Essential Toilet Solutions for Survival Scenarios | thehumblepennys

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Essential Toilet Solutions for Survival Scenarios

Defecating is a universal, yet private, act. While many couples don’t mind being open about urination, there’s a clear boundary when it comes to the other.

Usually, it’s a simple process: wipe, flush, move on. But during catastrophic events, this routine may be disrupted. Sanitation in such times becomes paramount, and it’s crucial to have an emergency plan.

The Risks of Poor Sanitation
Human waste is a breeding ground for illnesses such as cholera, dysentery, giardia, typhoid fever, and hepatitis. It’s vital to prevent the resurgence of these diseases. It’s equally important to consider how laundry would be done without electricity.

So, in a disaster, how do we maintain hygiene?

Discussing this topic with family beforehand can help ease into this necessary adjustment. Later in this piece, I’ll provide guidance on this.

Research from Oregon State University indicates that some communities overlook the importance of sanitation as previous disasters like snowstorms and fires rarely affected the sanitation systems.

Sanitation Systems Post-Disaster
Clean water and functioning sewers are essential. Often, electric pumps support these systems, making them vulnerable during power outages. Flooding can also compromise these systems. In such cases, household connections can become hazards unless there are preventive measures in place. Earthquakes pose another threat by damaging both clean water and sewage lines. Given local risks, it’s wise to be prepared for the worst.

Emergency Toilets: A Real-life Case
Jim Acosta led a large federal Disaster Medical Assistance Team. Once, they practiced establishing field toilets, using 5-gallon buckets lined with “Wag-Bags” for waste. Despite training, many didn’t use them correctly. It became essential to supervise usage to maintain hygiene.

Alternative Sanitation Solutions
If regular toilets aren’t an option, here are some alternatives:

  • Camping (Chemical) Toilet: Resembles a regular toilet, uses chemicals to neutralize odors. While effective short-term, it’s not ideal if water is scarce.
  • 5-Gallon Bucket System: My book mentions a simple method using a bucket, trash bags, kitty litter, bleach solution, and an air freshener.
  • Regular Bathroom: Even without flushing, your bathroom can still be used with some modifications.
  • 2-Bucket System: A dual-bucket system segregates urine and feces, minimizing odor and simplifying disposal.
  • Slit Latrine: A basic trench system, this is an outdoor method where waste is covered with dirt after each use.

Disposal of Waste
Storing or burying are two primary methods. In urban areas, local parks may eventually turn into dumping grounds. It’s crucial to ensure that waste is buried well or stored securely.

Addressing the Sanitation Topic
The key is communication. Before a crisis hits, hold a family discussion. Acknowledge the awkwardness but emphasize the importance and the temporary nature of the situation. Stress levels will already be high after a disaster, so addressing this early is beneficial.

Keeping Perspective
It’s easy to think of worst-case scenarios from movies, but reality might not be as extreme. Prepare for short-term disruptions. After all, no government wants prolonged crises. Quick restoration of essential services, including sanitation, is always a priority.

Closing Thoughts
Despite our unease discussing sanitation, planning is essential. Facing the topic with a mix of realism and humor can make coping during disasters easier.

So, how prepared are you in terms of emergency sanitation?

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