Tag Archives: Sanitation

  • How Good Sanitation Can Save Your Life

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    "The conditions are certainly right for cholera to take hold"

    That’s how an aid worker described the sanitation conditions in Kathmandu, as reported by NBC. In the same report, a health professional described cholera bluntly. “It kills you within 10 hours…,” he said, “and it’s a disease that affects the poorest of the poor.”

    Sanitation issues in Nepal Chicago Tribune

    And, with 8 million people effected, “the poorest of the poor” have grown dramatically in number. But if it were just cholera the people had to be concerned about, things wouldn’t be as bad. However, there are threats of e.coli, typhoid, and other illnesses. And with the approaching rainy (monsoon) season, things may only get worse. Nepal really is in the most dire of circumstances.

    Following a major disaster, disease and infections tend to spread quickly. According to Medical News Today,


    “Diseases and infections are not started in rotting bodies that have been killed by the immediate disaster trauma. In fact, survivors are the source of infection, as their own sanitary conditions deteriorate and sources of clean water are disrupted.”


    The Disasters Emergency Committee showed evidence of this from the recent Nepal earthquake: “People are defecating out in the open and there are already reports of diarrheal disease outbreaks and chest infections.”

    Sanitation is a critical part of emergency prep. Without the proper sanitation, not only will you be more likely to get sick, but you’ll be helping to spread that sickness to many others. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified five areas of sanitation preparedness that will help you – and others – keep diseases and infections at bay following a disaster.


    Disaster Kit

    Your disaster kit should supply you with the basics to stay sanitary. Items could include moist towelettes, soap, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and garbage bags with plastic ties. Fecal matter has a tendency to carry diseases, so be sure to contain it and dispose of it properly (hence the garbage bags with plastic ties). One suggestion for containing your unwanted bodily waste is a portable toilet and privacy shelter. The portable toilet will give you a place to sit and go, and the privacy shelter…well, it will let you do so while still maintaining your dignity.


    Wash Your Hands

    Washing hands is good a sanitation practice.If kids have to wash their hands after they cough and sneeze, then we as adults should, too. Washing our hands can eliminate many of the harmful diseases before they have a chance to spread. Remember to wash your hands with clean water. If your tap water isn’t safe, then be sure to boil or sanitize your water before washing with it. If possible, wash with running water as well.

    You should wash your hands for more than just coughing and sneezing, however. If you have kids, just think about when you tell them to wash. Before eating, after using the toilet…that kind of thing. The CDC website has a long list of when to wash up. Make sure you keep your hands clean!



    Washing your body is a good health practice to follow. Not only does bathing remove dirt and odors, but also protect us from illness and infections. Finding a bathtub with clean water might not be as easy as before a disaster, but there are other options. For example, you can give yourself a nice, hot shower with the Zodi Extreme Portable Hot Shower. Or, you can turn your water filter into a portable shower with a shower adapter. Pretty handy if you can’t use your own home!


    Dental Hygene SanitationDental Hygiene

    Of course, we still need to keep our teeth nice and healthy. When brushing your teeth, make sure you only use water that is safe and clean. Using unclean water will just defeat the purpose.


    Wound Care

    A dirty wound can lead to infection and disease. Make sure wounds are clean and covered to keep other infectious microbes from entering. Wash your wounds with soap and clean water. Seek medical attention if the wound starts to swell or if it starts becoming red.



    Food and water will help you stay alive following a disaster, but if your sanitary situation is sub-par, that food and water can only do so much good. Sickness and disease can be avoided, but it will take planning beforehand to make sure you have the supplies you need to keep you and your family healthy. Are you ready with sanitation?


    How have you prepared to stay healthy and sanitary? Let us know in comments!

    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios, First Aid and Sanitation, Insight, Planning Tagged With: hygene, emergency sanitation, health, Sanitation

  • 4 Reasons Why You Need an Emergency Shelter

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    Kathmandu Earthquake 01 - ABCKathmandu has now taken an unenviable place in modern history, a place now known for grief and sorrow. Such distinction is shared by San Francisco-USA, Messina-Italy, Port au Prince-Haiti, Kanto-Japan, Ancash Region-Peru, Haiyuan, Tangshan and Sichuan Province-China, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, the eastern Coasts of the Indian Ocean, and many other diverse places. All are modern scenes of great death and destruction brought about by earthquake. The images from all are iconic, and are continual reminders that serenity is a delicate state, that where lies peace and tranquility may become calamity and devastation in mere seconds. Nepal becomes another example what we can expect when the unexpected happens. More importantly, we are reminded of how important it is to prepare for the real and lasting effects that follow these disasters.

    Emergency shelters create a tent city Associated Press

    A few days after the devastating Nepal earthquake happened, I wrote about how the postcard-beauty of Kathmandu had become a pile of rubble surrounded by a tent city. Of all the images from this devastation, it was the vast hillsides of tarps and blankets that most poignantly struck me. From the immediate outset, emergency shelter was a major concern for those effected by the earthquake.

    After the earthquake, half a million tents were needed to provide shelter for the masses left without a roof over their head. And, to make matters worse, this may only be the preface to the Nepalese crisis; monsoon season is mere weeks away. Soon may follow downpours of rain, followed by extreme heat. Definitely not a time to be left without shelter.

