When planning for an emergency, you are going to want to think about sanitation. Without proper sanitation, you and your family can get seriously ill – especially young children and the elderly. It would be dangerous to the point of life-threatening to drink water in certain emergencies where it could have been contaminated. Not being able to wash hands or bodies causes illness, sores on your body, and other ailments that will only contribute to your emergency situation being miserable. Here are a few things you’re going to want plenty of when an emergency strikes.
Here is is list of 7 items that every family should have on hand:
- Hand Sanitizer – Have plenty of hand sanitizers in all evacuation kits, vehicles, and emergency supplies. You’ll want to have it in bulk to pack with the rest of your food storage. Certain emergencies (hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, for example) could leave you without access to clean running water. When this happens, hand sanitizers will be used in bathrooms, in kitchens, before meals, and countless other times when you would normally use soap.
- Bleach – Regular household bleach can be used in small doses to disinfect water. Use about 2 drops (1/8 teaspoon) for every quart of water. This is safe for drinking. Unscented bleach has about 6% chlorine in it, which is what your city uses to treat the water coming from your tap. In any type of emergency, if you are unsure if your tap water is still safe, treat it with bleach. Water treated with bleach can also be used to wash dishes.
- Moist Towelettes – You know those wet wipes that barbeque restaurants give you after a particularly messy meal? Save those. Grab all you can. Stick them in 72-hour and car emergency kits. You can also buy 1,000 of the same kinds for less than $10 online. In an extended emergency, you will be glad you have them, especially if you have children.
- Baby Wipes – If you have an infant who will need lots of diaper changes, you will certainly want to have extra of these on hand in case of an emergency. But even if you have a family of fully grown adults, baby wipes are a good commodity to have. These can be used instead of toilet paper. If you haven’t been able to bath for a few days, they will probably be a welcome relief. They can also be used as a supplement to toilet paper in order to make your stock last longer. Not properly being able to clean your private areas can result in infections, sores, and lots of discomfort.
- Buckets – Without clean water, you are going to have to sanitize and manually heat all of your water for bathing yourself, washing your clothes, and cleaning your dishes. Each of these will require their own containers and supplies. Think about what you will need and plan for it now.
- Waterless Soap & Shampoo – Washing your body may seem more like a luxury than a necessity, but it’s actually quite important. Keeping your body clean will not only help your attitude and emotional state during an emergency, it will also keep you physically healthy. Being dirty can decrease your body’s temperature, cause painful sores, and can make you seriously ill. Buy waterless soap and shampoo to bathe with if water is unavailable. (You should also pack extra sanitary items that you would use on a daily basis with water, in case you know for sure that you do have clean, heated water.) If you do not have soap or water to bath with, rub your body with a rag every day to remove dirt.
- Water Purifiers – Water purifying devices, tablets, and other filters can be bought at any camping, emergency preparedness, or army surplus store. Food Insurance sells different kinds and sizes of filters, as well as desalination packs for those living near the ocean.