture or develop a leak; because you will have to carry the bag to the disposal site. 



If a working toilet is not available, all waste must be treated with chemicals or burned to kill diseases and germs.  After treatment with chemicals or burning, the waste should be held for future disposal in a working toilet or buried.  It is important to keep rodents and flies away from waste.  Sewage can be burned outside in a metal container.  After burning, bury it in the ground.  Sewage can also be temporarily held in a plastic container or a trash bag until it can be burned or flushed down a working toilet.  After each use, pour one or two cups of treatment chemical over the waste.


If you are using a latrine, pour some treatment chemicals over the waste after each use and then place some dirt on top.  To treat the waste, you can purchase prepared sewage treatment chemicals or you can make your own chemicals by adding five tablespoons of plain liquid chlorine bleach to one quart of water.  Pour one to two cups of treatment chemical over the sewage EACH time you use the latrine.   WARNING: Do not use powdered bleach - it is poisonous.


To make a latrine: dig a hole 200 feet away from any wells, streams, lakes, or water sources.  Dig a hole 3 to 6 feet deep and 2 to 4 feet wide.  After each use, pour one to two cups of treatment chemicals, used to kill germs and control odors, over sewage.  Ash from a fire can be placed over sewage to control odors.  Then place about one inch of dirt on the top of the waste to keep away any flies and disease spreading rodents.  When the waste reaches six inches from the ground level, fill the hole with dirt and dig a new latrine.


Toilet Paper
Hand Sanitizer


Your toilet in your home may be rendered useless IF you are on a septic or cesspool system and there is flooding, or excessive rain..  These conditions can cause the system to back up into your home.  To avoid this smelly and germ laden situation you need to use precautions with your home toilet.  If you experience back-up or burbling from the toilet or bathtub when trying to flush or drain either unit, you can use an emergency system until your septic or cesspool system can be placed back in full use. Now, is a good idea to go out in search of rubber play balls that can be  tightly smooshed down into the opening in the toilet bowl. This keeps the nasty surprises from coming  up and filling your home with disgusting germ and filth laden poopy water mess. You get the picture, I’m sure. You can also purchase covers for your other drains at stores like Home Depot, Lowes, etc.

Now, back to the toilet... First turn off the water supply to the toilet.  If you can safely flush the toilet of the small amount of water left in the bowl do so.  If you cannot,  then scoop the water out of the bowl and dispose of it.  Lift the toilet seat and place a tall kitchen trash bag inside the toilet.  Return the toilet seat to its original position.  Use the toilet as you normally would except DO NOT flush.  Cleanse yourself, and your hands, and place all paper  waste into the bag.  Remove the bag from  the toilet, tie it shut.  Replace the bag for the next use.  Dispose of the waste filled bag in a proper manner.


Tall Kitchen Bags
Toilet Paper
Wet Wipes
Hand Sanitizers

A emergency toilet for use in the car is easily prepared.  It can be carried in the trunk of the car at all times along with your other emergency supplies.  This toilet can be used when stranded on the highway, or when facilities are not available.  Many adults, and children may not want to avail themselves of the thrill of “nature peeing” and would prefer a unit that would be more private.

All of the Emergency Car Toilet Supplies can be kept in the plastic container until use.  When needed empty the plastic container you have obtained, such as an ice cream bucket, line it with one of the plastic waste bags.  The emergency toilet can be then placed on the vehicle seat.  You can use a small blanket, jacket, or large garbage bag to cover your lap while using the toilet.  Clean yourself, including your hands with the wet wipes after use.  Tie the Plastic waste bag shut.  The used bag can then be placed in a ziplock bag for future disposal and to insure that no leakage or odor will occur.  The bag can be disposed of immediately or placed back into the emergency toilet with the lid securely replaced until a disposal site can be found.

Plastic Red Vines Container, or ice cream bucket (or similar plastic jar) with tight fitting lid
Wet Wipes
Toilet Paper
Ziplock Gallon Size Bags
Small Plastic Waste Bags 
Hand Sanitizers

An emergency chemical toilet consisting of a water-tight container with a snug-fitting cover should be an integral part of your preparedness program.  It could be a garbage container, a pail, or a 5-gallon can (also with a tight-fitting lid).  Another should be available to empty the contents into for later disposal.  If possible, both containers should be lined with plastic bags or garbage can liners.  NEVER deposit human waste or garbage on the open ground.  If you have no other alternative for disposal, it is safe to bury waste in trenches 24-30 inches in depth.  NEVER DEPOSIT HUMAN WASTE WITHIN 200 FEET OF ANY WATER SUPPLY.

