Sanitation and Emergencies
After an emergency, if water and sewage lines have been disrupted, you may need to improvise emergency sanitation facilities.
Basic Sanitation Supplies
- Medium-sized plastic bucket with tight lid
- Plastic garbage bags and ties (heavy-duty)
- Household chlorine bleach (for disinfecting and water purification)
- Soap, liquid detergent
- Toilet paper and towelettes
- Makeshift toilet - If sewage lines are broken, but the toilet bowl is usable, place a garbage bag inside the bowl. If the toilet is completely backed up, you can make your own by lining a medium-sized bucket with a garbage bag and make a toilet seat out of two boards placed parallel to each other across the bucket. An old toilet seat will also work.
- To sanitize waste (after each use) - Pour a disinfectant such as bleach into the container. This will help avoid infection and stop the spread of disease. Cover the container tightly when not in use.
- Dispose of waste with the household garbage - If household garbage cannot be picked up immediately, strain any liquids into the emergency toilet. Wrap the residue in several layers of newspapers and store it in a large can with a tight-fitting lid. Place the can outside until it can be properly discarded.
- The best choice is a solution of one part liquid chlorine bleach to ten parts water.
- Commercial disinfectants include HTH (calcium hypochlorite), available at swimming pool supply stores, and powdered chlorinated lime, available at building supply stores.
- Portable chemical toilets are available at recreational vehicle supply stores.
Keep body, hands, and cooking and eating utensils clean.
Wash and peel all fruits and vegetables. Keep all food in covered containers.
Prepare only as much as will be eaten at each meal.
Controlling Rodents and Insects
- Keeping clean is essential to good health. Because water is so precious and should be reserved for drinking purposes, consider other ways to wash the body. Water substitutes that can be used for cleansing include rubbing alcohol, lotions containing alcohol, shaving lotion, face creams and lotions, towelettes, wet washcloth, and a makeshift shower (use a spray bottle to shower).
- Consuming contaminated water and food can cause diarrhea, poisoning, and intestinal diseases.
- Keep body, hands, and cooking and eating utensils clean.
- Use paper plates or eat from the original food containers if water is not available for washing dishes.
- Keep living area clear of debris, garbage, and body waste.
- When possible, repair holes to keep rodents out.
- Household insecticides will work in small and enclosed areas.
- Store garbage in garbage cans or a container with a tight-fitting lid.