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By Kellene Bishop

While the thought of waste management isn’t sexy or glamorous, I wouldn’t be doing anyone any favors if I didn’t teach about sanitation in greater detail. So here are a few things that you’ve just GOT to know about do-it-yourself sanitation for a prolonged period of time.

Sorry to have to say this, but human waste is a huge danger in a disaster. Many folks will just give up on any semblance of sanitation in desperate circumstances. When I lived in the Philippines, it was nothing to see a woman stop where she was going and crouch down and urinate wherever she stood. It was also common for people to simply throw their human waste out their windows…as if it was now marked as someone else’s problem. Now picture what may happen if someone lives in a high rise apartment in the center of a city not being able to flush their toilets for a week. They aren’t just going to hold it, right? I guarantee that “civilization” as you know it will cease when it comes to waste disposal. But wait. There’s even better news. A person who is healthy and has regular bowel movements produces two to three pints of urine daily and one pound of feces per day. I don’t even want to think about what happens when someone is sick from eating unsafe food, or stressed out. Ugh. And that’s just ONE person.

Flies photo c/o ufl.edu

Flies photo c/o ufl.edu

As shared previously, one small area of poor sanitation can kill everyone within a 50 mile radius. So it’s critical that you’re just as diligent with your sanitation preparedness as you are your food, water, and shelter. How can a bad sanitation area kill so many in such a wide area? The perpetrators are rodents, flies, and bacteria. Bad bacteria can travel three hundred feet from the original site of “yuck.” Flies live to spread feces and such from one place to another. And rodents are attracted to it as well. If they go in, they go out, and they then take the death germs with them. Sounds awful, doesn’t it? So you’ve got be mindful of not creating a festival of killer bacteria in the first place.

There’s quite the cocktail of formidable germs lurking in a human waste area. Streptococcus, staphylococcus, E. coli and shigella bacteria, some salmonella, Norwalk virus, hepatitis A virus, the common cold virus, and various sexually transmitted organisms.

Immediately after a power outage you may still be able to use your sewer system by pouring water directly into the toilet bowl. But this method uses up a lot of valuable water and you run the risk of having sewage in your home when the home system backs up. I wouldn’t recommend living long term that way. Instead, plug the toilet up with a tennis ball to avoid sewage coming out in the event of a blockage. And then set up alternative waste disposal options.

Trench illustration c/o wedc.lboro.ac.uk

Trench illustration c/o wedc.lboro.ac.uk

One option is to dig a trench. Your trench should be 2 feet wide, at the very minimum, 1 food deep and four feet long or more. More importantly it should be FAR way from any type of living arrangements—especially FOOD! Since the bacteria can travel 300 feet, you might want to think about having your trench that far way from your living area. After each trench use, cover the area with dirt, lime, wood ash, I-Pee, or ChemiSan. Also, I recommend sprinkling a bit of diatomaceous earth (DE) after each use as it will keep the flies and other insects away, and thus further prevent the spreading of germs. (Note: Human waste should NEVER be used as compost for food gardens.) The downside of digging the trench is that it takes up vital physical energy. Thus some of the simpler methods may be necessary instead.

Another option is to use a 5-gallon bucket with a toilet seat lid. After each use, be sure to layer it with one of the aforementioned items. ChemiSan has biodegradable bags that you can use to line the 5-gallon buckets with. This will enable you to take the bags, bury them and know that you haven’t furthered the contamination in your area. (Check their site to find distributors in your area.) For our readiness, we have lots of heavy duty plastic bags, DE, and lime on hand specifically for this purpose.

Whatever method you use, try to construct a covering/shelter for the area. This isn’t just about dignity and privacy. Germs in feces can be propelled through the air easily. Thus, leaving the waste area immediately after applying the covering of dirt, lime, etc is important. Having some type of a door or at least a plastic sheeting is a good idea as well.

Be sure that everyone is diligent in cleaning their hands for at least 20 seconds after using the facilities. The same goes if you are changing a baby or elderly diaper. Be sure to get in between the fingers and under the fingernails each time you wash your hands. If you’re relegated to using hand-sanitizer, be sure to apply enough to be just as thorough as you would if you had soap and running water.

Boil cloth diapers to clean them. Photo c/o searchingbliss.blogspot.com

Boil cloth diapers to clean them. Photo c/o searchingbliss.blogspot.com

When disposing of disposable feminine products, they should be burned after use, not put with the other waste in the trench or bucket. The same goes for disposable diapers. However, cloth diapers and their pins should be boiled, then bleached, and then exposed to the sun for a couple of hours. (Do NOT use your solar oven for this sanitation purpose)

And lastly, you may want to invest in room deodorizers now while you can get them frequently for FREE with coupons. While you may not fathom being able to use 6 cans of Febreeze now, you’ll be grateful that you have it when your “community” is forced to take care of business the early 1900’s way.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

By Kellene Bishop

Germ Warfare. Photo c/o positivepsychologynews.com

Germ Warfare. Photo c/o positivepsychologynews.com

Yes, you do have a right to be a fanatic. When it comes to war, any war, the winner is always the one who never assumes they are safe. These same tactics must be applied to germ warfare as well.

