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Even if you only have a basic knowledge of prepping, you will be familiar with the idea of necessities. Food, water and shelter, as well as weapons, are the cornerstones of discussion pages and articles about beginning your preparations. Although those provisions are definitely necessary to keep you alive, there is one aspect of prepping that is often overlooked and it can hurt even the most knowledgeable and well equipped survivalist.
Sanitation: otherwise known as the horribly unsexy, anti-adventure aspect to survival that hardly gets discussed. Without proper sanitation, a person who has food, water and a secure shelter can still perish.
There are a number of aspects for proper sanitation that any prepper needs to consider. The simplest items for something like a Bug Out Bag can include hand sanitizing liquid, bleach wipes, water purification pills and an instant use purifier like a LifeStraw.
Benzalconium wipes that aren’t expired are guaranteed to kill many severe viruses that average household disinfectants can’t touch, so having a supply of those for cuts is going to give you an edge that alcohol swabs can’t provide. A roll of toilet paper is also a must and for ladies, a supply of feminine hygiene products, in case that time coincides with the end times.
Sanitation on the Go
The next level of sanitation preparedness involves supplies as well as preparation. If you are out in the wild that would include finding a spot at least 25 yards away from camp and 50 yards away from your water supply to do your business. That spot should include a way to wash your hands before returning to camp, so having a bar of soap is a good plan to reduce your dependence on hand sanitizer and keep your camp clean.
If you are sheltering in place your toilet is most likely not going to work, unless you are dealing with a situation where water service hasn’t been disrupted. That is fairly unlikely, so having supplies and a plan for them could make the difference in getting sick or staying healthy and ready to survive.
A simple bucket can become your best friend in a survival scenario. Using a toilet without being able to flush can lead to serious health concerns, especially if multiple people are using it. As it fills, the amount of germs becoming airborne increases. This is not safe at all. Having a plan can change that.
Using a bucket gives you the opportunity to throw your waste in an area outside of your shelter. Rather than using the bucket itself, it is far better to keep a box of garbage bags available to line the bucket. It will make disposal easier and prevent accidental spills. A bucket filled with garbage bags, soap and toilet paper rolls is easy to tuck away in a closet and it will make a drastic difference in your ability to maintain sanitary conditions.
There is always the option of buying a specialty bucket lid that is designed as a toilet seat to increase comfort, but it isn’t necessary. It’s a personal preference to include one in your supplies. Other ways to increase the safe handling of waste would be to include disposable gloves and bleach in your bucket to eliminate skin contact while moving or disinfecting with a bleach/water solution.
The most ardent prepper who has their eye on a homestead situation can take this planning even further. If you are intent on staying at your camp for an extended period of time, one of the best things you can have is a container of quick lime powder, which can be poured over your waste to help it break down faster. The same is true for packaged enzymes that are used to break down waste in septic tanks. It’s a good habit to get into, especially if you plan to build a permanent out house.
Simple plans for sanitation can go a long way in keeping your food and water, your camp or shelter and all those depending on you clean and healthy. It will help control the spread of diseases like cholera or diphtheria when medicine and doctors are hard to locate and general experience with those illnesses is lacking.
It has been said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. With these tips and a bit of extra planning any prepper can ensure they are practicing good sanitation. Just because the SHTF, it doesn’t mean you have to get messy or sick.