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How we need to prepare

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Identify what you need to put aside – pt 11 – Sanitation

The next article in our series ‘Identify what you need to put aside‘ is Sanitation.

Not that long ago in real terms we threw our waste out of the windows and into the streets where people were walking and disease was rampant. People died in droves and any illness swept the cities and towns like wildfire. Plague and pestilence killed hundreds of thousands and that was in the days when the world population was measured in millions. Some smart people recognised the benefits of sanitation and toilets, sewers and washing facilities were introduced into society at which point people stopped dying of plague and pestilence at the rate they were and the world’s population started to grow quickly untilit is where it is now.

Modern Sanitation
In all western homes we have toilets to carry away our biological waste. We have bins to take away any other waste we have, (Let us put aside at the moment that we now have a limited bin service due to recycling and this has decreased the hygiene around us and encouraged rats back to our homes), and we have access to chemically treated clean water to wash and cook with. We also have access to chemicals that can clean up spills and dirt and kill any germs that we have spread around. Even with all this people suffer from stomach bugs and diarrhoea due to food poisoning. Modern medical treatments though fix that fairly quickly although those ill or old can die from it. So, even with all that we have carelessness still causes issues.

What will we have after an event?
None of the above.
We will not have flushing toilets.
We will not have other waste collected and disposed of.
We will have limited access to fresh water
We will not have the same access to chemicals.
We will have limited access to medical cures.

What we need to do
We will need to use a designated area for toilets. One which is reserved for that purpose ensuring that we cover up and do not spread any germs from that area. There are plans available for composting toilets or we could simply bury the waste in a pit. Washing your hands after going to the toilet is a must.
We will have to bury our waste ourselves. We would compost what we can and dump what we cannot, possibly into the toilet pit.
We would have to use rainwater or processed water and home made soap to wash our hands.
We would use the same processed water to clean up spills and dirt with. This would have to be followed up with scrubs and bleaching on a frequent basis to kill all the biological agents and germs we usually get with a spray today.
Food poisoning is fairly common even now and it would become a killer again until people relearn how to clean up after themselves and wash their hands after going to the toilet and their hands and working surfaces before and after handling food.

What do I need to do to prepare?
Well you should already be washing your hands when you go to the toilet, before you handle food and after you handle food. It is basic hygiene. You should also be cleaning up after yourself and wiping down tops and washing pots and pans. So there is not much more you can do there is there? The difference is that you will be using homemade soaps and washing up with soap and they will not have the same germ killing capabilities so boiling water must be used to clean everything to ensure we kill the germs.

You should prepare a composting toilet. You can use one now if you wish. At the very least read up about human waste in the Sanitation Books.
Add to your supplies list;

  • A Spade
  • Bleach
  • Antibacterial Soap
  • Tub, for heating hot water and washing pots
  • Anti Diarrhoea powders

That is it. Not a lot for so important a subject.

The biggest part however will be education. Making sure everyone does it automatically and understands how important it is. Consider that it only takes one person handling food that didn’t wash their hands after going to the toilet to bring everyone eating that meal down with food poisoning.

Next up is part 12 in the series, Medical.

4 comments to Identify what you need to put aside – pt 11 – Sanitation

  • Skvez

    Malaria kills on average about 3 million people per year, far more than all the wars in the world combined (you imply governments causing wars kill the most people).
    Actually in 2010 Cancer was the biggest killer (taking over from heart disease) but arguably these are ‘conditions’ rather than diseases.

    Sure I now know how to make soap, but it’s a real pain, will take lots of time, use precious fat (that suddenly I’ll want as much of in my diet rather than as little of once I’m on a survival diet) makes an awful smell (not OPSEC) and involves a balance of concentrations, particularly the Lye that’s going to be difficult to achieve.
    On the other hand soap keeps almost indefinitely (if you keep it dry) and you can buy four big bars of unscented; un-coloured; un-everything else; just plain soap for under a pound. Stockpile a lifetime’s supply now!

  • Skean Dhude


    I was trying to make a point because I specifically said healthy people. 3 million a year compared to the hundreds of millions killed in Cambodia, Rwanda etc. although to be honest the point was kind of diluted by edits I made later to remove some facts and figures on cancer, heart disease, falls, breaks etc. that I thought with hindsight was boring. AFter all we are all healthy until we become ill and die. Mosquitos are the biggest killers because they have been doing it for thousands of years. Give our governments a chance. Anyway, I’ve just edited that part out because it doesn’t fit in any more.

    I’m with you on the soap. Buy it now while you can. Making lye is a lot more trouble than it appears and so far it only seems to be good for maing soap, tanning and burning yourself. If you want to do tanning though, and we will eventually, we will need to makes some.

  • Skvez

    Rwanda genocide numbers were 800000, less than a million (not hundreds of millions).

  • Skean Dhude


    Pull them all together, WWI, WWII, Stalins purges, Vietnam, Cambodia, Rwanda, etc. and governments have killed 100s of millions.

    Although it is moot anyway because everyone dies, healthy, ill, by mosquito, governments, cancer, heart disease, cold, warm,falls, car crash. Something at some point converts them from living healthy people to dead people. It all depends on what the cause of death is described as. The people that die waiting for the NHS to get into gear are put down as cancer victims, stroke victims etc. Government figures put deaths from mistakes as 40,000 a month just in the UK. I nearly choked when I was told that. I bet none of them are recorded as such though. They will be accidents or whatever the illness that brought them to the hospital in the first place.

    Anyway, the point was that sanitation was a major killer and changes there in the way we worked was one of the key changes that humans made to elongate their lives.

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