We’ve all seen the news stories about the aftermath of a disaster. A major hurricane, flood, earthquake, tsunami, or other disaster leaves an area devastated. In some cases, hygiene risks are astronomical. People die from infectious diseases or from injuries that are not treated properly. So why do so many survival websites or print materials help folks prepare for issues with the loss of electricity, medicines, and basic infrastructures, but often skirt the problems associated with personal hygiene? Let’s face it, there’s nothing inspiring about reading about (and preparing for) such topics as human waste. But let’s do it anyway!
First of all, in a survival situation a personal toilet is a must. Also called a portable or travel toilet, these devices can be purchased through Amazon or at Home Depot or most major sporting goods stores. There are many varieties of personal toilets, so shop around for one that works best for you. A personal toilet can be invaluable in the event that plumbing and sewage treatment is no longer available.
Make sure to have plenty of supplies to go along with your emergency toilet. Toilet paper is quite obvious, but also keep on hand lots of sturdy plastic bags to store the waste, as well as disposable plastic gloves and bleach for cleaning the toilet.
Second, let’s talk trash. If you can’t leave your trash at the curbside for a disposal truck to pick up, what should you do? Stockpile plenty of trash bags. Honestly, you can never have too many of these things. Dig a nice big pit to bury your trash bags. Another option is to burn your trash. When burning your trash, it is wise to wear a surgical mask.
Finally, let’s discuss the neighbors. If you are living in a community, you may not be able to count on your neighbors to be as careful with their personal waste or their trash as you are. There are a few things you can do to protect yourself in these situations. If an outbreak of infectious disease occurs, have an alternate place to live (in a tent, if necessary) until the illness has run its course in your community. You’ll also want to stockpile isopropyl alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, bleach, and hand sanitizer. Make sure your first aid kit includes antibiotics and antibiotic ointments. Keep plenty of disposable gloves and some surgical masks on hand.
So be realistic, accept that planning for your personal hygiene in a survival situation is just as important as having a reliable generator or plenty of canned goods. Buy yourself a nice new toilet!