There is a lot of information online about emergency preparedness and how to deal with various crisis scenarios. However, when it comes to dealing with survival sanitation, it seems that this subject is somehow sensitive and it’s not covered by many survival experts.
If a catastrophic event would hit us tomorrow, handling survival sanitation will become a nasty reality for some. Sooner or later, they will have to deal with the S from the proverbial SHTF. In this article, we will discuss how one can deal with survival sanitation when bugging in or when bugging out.
For many of the unprepared, dealing with waste management will be the least of their problems, but for you, survival sanitation will become a constant drill in a post-apocalyptic world. When your bowels start to growl or when you have to deal with a truckload of trash, follow these suggestions, and you will have one less thing to worry in the middle of chaos.
Survival sanitation when bugging in
For many of the preppers out there, bugging out is not an option and it’s no use debating once again about what is best for them. Everyone prepares as best as they can for the SHTF event they fear the most and for the environment they live in. When bugging-in in a doomed world waste will most probably pile up everywhere. Whether you like it or not, trash and human waste must be dealt with to keep your house clean and free of diseases. The sewage system at your home won’t be able to last for long and if you are on a municipal sewage, water will flow until the source breaks. The sewage will flow away until the facility fails, and then you have to think about other ways to deal with survival sanitation.
If you live in a rural setting, water shouldn’t be a problem if it comes from an electricity-powered pump in a well from your private land. You most probably have a septic system that is usually gravity operated. You should be covered for years to come, but even so, you should know how to deal with waste management when the time comes.
Related article: How to bug in and survive
If the toilet is still working, many people will just use a bucket of water to continue using it. However, since water will become a valuable resource in a post-SHTF scenario, the best way would be to let the urine in the bowl through multiple uses. When someone goes number two, you will need to use a bucket of water to flush it all away.
If your toilet is not working, you need to improvise and you have to keep in mind that urine should be separated from solid human waste to make disposal an easier job. A bucket with a tight-fitting lid will become your urinal of choice and it will work for both genders. After a few days, it will generate a strong odor and you know it will be time to dump it outdoors. If you need to keep a low profile and stay under the radar, you should dump it at nighttime. Make sure you dump it in a pit or gravel bed and not near your garden. The ammonia from the urine will kill grass, trees and anything else you have planted.
Like I said above, a working toilet flushed with buckets of water will spare you the headache of dealing with number two. If this isn’t an option, improvising a toilet from a bucket will be the way to go. You will need heavy duty plastic bags for this method to work. Throw in the bucket used toilet paper and feminine hygiene products as you don’t want these mixed with your trash. After each use, you will need to add some dry material into the bucket. You can use wood ashes, dried grass, shredded newspaper and even sawdust if you have any. The dry material will help mitigate the smell. To help even more with the smell, you can add a splash of chlorine bleach.
When the bucket is full enough and you can no longer deal with the smell, it’s time to discard it. Take the plastic bag outside and find a place to bury it. If you don’t have the luxury to do this operation and time will be of the essence, you can dump it in a place far away from your home. Just make sure you don’t use the same place every time, as it will create a pile human traces. It will let others know that a human dwelling is nearby.
When it comes to trash in a post-apocalyptic world, recycling is the key. Survival sanitation requires a lot of imagination when it comes to dealing with trash. Garbage could become a treasure when the wheels of modern society stop and almost everything can be reused. Jars can be used as drinking glasses or for seeding purposes. Metal cans can be used as cooking vessels or to improvise an alarm system. Paper waste can be turned into toilet paper if crumpled enough. These are just a few examples and it’s all up to your imagination and the needs you might have.
Remember that when dealing with trash, sorting it plays an important role. Pull out anything you might find useful, clean or disinfect it using bleach and put it aside. Whatever you do, don’t burn the trash because it can create a series of unwanted consequences: the smoke will let everyone know where you are located, some items will produce toxic fumes when burned and there’s always the chance to start a home fire that you can’t control. Make sure you separate the organic trash as well because it can come in handy. You can use it for composting or you can create fuel when used in conjunction with a biogas generator.
