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Emergency Sanitation, Hygiene and First Aid


First Aid Kit


You do not want to get sick when caught in an emergency situation. You need to be ready to take care of sanitation and hygiene needs. Here are some ideas how to handle sanitation needs in an emergency.


Rest Rooms

One of your first concerns is going to be rest room facilities.  You have several options.  In most circumstances, your toilets will still flush if you have water.  However, it takes a lot of water. You may not have enough water to flush your toilets for very long.

One option is a portable potty. You can buy all types of them from stores like Walmart.  Inexpensive buckets can be purchased that use disposable liners.  There are also liners you can buy for your toilet. 

Have large plastic bags in storage so that you can keep your waste together to dispose of when possible.  Cat litter on top of waste keeps down unpleasant odors.

Another option is to dig a pit in your backyard and then hang tarps for privacy. Or you can cut a hole in the floor of the a tent and then  place the tent over the pit.


Washing Hands and Brushing Teeth

As far as washing your hands and brushing your teeth, you will need water.  See the Emergency Water page for ideas on how to store water.  If you are concerned about adequately rinsing your teeth when brushing, use baking soda instead of tooth paste.

Store the things that you need to take care of your teeth.  Items include toothpaste and baking soda, toothbrushes, dental floss, soft pics, and mouthwash. Whatever your family uses, store it.

Pain medication should be included with your first aid supplies for toothaches.  Also valuable is tooth glue to temporarily hold detached fillings and crowns until you can get to the dentist.  Pick up a small emergency packet at the drug store for this purpose.



To keep clean you can use a portable shower or just water off with water and rags.  If you are near a source of water, such as a stream, you can clean up there.  Baby wipes and other pre-moistened cloths will keep your hands clean.

Store extra bar and liquid soap.  If you normally use antibacterial soap, then store it.  Store hand lotions and hair products.  Store all of all the products that your family uses on a regular basis.


Washing Dishes

Store paper products for eating so that you will be able to clean up with as little water as possible if you do not have a source of water.  Store dishwater soap, towels and washcloths.


First Aid

First aid kits are essential, as you may be dealing with injuries.  See 13 Things Every First Aid Kit Should Have for the basics of putting together a First aid kit.  If you don't want to put a kit together, buy one.  They come at all price points, depending on your budget and needs.



Get a little ahead on your medication in case you cannot get to the pharmacy for a few weeks. Depending on the medication, you may be able to take a little less, or ask for more from your doctor. Pills that are not time-released can usually be cut in half.  Talk to your pharmacist. You should never stop or start or alter the dose without adequate instruction.



Other less common items to store for sanitation include respirator masks, radiation pills, disposable toothbrushes, and small hand operated washing machines.  






Emergency Preparation Articles

More tips and perspectives on how to prepare and cope with natural  disasters and other emergency situations.


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