    As happy and comfortable people, we tend to think about emergency preparedness as a short-term solution. We live and breathe our “72-hour kit plan” but don’t expect to be inconvenienced any longer than that. Don’t get me wrong, 72-hour kits and emergency kits are vital. And, for many situations, a 72-hour kit will be all you need. However, there are instances – such as the Nepal earthquakes – where a 72 hour kit will be your bread and butter for the first three days, but after that, you’re going to need something a little more…permanent.

    That’s where emergency shelter comes into play.

    It’s been almost three weeks since the 7.8 earthquake in Nepal struck. Since then, many countries have donated shelters to the shelterless people of Kathmandu and other regions; Britain has donated more than 65,000 shelters, with more on the way. So why is shelter so important? Let’s use Kathmandu to explain why.


    1. The Elements
    Kathmandu Eartquake Emergency Shelter in the Rain BBC

    This is probably the most obvious reason. Rain can really put a damper on things if you’re stuck out in it. With monsoon season on its way, there has already fallen quite a bit of rain on the affected areas in Nepal – and therefore the people. And then there’s the wind. Unless their tarps and blankets are anchored by rocks, the wind will make short the benefits of their makeshift shelters.

    Staying warm and dry is essential to physical health and general sanity (imagine all those afternoons watching your kids on a windy, rainy soccer field…now imagine you can’t go home…sick, tired and crazy!). Then, there is the sun factor, and the burn that cannot be blocked (remember the soccer field, again). In Nepal, shelter from rain, wind, and sun are only the beginning of why shelter is essential if they are to prevent illness, sleep at night, and survive. Reason enough to have a shelter plan?


    1. Hot and Cold

    The rain and altitude of Nepal make the night air drop to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. I don’t know about you, but sleeping out in the cold, particularly when you’re also wet, makes for a very uncomfortable, sleepless night. And then, during the days, the heat can rise close to 90 degrees. Both extremes are compounded by the humidity. Shelter will hold the heat at night, provide much-needed shade in the day, as well as temper the extreme temperatures.


    1. Sanitation

    No matter where we are…we will all have sanitary issues. Improper disposal of human waste can shortly lead to widespread disease. Now, shelters might not necessarily cure the spread of diseases, but they can sure help. By having some sort of privacy shelter with a portable toilet, doing your business is much easier, more localized, and can be controlled, keeping waste contained, thus keeping disease and sickness to a minimum. Privacy shelters can also help keep you healthy by keeping you out of the rain, cold, and other conditions that breed illness.


    1. Insects

    Insects, man…tell you what! Those little bugs just, well, bug me while I’m camping. Shelters, fortunately, can protect us from those nasty critters. This is especially important where there are mosquitoes. If their buzzing doesn’t drive you nuts, their bites will, not to mention the fact that they can carry all sorts of diseases. So, keeping them out of your space is another benefit of being ready with shelter in a catastrophe.


    Besides all these shelter-from-the-elements reasons, the sense of home, family and belonging that a shelter provides is a benefit that cannot be overstated, particularly in a world torn apart, as in Kathmandu. So you see, there are many reasons to think beyond your 72-hour kit and consider why an emergency shelter plan is essential following a disaster.

    Do you have emergency shelter for yourself and your family? Check out our range of shelters – including the heavy duty Barebones Safari and Barebones Little Bighorn tents – and get started preparing your family with shelter!


    What shelter works best for you and your family? Let us know in comments!


    Barebones Safari Emergency Shelter

    Barebones Bighorn

    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios, First Aid and Sanitation, Insight, Shelter and Temperature Control Tagged With: Barebones, emergency shelter, Nepal earthquake, Sanitation, shelter

  • When You Gotta Go: Sanitation in the Great Outdoors

    When You Gotta Go: Sanitation in the Great Outdoors

    “Does a person poop in the woods? Not if they don't have to.”

    So begins a particularly classy Gizmodo article I came across the other day, delicately titled, “How to Poop in the Woods.” For me (and on this point my mountain-man husband and I disagree), Port-a-Potties at a campsite are a deal breaker, and au naturel is not an option. However, I acknowledge (oh-so-reluctantly) the possibility of an emergency scenario that requires me to get comfy with the idea of going in the woods. Which is why I actually read this through to the end.

    Whether you’re an avid outdoorsy type or a diligent prepper, one of the situations that most urgently requires some forethought is bathroom sanitation. Gizmodo’s article—while just slightly on the grody side—gives some great guidelines for attending to the environment while attending to your business. It also offers some downright brainy ideas for how to dispose of waste when the best options (bury it, pack it out) are not available.

    P.S. The comments on Gizmodo’s article have a bit of potty language, but are a treasure trove of useful tips, like how to identify poison oak when looking for a good leaf to wipe with.

    For those like me, for whom even typing the word “poop” is squirm-inducing, there are (thankfully!) plenty of products out there to make all this a little less icky. Browse these search results for some of our favorite emergency sanitation products.

    It’s also a good idea toread up on other good hygiene practices for emergency situations. These Insight articles will get you started:

    Do you have a favorite tip or tool for the call of nature while in the great outdoors?



    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Sanitation

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