Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Emergency Sanitation

Let's say there's just been an earthquake.  And the sewer lines were broken.  Where are you going to go to the bathroom?  I mean... there is a limit to how long you can cross your legs and keep up the pee-pee dance. At some point, no matter what the facilities look like, you will have to go!

That's kind of a scary thought that can cause some tension...  especially if you haven't given it consideration enough before-hand to be prepared.

Supplies you will need on hand if the toilet isn't working include:
    Medium-sized plastic bucket with a tight lid.  (5-gallon storage bucket)
    Household chlorine bleach
    Toilet paper
    Heavy duty plastic garbage bags and ties
    Soap, liquid detergent, hand sanitizer

If sewer lines are broken and your toilet bowl is usable, you can place a garbage bag inside the bowl.  If not, you'll need to build a makeshift toilet:
  • Line a medium sized bucket with a garbage bag.
  • Make a toilet seat out of two boards placed parallel to each other across the bucket or use an old toilet seat or buy a toilet seat made especially to fit those 5-gallon storage buckets.
  • After each use, pour a disinfectant, such as bleach, into the container.
  • Be sure to keep the container covered tightly when not in use.
To dispose of this waste, you'll need to bury it.  With human waste, especially, it's important to avoid spreading disease by rats and insects.  To do this, dig a pit 2-3 feet deep and at least 50 feet downhill or away from any well, spring or water supply and bury the bags here.

I'm thinking about the 5-gallon bucket with the made to fit toilet seat for my emergency supplies.  I like the idea that I can easily store a small bottle of bleach, a few rolls of toilet paper and a roll or two of plastic bags inside.  Everything is compact and together so I don't have to search for all the parts (think of the added stress in an already stressful situation!) when I need it.  Friends who go tent camping use one as their camp toilet... and that's a great way to be in practice of using it.  And, if you have small children, it's a great way to get them used to the idea because it isn't going to look, feel (or smell) like the bathroom we are accustomed to using now.

Disclaimer:  the link above takes you to a retail site where emergency supplies can be purchased.  This is just one of many sources to obtain the materials you need.  I have no financial interest in this company or experience with their products or service so I cannot endorse them.  The link was provided solely to show an example of an emergency toilet made from a 5-gallon bucket.

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