Monday, September 4, 2017


For the month of September, we're focusing on emergency preparedness. This post is about one of the most forgotten or avoided emergency preparedness topics--sanitation.

When we think of disaster scenarios, we often tend to focus on the destruction that comes during a natural disaster, like the possibility of falling objects injuring us during an earthquake. But there's a more serious threat than falling objects, and it comes AFTER a disaster has occurred.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have compiled a list of health and safety concerns for disasters. Among that list is illness and injury prevention. Because usual hygiene practices may be disrupted after a disaster, the risks of illness and disease are greatly increased. It's important to know how to prevent disease by learning how to properly dispose of trash and human waste, and by making sure you have access to clean water. There's a reason why many third world countries, without proper sewage and water purification systems, have the highest rates of disease. Remembering a few simple tips about sanitation can help keep you and your family safe from a serious threat that can cause serious harm.

In the event of an emergency, it's likely utilities will be out, along with flushing toilets and running water. DO NOT continue to use the toilet in your home, unless you have emptied the water out of the bowl and have lined it with a garbage bag that can be removed, along with the waste that's in it. There is no easier way to cause illness and disease than to have human waste backed up in your home. Instead of using the toilet, consider purchasing an inexpensive 5-gallon bucket and portable plastic toilet seat. Snap-on plastic toilet seats can be found in any sporting goods store, or in the camping aisle of most super stores like Walmart. Line the bucket with a heavy-duty garbage sack. After each use, sprinkle a small amount of kitty litter over the waste to prevent odors. When the bag is nearly full, tie it up and bury it outside in a location that is at least 100 feet away from food and water sources and from walking paths or areas where people will pass by. If there is no place to bury your waste at the time, place it in a sealable container, located away from food and water sources. Always clean and sanitize spills, wash your hands, use hand sanitizer and wear gloves when dealing with waste. Proper sanitation is the key to safely enduring a disaster situation.

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