Every time someone uses the emergency toilet, he should pour or sprinkle into it a small amount of regular household disinfectant, such as creosol, Pine-sol, chlorine bleach, baking soda, alcohol, laundry detergent, or insecticide to keep down odors and germs.  After each use, the lid should be replaced.
To use this toilet simply remove the contents from the bucket, insert a large plastic garbage can liner into the bucket and fold the edges over the rim of the bucket.  Mix one cup of liquid chlorine bleach to one-half gallon of water (one to ten ratio--do NOT use dry or powdered bleach as it is caustic and not safe for this type of use.)  And pour this solution into the bucket.  This will kill germs and insure adequate coverage.  If you are worried about splash back from the disinfectant, then use one of the dry alternatives later discussed. Though the bucket may be somewhat uncomfortable to sit upon it certainly beats the alternative (a cat hole, in the back yard, or by the side of the road).  For greater comfort you can remove the seat from the toilet and secure it to the top of the bucket.

Emergency Chemical Toilet Supplies:

The following items should be stored together inside a 5-gallon plastic bucket, (or the Emergency Toilet of your choice).  The bucket will serve as the toilet during an emergency.

5-gallon plastic bucket (with tight fitting lid)
2 large boxes of garbage can liners (30 gallon size)
1 gallon liquid chlorine bleach or other chemical, such as Pine-sol
6-8 rolls of toilet paper
feminine sanitary supplies
2 boxes baking soda
2 boxes trash can liners (8-10 gallon size)
paper towels
Hand Sanitizer

After each use replace the lid securely upon the bucket to keep insects out and to keep the odor contained.  When the bucket is one-third to one-half full, tie the garbage bag liner shut and dispose of it appropriately (i.e., burying it, placing it inside a large covered metal garbage can for later disposal, or placing it in an approved disposal location).  Put another liner inside the bucket and continue as above.

Other chemicals that can be used in place of liquid chorine bleach are: HTH (calcium hypochlorite), which is available at swimming pool supply stores and is intended to be used in solution.  Following the directions on the package it can be mixed and stored.  CAUTION: Do not use calcium hypochlorite to disinfect drinking water as it kills all the beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract and thus causes mild diarrhea.  Portable toilet chemicals, both liquid and dry, are available at recreational vehicle (RV) supply stores.  These chemicals are designed especially for toilets which are NOT connected to sewer lines.  Use according to package directions.  Powdered, chlorinated lime is available at building supply stores,  It can be used dry.  Be sure to get chlorinated lime, not quick lime which is highly alkaline and corrosive.  CAUTION: Chlorinated products which are intended to be mixed with water for use can be dangerous if used dry.  You may also use powdered laundry detergent, Lysol, Pinesol, ammonia, or other household cleaning and disinfecting products.  Where radioactive fallout does not present a hazard, a temporary pit privy may be constructed in the yard for use by several families.  This offers a good method of waste disposal over extended periods of time.  The structure need not be elaborate, so long as it provides reasonable privacy and shelter.  The pit should be made fly-proof by means of a tight-fitting riser, seat, and cover.  A low mound of earth should be tamped around the base of the privy to divert surface drainage and help keep the pit dry.  Accumulated waste should be covered with not less than 1-2 inches of earth when the privy is moved or abandoned.  Persons in city apartments, office buildings, or homes without yards should keep a supply of waterproof containers on hand for emergency waste disposal.  

Homemade soil bags may also be used and are easily made by putting one large grocery bag inside another, with a layer of shredded newspaper or other absorbent material between.  Apartment dwellers should have sufficient grocery bags on hand for possible emergencies.


If you have a baby in your home, it is best to keep a ample supply of disposable diapers on hand for emergency use.  If these are not available, emergency diaper needs can be met by lining rubber pants with cleansing tissue, toilet paper, scraps of cloth, or other absorbent materials.  To help insure proper sanitation it is imperative that you store a sufficient supply of disposable diapers, disposable wipes, and plastic garbage can liners.  Change infants and toddlers regularly and keep them clean.  Dispose of the soiled diapers in the plastic garbage can liners and keep them tightly sealed when not in use to help prevent the spread of disease.

Be sure to wash your own hands regularly when working with the infants (especially after each diaper change).  Typhoid fever, amoebic dysentery, diarrhea, infectious hepatitis, salmonella and giardiasis are diseases that spread rapidly in times of emergency and threaten all, yet are all diseases that can be easily be controlled by simply following the rules of good sanitation.

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