There just had to be a Part II to my previous article on Germ Warfare. After writing the first article, I kept being mentally nagged by other danger zones I had left out. In some instances, I believe these germ danger zones may be more nefarious than some of those listed in my original article. So read on, and prepare to change some more of your life’s habits.

Soda pop and other canned goods—The other night while I was teaching a class on quarantine/pandemic ironically, a free can of soda pop was offered to everyone in the room. As I watched everyone happily opened their can of pop and drank from it. I on the other hand washed mine at the sink, wiped it off with a sani-wipe and then drank from it—simply because I couldn’t find any straws. Remember, you have absolutely NO idea what rodents the cans were exposed to at their original warehouse, as they were transported, or as they were housed at the retailer you purchased them from. Hanta virus is still a viable concern even if you have no rodents in your own home.

According to a new study, steering wheels have twice as many germs as toilet seats. Photo c/o autoexpress.co.uk

According to a new study, steering wheels have twice as many germs as toilet seats. Photo c/o autoexpress.co.uk

Steering wheel—Even if I avoid the fact that many people have questionable hygiene habits when they are in their own little world in their car, the fact of the matter is, you don’t exactly turn your head away from your steering wheel when you sneeze, cough, etc. Your steering wheel gets the brunt of all that nature expels from your mouth and nose. PLEASE be sure to clean it off regularly with sani-wipes. (If you haven’t picked up on it yet, manufacturers of sani-wipes may be a hot stock pick right about now. :))

Get your drinks WITHOUT ice—I know that’s unfathomable to most of you. But here’s an eye opening statistic. You have a 70% chance of having MORE e-coli (which comes from feces) in your ice than is in the toilet from the same restaurant, airline, hotel, etc. Yes! Not just a 70% chance of finding e-coli there. But a 70% chance that your ice will be MORE contaminated than the toilet water! Studies showed that the number of stars a restaurant or hotel had made no difference in the quality of water in most cases. E-coli is introduced into the water by the water source used to make the ice, bare hands used to load the ice (instead of the scoop) and the fact that the lines to the ice machines are virtually NEVER cleaned out. 

Lemon wedges—avoid them in your drinks. I loathe the taste of tap water but I simply mask the taste by requesting a lemon wedge. Alas, I won’t be doing that any more. Lemon wedges have a 77% chance of being contaminated with e-coli, staph infection, or a myriad of other infectious bacteria. The only good thing you’ve got going for you is the fact that lemon juice is a natural anti-bacterial and disinfectant agent. *whew* Lemons are usually put into your drinks by bare hands despite the fact that they’re supposed to be handled with gloves. However, most restaurants leave it up to the servers to put them in your drinks. Having them placed on your dinner plates should be safe though as that’s usually done by a food handler in the kitchen.

Beware of gas pumps! Photo c/o blog.foreignpolicy.com

Beware of gas pumps! Photo c/o blog.foreignpolicy.com

Gas pumps—If I had to give an award for the LEAST amount of cleaning on a public item ever, gas pumps would win hands down. Think about it. When have you EVER seen someone clean those? When you pump your gas, use a paper towel that the station usually has on hand or at least sanitize the heck out of your hands before you touch ANYTHING else—including your keys.

Last but not least is a stern word of warning about playgrounds. Those bouncy houses that your kids play in NEVER get sanitized. They get vacuumed sometimes, but never fully cleaned. The ones containing the bouncy balls are a cesspool of germs of the grossest kinds. When have you ever seen a school janitor clean the chains on the swings or the bars on the monkey bars or the handles on the teeter totters? How about the playground equipment such as balls, jump ropes, etc? It’s imperative that you teach your kids to SANITIZE their hands after recess or after using such equipment on any occasion.

Bottom line, you have EVERY right to be fanatical about your health care. This is your life we’re talking about here. You MUST be in a heightened state of awareness in order to prevent you and your family from getting unnecessarily ill. One touch is all it takes folks, so be mindful. You wouldn’t take your kid down a dark alley in the middle of the city at 3:00 a.m. Making contact with e-coli or the Hanta virus or the H1N1 virus isn’t any less of a gamble. So start putting the odds in your favor. This is called germ warfare for a reason. Position yourself to win every battle.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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