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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Simple Survival Tips - Water for Hygiene and Sanitation

In addition to stocking adequate amounts of water for drinking, you will also need plenty of water for hygiene and sanitation purposes. You can reduce the amount of extra water required by stocking up on paper plates, cups, and plastic utensils that can be simply discarded and will not require cleaning. If you still have running water, you will need to fill all miscellaneous containers capable of holding water such as coolers, water pitchers, etc.

After a disaster and the water is still running, fill all your bathtub(s). However, you may not want to trust the water quality, particularly after an earthquake or flood. You will also need to shut off the water inlet to your water heater to provide extra water without having to worry about it becoming contaminated. There's a likelihood that contaminants could be drawn into the water system. You can also plan ahead and fill a clean trash can with a tight-fitting lid. Then place the trash can in the backyard, garage, or a storage shed. Treatment with a few drops of chlorine bleach will help to maintain your stored water. If you have small children around, all water storage cans should have their lids secured tightly in some fashion to prevent any accidents.

If you don’t have running water, sanitation will become a major issue for you and your family. You should save your "grey water," The water that you used for washing dishes, bathing, etc. should be collected in a bucket or trash can. Don't let it simply run down the drain. A toilet can still be used even if you don't have a water supply. A toilet can be "manually" flushed by rapidly pouring in about half gallon of water into the bowl. Do this quickly and all at once. You need to make sure that you have safe access to a bathroom. In some cases you may not have access to a toilet.

Your disaster kit should also include a port-a-potty or homemade toilet. A good, inexpensive one can be made from a five gallon plastic bucket and a toilet seat. You can use the 13 gallon size kitchen trash bags as liners for your home-made toilet. Clean empty buckets are sold at most home improvement and hardware stores.

In most situations you should have at least one gallon of water for drinking purposes, one gallon for sanitation and one for hygiene purposes. This sounds like a lot but is really a very minimal amount. After having gone through a major flood of the "500 year" variety, you very quickly realize even that much will barely get you through the rough times when there is no good water available.

Got potty?

Staying above the water line!



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