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It’s easier to survive when you’re prepared with both rules for good hygiene, such as the California motto during water shortage, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow and if it’s brown, flush it down,” and well prepared. Hygiene includes more than just toileting, although that’s an important part of the picture.
Your plan should include having adequate water for clean up or at least antibacterial hand-sanitizer or wipes that don’t require water. Stocking up on paper products and disposable tableware can reduce the amount of dishwashing necessary. If you’re planning for the long term, don’t forget that clothing eventually all gets dirty. A hand washer and clothes line comes in handy. Staying clean and in clean clothes is not only good hygiene, it boosts morale.
The first step in the plan when the power goes out is to fill the tub with water for flushing and washing, or buckets in the event you don’t have a tub. Some toilets, particularly those in the basement, require a pump to flush and that means electricity. Know ahead of time whether yours will flush by just pouring water. If not, you need to establish alternative methods of toileting ahead of time. During and after a disaster, accumulated waste can cause disease and even contaminate the water. Dysentery and cholera are just two of the offenders from water that is contaminated by human waste.
The accumulation of garbage outside your home attracts rodents. Rodents have fleas and both carry diseases. Consider the Black Death or Bubonic Plague that spread via rodents inhabiting the garbage in the streets during the Middle Ages. Good hygiene practices in the home can help prevent pests that at best create discomfort and at worst transmit disease.
Even if you’re connected to city sewage, a major citywide disaster can shut down the sewage lines. Having a backup plan, such as keep your home clean, disease free and far more pleasant. If you’re on a budget, kitty litter buckets, heavy duty plastic bags and kitty litter can be used instead of the toilet, burying the contents frequently. Consider other alternatives, such as a camping toilet, composting toilet or outhouse.
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