Prevent illness by washing your hands often, before eating after using the bathroom, after you change a diaper etc. Because water is such a precious commodity during an emergency, you should use purified drinking water only for drinking. Be organized and choose a designated bathing area. You can wash yourself in a river or stream as long as it is downstream from where you get your drinking water supply. You can also wash yourself in the rain, with a little soap. Other washing alternatives include moist towelettes, a spray bottle, sanitizing lotions or a wet washcloth. Be sure to wear shoes to prevent parasitic infections and to protect yourself from cuts and puncture wounds that can easily become infected.
Choosing the right location for your sanitation needs is as important as staying clean. Your waste place must be located downhill from any usable water source. It also helps to have your waste place downwind from your living area too, and yet not too far from your camp that the distance discourages people from using it.
- With a little preparation, you can have a decent emergency toilet. IF you have a medium sized plastic bucket (5-6 gallon,) lined with a heavy-duty garbage bag, you have a toilet. Make sure you have a lid to cover it. A plastic toilet seat may be purchased to fit over it for a more comfortable seat.
- If you don't have a plastic bucket, make a latrine by digging a trench approximately 4 feet deep and 18 inches wide. make a seat for it by laying logs across the hole, leaving an area open for you to use. After use, cover the waste with small amounts of dirt to decrease the odor. A covered toilet reduces odor more of the odor than an open one. Make a toilet cover with wood or a large leaf. If the odor starts to smell badly, fill in the latrine completely with dirt an dig a new one. Built a new seat and burn the old wood that you used for the last toilet.
Getting Rid of Refuse:
You should always bury garbage and human waste to avoid the spread of disease by rats and insects. Dig a pit two to three feet deep and at least 50 feet downhill away from any well, spring, or water supply. Fill the pit with the refuse and cover with dirt.
Keeping Food Sanitary:
All food scraps should either be burned far from your living area or buried in a pit far from your living area to keep bears and other wild animals away from you. Keep all your food covered and off the ground. You may keep your food in a tree, but be sure tree dwelling creatures can't get into it. Replace all lids on water bottles and other containers immediately after use. Do not wash your dishes in the area where you get your drinking water supply. Instead, wash your dishes downstream. Use clean plates or eat out of the original food containers to prevent the spread of germs. Wash and peel all fruits and vegetables before eating. Prepare only as much as will be eaten at each meal.
Checklist for Sanitation:
The following list contains some suggestions to make your personal care more comfortable during an emergency. No all items are necessary.
- Medium sized bucket with tight lid
- Plastic heavy-duty garbage bags with ties
- Household chlorine bleach (as a disinfectant in makeshift toilets lined with a garbage bag)
- Soap and liquid detergent
- Toilet paper
- Towelettes (as water substitute)
- Baking soda (can be used to brush teeth, as a deodorant, and to treat heat or diaper rash)
- Rubbing alcohol (as a water substitute, and disinfectant)
- Lotion containing alcohol, sanitizing lotion (as a water substitute)
- Shaving lotion, face cream
- Spray bottle (to use as makeshift shower)
- Wash cloths, towels
- Brush or comb
- Single Deluxe Water and Sanitation Kit
- Portable Chemical Toilet
- Enzyme Deodorant Pack