Sanitation Preparedness ~ It’s UP to YOU!

History shows us that a catastrophic event very often becomes a deadly disaster, because the infrastructure has broken down with no running water or flushing toilets. LACK of preparation for EMERGENCY SANITATION usually causes the most harm. Did you know that cholera (a severe/often fatal intestinal disease caused by bacteria) kills the most people in the world? Recent history of Haiti and New Orleans (after Hurricane Katrina) may also come to mind. Without being alarmists, it is possible that as parents and as citizens, there is not a more important measure to focus on in our emergency preparedness efforts. Experience teaches us to become more self-reliant. 

BEFORE the Emergency...

1. PAIR UP - As a couple, it is vital that you deeply commit to doing what it takes to keep your family stable and safe with NO normal sanitation. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Consider a preparedness class, buy a DVD/book, or go online. (This is Safe Harbor Alliance/Jim Phillips info)

2. TEAM UP - It's a great idea to build a support system around you with government agencies such as CERT, church emergency support groups, neighborhood programs, etc.. However, YOU are on your own in the event a disaster knocks out the water/sewer systems, so get prepared.

3. CALL UP - If you have a septic tank, you need to ensure that unexpected flood water/sewage/ mud won't create a horrible mess in your drains/tubs/showers. Call today, to get it pumped out.

4. GEAR UP - Gather in advance: A shovel, #10 can (can help scoop out the dirt). Newspapers (for floor). Plastic cup (to draw out the water in the toilet bowl). A rubber ball or rags to plug the toilet hole (also prevent insects from coming up). Several heavy gauge plastic bags that fit your toilet bowl (not leaky grocery bags). Twist ties. Empty gallon container to hold the urine, and separate it from the solid waste (important safety measure!). Funnel/hose to assist females in this (various styles available). Small bucket of sawdust/kitty litter/dirt to sprinkle over solid waste. A stick to break/spread the fecal matter to sides so sanitation bag holds more. Cardboard cutout to place on toilet bowl (odor control). White vinegar, hydrogen peroxide in separate spray bottles (non-toxic cleaners).Lye (pet deterrent). Store items in a box/tote. Label.

5. PACK UP - Start gathering extra things that are necessary in a real emergency, beyond the vital sanitation equipment. (To make room you may need to donate unnecessary stuff.) Paper towels are nice, but if your infrastructure is down they will soon run out. Old sheets can be your dish towels/cleaning cloths/feminine napkins. Newspapers are very versatile. Coffee filters can filter water, line plates/bowls (this preserves water for drinking). Box up clean, empty plastic grocery bags, rags and old towels. Old T-Shirts can be great rags. Wash/fold/store in a labeled box. Freezing is not a problem, so storage areas like your garage/under porch steps are okay.

6. SHOW UP - With all your responsibilities, parents tend to forget about ourselves. Show up... for yourself, realizing it's not selfish; it's self and family preservation. Health and strength are needed, as burn-out in emergency situations is real. Schedule time to refill your own tanks. Eat your veggies/skip desserts/soda pop. Exercise/sleep/solitude raises your immune system.

7. SPEAK UP - We all need to be proactive and speak out when we feel the time is right. You can do many good things to personally prepare, but you may be dealing with neighbors that may not have done anything. We also know government agencies do NOT respond quickly to massive emergencies. The elderly, disabled, and children desperately need our wise advocacy. Consider organizing or supporting other groups to educate and encourage more preparedness.

INSTRUCTIONS During an Infrastructural Emergency 

(When "plumbing service" is DOWN... Keep it UP!

1. LOOK UP - Connect with your Divine Creator and follow personal inspiration for your family. PRAY, because your time, strength and means require wisdom, so prioritize to protect. Some experts offer these ideas:

2. SPEAK UP - If you are sheltering in place, one of the best ways to create safe sanitation is to modify one of your regular toilets to be the "emergency port-a-potty." (It's bolted to the floor and is the most stable thing to sit on when compared to a 5 gal. bucket or an open pit outside.) Remind your family that all other toilets are off limits from this point on. (Some say their R.V. bathroom will work, but there are likely no dump stations for a long time. NOTE: Driving and releasing R.V. toilet tank is against the law, and spreads serious germs to all.)

3. STEP UP - People who have just experienced an emergency are usually shook up and may need to "use" the bathroom. Take charge, you need to ACT QUICKLY, and step up to the tasks to start this vital project.

4. GATHER UP - Go get the container of things you will need for Home Sanitation. (Items listed on other side #4. 'Gear Up' that should have been done in advance.) Take the tote/box to the "designated bathroom" and open.

5. SHUT UP - Turn off water supply to that toilet (usually below on the back wall). Twist knob to off position.

6. LINE UP - If you can, it's a good idea to line the floor of the bathroom with newspaper. (No easy mopping.)

7. SCOOP UP - Using the plastic or paper cup, scoop up all the water in the toilet bowl. This is considered "gray water" and could be used for some cleaning (NOT drinking), etc. Be wise–remember–water is VERY scarce now.

8. PLUG UP - Get the rubber ball out and force it into the toilet hole. This is to plug it tightly. (Not a Nerf style ball.) If you have no rubber ball, use a rag smeared in shortening and rolled in a ball, or you can even use dirt. (It is not that water is going to drain down the pipe, it's more that you're preventing bugs from crawling out!)

9. PULL UP - Get your heavy duty plastic bags out. Pull up the toilet seat and place one down in the bowl with sides pulled up and draped over the edge. Put the toilet seat down over the plastic bag. Get toilet paper/wipes.

10. SET UP - Have the empty gallon container nearby for the urine. (A helpful idea is to have some water in the bottom so that it's not as apt to tip over.) This separation controls odor and creates a much safer handling, etc.

11. BREAK UP - Have the small bucket of sawdust or kitty litter nearby to sprinkle on the fecal matter. Also have a stick (a paint stir stick?) to break up or push the solid waste toward the sides, so your plastic bag holds more.

12. COVER UP - To help reduce odor/germs, use cardboard "barrier" (cut a bit bigger than the bowl's shape) to place over the plastic bag. Close the toilet seat and lid. (If you have inquisitive toddlers, place bricks on lid!)

13. LIGHTEN UP - The constant stress is draining, so laugh or swap jokes. Keep positive! Don't be a urine Nazi!

14. TWIST UP - When time to bury it, twist tie, and place in a box/bin/basin (it's heavy). You DON'T want spills.

15. OPEN UP - Dump fecal matter in a med-sized hole (shouldn't be in garden, but urine safe in orchard/trees).

16. LAYER UP - Dirt/poop/dirt/empty bag/dirt/poop/dirt/bag, etc. Mother Nature breaks up these over time.

17. SHUT UP - Last, sprinkle lye. Put sheet of wood over hole/brick for weight. (Keeps out dogs/insects/flies.)

18. WAIT UP - If winter/ground frozen, place in closed container, store on the north side/shade. Bury in spring.

19. CLEAN UP - White vinegar and hydrogen peroxide are great non-toxic cleaners. Keep them in 2 spray bottles.

20. GEAR UP - Charcoal and Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) are both great healers you may want to study & have.

1.Separate 2.Cover 3.Carry 4.Bury


Elayne Pearson
Mom on a Mission


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