Emergency Sanitation and Hygiene

You have your food and water storage, but have you considered how important sanitation and hygiene will be in the event of an emergency? Improper hygiene can cause an infectious disease outbreak, escalating emergency situations. Here are some tips for creating your family's sanitation/hygiene plan.

Bathroom Activity
Take a few days to see how many times your family uses the toilet in one day. See how many diapers are used. Note how quickly you go through bar or gel soap.  This information will determine the supplies you need to keep on hand.  Items you'll need to help you with bathroom sanitation:

  • Portable toilet- A portable potty lid fits over a bucket.
  • Potty bags - Sealable, double layer bags with bio-gel can help keep your family clean. These bags can be thrown away at an approved facility (not in normal trash cans).
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Soaps
  • Toilet paper/wipes
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Diapers/wipes
  • Disposable gloves

Bathing
It's a good idea to designate some of your water storage for bathing and hygiene. Whether you want to use a separate container or calculate your water needs with the storage you already have, remember that water for hygiene is an important item to have on hand. Here are some items to keep for bathing storage:

  • Cleansing cloths- Whether or not you have a baby in your home, baby wipes are great to have on hand for fast, waterless baths.
  • Dry shampoo- This can extend the time between showers
  • Body wash/body soap
  • Razors
  • Shampoo/Conditioner, etc.
  • Lotion to prevent cracked skin

Cleaning
You will want to have a good amount of cleaning supplies on hand. A disinfected house will help prevent the spread of disease. Important items to keep on hand:

  • Water purification tablets/water preserver
  • Bleach - While bleach is not recommended for water purification due to conflicting dilution information, it can be used if another water purification is not available.
  • Disinfecting spray- Disinfecting spray is an important thing to keep on hand to spray on door handles and other high traffic areas. This can help stop the spread of most germs.

First Aid
Part of good hygiene is a thorough first aid plan. Besides a complete first aid kit, anti-diarrhea medicine and cold/cough medicines are important for preventing the spread of family disease. Also, a set of dust/particulate respirator masks can help keep the rest of the family disease free when an outbreak happens.

Misc
Be ready to hand wash clothes, dish rags, etc. If your washing machine is out of commission or uses too much water, a wash basin will be a great asset. Keep liquid or powder detergent on hand so you can hand wash without having to break open small pods. Also, if you have space, you might want to store a drying rack.