Practicing good basic hygiene during a disaster can be the difference between living or getting very ill and even worse – death! 


  • WASHING. You can prevent illness by washing your hands often; before eating, after using the bathroom, after you change a diaper, and any other time you may need to freshen up. Because water is such a precious commodity during an emergency, you should remember to use purified drinking water first for drinking, cooking, washing dishes and then for other purposes. Be organized and choose a designated bathing area..With a little soap you can also wash yourself in the rain. Other washing alternatives include moist towelettes, a spray bottle, sanitizing lotions, or a wet washcloth. Be sure to wear shoes to prevent parasitic infections and to protect you from cuts and puncture wounds that can easily become infected….
  • SANITATION AREA. Choosing the right location for your sanitation needs is as important as staying clean. Your wast place must be located downhill from any usable water source. It also helps to have your waste place downwind from your living area, and yet not too far so that the distance discourages people from using it.
  • GETTING RID OF REFUSE. If you cannot dispose of refuse properly you should always bury biodegradable garbage and human waste to avoid the spread of disease by rats and insects. Dig a pit 12 to 18 inches deep and at least 50 feet but preferably 200 plus feet downhill and away from any well, spring, or water supply. Fill the pit with the refuse and cover with dirt..

Toilets in your Emergency Kit???

If the water gets shut off for any amount of time, you can’t flush the toilet! You will have to find a way to get rid of waste and sanitize all surrounding areas to avoid the spread of disease.

Earthquakes show up the inherent vulnerability of centralized sewer systems based on water flushing to a pipe collection network and single large treatment facility.  The pipe network is underground and always leaks, and the whole pipe system from the household connection pipe to the treatment facility has to function for the system to work.  

This page will give you information on hygiene during a disaster, how to prepare for your sanitation needs during an emergency -sewage unavailability, how to make a composting toilet and more..