Sanitation items are easy to gather.
You may prefer a pre-assembled emergency kit which
already contains necessary items for grooming and
sanitation. Because many kit items are sold as a unit,
you may find that purchasing a kit is an inexpensive and
convenient way to prepare all that you'll need during an
emergency. Another option may be to assemble your own
emergency kit so you can choose brands or items your
family is accustomed to using. Often, you can purchase
your favorite brand of soap, toothpaste, shampoo, toilet
paper, deodorant and other items in bulk or extra saving
packages so you can afford to set some aside for your
Here are some
items to consider:
Toilet Paper When it comes to
emergencies, any kind of toilet paper is a luxury. By
preparing ahead of time, you can ensure that you don't
experience unneeded discomfort by having to get used to
a new texture of paper. Also keep in mind that it is
common for those in emergency situations to develop
stress and diet related stomach problems that can
intensify your sanitation difficulties.
Toothbrush + Oral
Hygiene People with sensitive teeth may want to
store their preferred brand of toothbrush in their
emergency kit. It is probably a wise idea to store
several toothbrushes to give away to someone who
neglected to store one. It may also have another useful
purpose such as cleaning or scrubbing. Toothpaste,
Mouthwash, and Breath Fresheners Emergencies present
stressful situations where human communication is
crucial. Sometimes water is scarce or unavailable which
causes dryness in your mouth. A breath freshener may be
a nice addition to your preparedness supplies.
Feminine Hygiene Products It is important to be
prepared in all areas. These items are definitely
important to have available in any emergency situation.
Deodorant With several choices of deodorants
including anti-perspirants, made-for-a-woman brands,
gelled, etc., you may want to decide ahead of time what
you'll need during an emergency.
Air fresheners or deodorants may also increase your
level of comfort during an emergency.
Hair Supplies Shampoo, conditioner, hairspray, combs,
brushes, and other items may not be necessary for
survival, but they can help make an emergency situation
more comfortable and clean. Be sure to store smaller
sanitation items in your emergency kit and be aware that
you can overstuff your emergency kit. If it is too
heavy, you may not be able to leave with it during an
Medications for diarrhea, constipation, headaches,
allergy and other minor conditions should also be
included in kits for added comfort.
Laundry Detergent and Soap During some emergencies,
you may be required to evacuate the area or may be
stranded in some remote area. Because you won't have
lots of clothing, you will want detergent to clean your
clothes and soap for bathing and for washing utensils.
Hand sanitizers are
essential to keep in your Bug Out Bag as well.
Bathing You can prevent illness by washing your hands
often; before eating, after using the bathroom, after
you change a diaper, and any other time you may need to
freshen up. Because water is such a precious commodity
during an emergency, you should remember to use purified
drinking water first for drinking, cooking, washing
dishes and then for other purposes. Be organized and
choose a designated bathing area. If you wash in a river
or stream use biodegradable soap and always be aware of
others who may be down stream. With a little soap you
can also wash yourself in the rain. 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
Sanitation Area 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 should also be a few hundred feet from
any river, stream, or lake. It also helps to have your
waste place downwind from your living area, and yet not
too far from your camp that the distance discourages
people from using it.
Luggable Loo 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. Don't forget
to add deodorized cat litter to assist with the odor. Make sure you
have a lid to cover it. A plastic toilet seat can be
purchased to fit on the bucket for a more comfortable
seat. If you don’t have an extra plastic bucket
available, you can make a latrine by digging a long
trench approximately one foot wide and 12 to 18 inches
deep and cover as you go. When you dig too deep a
latrine it can slow the bacterial breakdown process. The
long latrine approach is appropriate for large groups
camping in one spot for a long period.
Getting Rid of Refuse If you cannot dispose of refuse
properly you should always bury biodegradable garbage
and human waste to avoid the spread of disease by rats
and insects. Dig a pit 12 to 18 inches deep and at least
50 feet but preferably 200 plus feet downhill and away
from any well, spring, or water supply. Fill the pit
with the refuse and cover with dirt. For back-country
hikers, packing out all solid waste is always
appropriate, and some authorities at high-use rivers
usually require this process. You can make a seat for
your latrine 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 more of the odor than an open
one. Make a toilet cover with wood or a large leaf. If
the odor becomes unbearable, fill in the latrine
completely with dirt and dig a new one. Build a new seat
and burn the old wood that you used for the last toilet.
Keeping Food Sanitary All food scraps should be
either burned 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 away
from a stream. 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.
Here is a
sanitation checklist to get started.