Pets and survival sanitation, when bugging in
Yes, pets have to go too and they won’t change their habits just because the world is not anymore what it used to be. Your companion animals will provide you with some extra work in a crisis event, but you have to make an effort to clean up their poop. This will prevent the spread of bacteria and the spread of potential illness. You should let your dogs out to do their business, early in the morning and when night falls. This will be a precautionary measure to keep a low profile. Dealing with your cat’s litter box during a SHTF even should be more comfortable and you just need to refill it periodically. When you run out of litter, gravel and sand will work just fine. Dig a latrine hole to dump the litter.
Survival Sanitation when bugging out
Going while you’re on the run is much simpler than when you are stuck in a confined space. Dealing with trash is also easier and you just need a few precautionary measures. Bugging out requires planning and having the right supplies, so make sure you have some toilet paper.
When you’re bugging out, you can pee wherever you may like since you’re just passing through. It doesn’t matter if you leave a trail like a wet spot if the path is known only by you. The situation changes when you are in route to your bug out location and you don’t want to leave any trace. When you need to pee, you have to step off the beaten path without making a disturbance. Don’t pee on a tree trunk or exposed rocks because it could leave a visible wet spot for hours. Also, the ladies should pay attention and cover their trail as they may leave two deep footprints that can be easily spotted.
Making a cat hole when you are exploring the great outdoors or when you are bugging out is the best way to deal with number two. You can use a stick or your survival shovel to dig a hole eight inches deep. Do your business and make sure you bury the evidence. Make sure you blend in the disturbed soil and place leaves and sticks over the filled hole. If you forgot your toilet paper, using dead dry leaves should do the trick.
When you are bugging out, survival sanitation should also include the way you handle trash. There are only two options and it all depends on the bug out timeline you have to follow. You can bring the trash with you or you can hide it. If you think you might be followed, littering as you walk is the worst thing you could do. The trail of trash will become a beacon for those who are after you, and they don’t need to be expert trackers to figure out where you are heading. If you know how to cover your tracks and blend in the disturbed soil, you can bury the trash as you go. Otherwise, your best bet is to bring it all with you, considering that the empty wrappers or bottles weight less than before.
Related reading: Bugging out without leaving a trail
Survival sanitation is a dirty task and you need to make sure you keep your hands clean. Maintaining high standards of hygiene should be a priority even when the world is plunged into chaos. Having a few of the following household items at hand will help you clean things up.
Almost every person I know has a good supply of bleach. Bleach has many uses during a crisis event and it can help with survival sanitation as well. You can make a quick disinfectant solution with bleach and all you need to do is add ¼ cup of ordinary bleach to 3 cups of water. Pour it into a spray bottle and use it to disinfect dirty surfaces.
This is another item that should be found in your stash and it is a great cleaning item that can last you for a long time. You can use antibacterial soap to wash your hands, your body and even your clothes.
Vodka or other clear liquor will become a great disinfectant when nothing else is available. You can use it to disinfect dirty surfaces and as a deodorizer for skin and clothing. It can kill even the bacteria in your mouth, just make sure you don’t use too much of it.
Survival Sanitation, a final word
Some may find this topic disgusting while others will consider it to be humorous. However it may be, we shouldn’t shy away when discussing about survival sanitation in a world that has stopped working. Bugging in and living off the grid is not easy and it will not be uncommon for people to contract bacteria illnesses. You should know that fecal bacteria can cause diarrhea and vomiting. If medical help is not available, it can lead to even worse conditions such as fever and dysentery. Your body’s immune system will be challenged in a crisis event and if it cannot fight, you might even die. Cleaning after yourself and keeping things tidy will make sure you won’t have to deal with illnesses and you will live to fight another day.
Stay safe and God Bless!
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