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Emergency Preparedness and Survival Basics
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Canuck In Denver



Sanitation in an emergency or survival situation is very important. Without water we will not be able to wash our hands or food, etc. Without running water flushing our toilets will become impossible. This means we need to think ahead to how we will cope with these aspects of emergency or survival situations. If we don't practice good sanitation we run the risk of sickness and disease.

Storing enough water for a week or more of these everyday tasks requires a lot of water. We need to have solutions to the problem of sanitation in an emergency preparedness or survival situation that requires the least amount of water possible.

Portable Bathroom
Fortunately there are a some inexpensive solutions to this problem. We'll start with a portable bathroom. Most camping/hunting stores carry a bucket toilet, such as the one below, for about $15.

If you get one of these bucket toilets and a spare 5 gallon bucket for the seat to go on then you will always have one in use, even when emptying the bucket. You also want to get a roll of heavy duty garbage bags to line the bucket. You will need a few other things as well. You'll need to get a total of three more buckets, one should be square instead of round. You will also need sawdust, baking soda, something to scoop the sawdust and baking soda, a water tap (outside type - see picture below), a couple of washers or some pipe sealant, and a basin tub.

Fill the first bucket with sawdust and fill the second with baking soda. You should have at least one scoop of some sort to use with the sawdust and baking soda. Sealed buckets would be best for these two, this will keep the sawdust and baking soda dry.

Take the third bucket, the square one, and cut a small hole, centered and about two inches above the bottom of the bucket, just large enough to fit the water tap into. Put washers or pipe sealant on the inside and outside of the bucket to seal the pipe in place. When you are done you should have something that looks like the picture below:

This is your water source for use when washing your hands. You can place this on the counter above your sink if you are at home, or on some sort of platform or table with a basin underneath if you are at a campsite. If the bucket has a handle you can always hang it from tree to get it at the right level. If you keep the water filled it will be at room or air temperature. Water for washing should be as pure as possible. You should use water that you have stored yourself or use water that you have purified and know is safe.

To use your portable bathroom you first put a garbage bag liner in the bucket toilet. The next step is to put a layer of sawdust on the bottom of the bucket toilet, then sprinkle some baking soda into the bucket toilet. After you have used the bucket toilet you sprinkle another layer of sawdust and baking soda. The sawdust helps absorb any wet waste and eliminate any smell, the baking soda is to help eliminate any remaining smell.

Once you have finished with the toilet you can then move to your wash basin and water bucket to wash your hands. Your water bucket and wash basin can be used to take sponge or field baths. If hung from a high enough point you can attach some sort of hose for taking showers or washing your hair.

When not in use the water bucket can be used to store toilet paper, soap, etc so that your entire portable bathroom is ready to grab and go with a minutes notice.

Total cost, including the toilet bucket at about $15, should be about $35.

Portable kitchen sink
This should follow the standard Scouting practice of three basins. One basin is filled with wash water, one with rinse water and one with a water/bleach solution to make sure that the dishes are clean and there is no chance of bacteria on the dishes. You can use your water bucket, or another, for use with the rinse stage of the cleaning process.

I use three Rubbermade totes with lids for this. I stack them inside of each other, the top one has a lid and inside it are my dishwashing items such as soap, scrubbies, sponges, bottle of regular chlorine bleach, etc. I also use them for hand washing clothes with Woolite and laundry bar soap, and keep a bottle of Woolite, laundry bar soap, clothes pegs and rope for a clothes line. You may want to include a dish rack for drying your dishes.

List of items needed
- toilet bucket, complete with seat
- spare toilet bucket, without seat
- two covered buckets (sawdust & baking soda)
- scoop for sawdust and baking soda
- square bucket (water bucket)
- water tap, washers/pipe sealant
- 3 or 4 basins
- liquid soap, gallon
- liquid soap, pump bottle
- Woolite
- bar laundry soap
- regular chlorine bleach
- dish soap
- waterless hand cleaner, antibacterial
- dish scrubbies, etc
- towels, paper and/or cloth
- clothes line and clothes pegs
- toilet paper
- sawdust
- baking powder
- garbage bags
- tarp for enclosing "bathroom" for privacy when in the woods (optional)
- dish rack (optional)

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