Field Hygiene and Sanitation in SHTF

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Meet-The-Dirtiest-Old-Man-Who-Hasnt-Seen-A-Bath-Tub-in-60-Years

 

 

Often we preppers focus on the big picture items, food, water, power, weapons and ammo to defend it.  However there are more dangerous things out there that can kill you, in fact in a total collapse you will be more likely to die from disease than roving gangs or starvation.  In WWII alone 38-55 million civilians died with around 25 million MORE dead from disease, this just goes to show you that with the massive amounts of battles, fire bombings, etc. massive amounts of people died, but still half were claimed by disease.

What lesson does this teach you?

That your vigilance is needed in the world of sanitation and hygiene as much of and more so than actually worrying about “combat”.

How can you better implement a sanitation strategy to your home/group in the event of a SHTF scenario.

First you should implement better hygiene and sanitation in your daily life now, as with anything in prepping the more you make a part of your normal life now the easier it will be in the future.

 

WASHING HANDS

This is basic, what we were taught as children “wash your hands before dinner…wash behind your ears.”

While it may have been annoying at that time, it was still good advice.  Once again listen to your mother and you may just survive this world!

Now you may think you need to have anti-bacterial soaps, however recent studies have found that anti-bacterial soaps are no more effective than anti-bacterial soaps when used by healthy people.

Something like Irish Spring Soap will work just fine and you can pick up large amounts of it in bulk.  However you may want to have some Anti-Bacterial soap on hand to use for people who may get ill, are weakened by other issues, etc.

wash your hands vigorously, scrub under your nails with a good nail brush especially before you eat or touch your hands to your mouth in anyway.  A good habit to develop is to just keep your hands out of your mouth.

 

 KEEPING YOUR BODY CLEAN

As with washing your hands keeping your body clean is of the utmost importance.

As best you can with what you have available take showers or baths daily, if you cannot wash yourself using a rag with soap and water.  The cleaner your body is the healthier you will be.

An easy and cheap makeshift shower is just a 5 gallon bucket with handle.  Using a nail and hammer, drill, etc., bust holes through the bottom.  You don’t want too many holes, fewer is better, you can always add more, if you have too many you will lose too much water to quickly.  Concentrate the holes in the center of the bucket.  Use the handle to hang from a branch and pour water into the bucket, or fill it up and hang it immediately.  Be naked before hand and get under it, and you have yourself a decent little makeshift shower.

If you do have power/water in your home you will probably want to conserve the water/electricity depending on where it is coming from.  The best way to do this is to institute the “Navy Shower” policy.  That is you turn on the water, get wet, turn it off.  Then soap up and wash yourself from top to bottom.  Don’t forget the crotch, butt and feet.  Then turn on the water and rinse off, and shut off immediately.  Its amazing how much water we waste just lounging in the shower.

A good loofa, sponge or pumice stone is great for getting off the dirty layer of muck and grim on your body or hard to get off dirt’s, oils, etc from your hands.  I had a friend tell me before I went into the Marines (who was a vet himself) to always make sure i keep my butt clean, i didn’t understand at first, but after my first few  week long forays into the field i realized that not doing so let to quite a bit of discomfort from what we called “swamp ass”.

 

EATING AND UTENSILS

It is paramount that you keep whatever you eat on and drink out of clean.  I recently had a bout of the stomach bubbles due to not keeping my cup clean on a recent hiking trip, this is just a pain now, but could spell death if your are not careful in a real survival situation, it was a good wake up call for my complacence in situation i consider second nature.

Always wash after eating and before eating if it was exposed to dirt and grime.

Water is better than nothing, and sand/gravel works well for a pre-clean scrub if you have nothing else. However this will not prevent any yuckies that may have formed on them.  I personally have bulked up on storing dawn dishwashing liquid.  You can pick up a gallon for around $11 on Amazon.  A quick word on Amazon Prime, its a great service and i have had it for 2 years now, basically it offers you free 2 day shipping on amazon prime items, most of them are. its around $90 but when you factor in shipping on a lot of this stuff it pays for itself very quickly.  Considering you could order 500 lbs of stuff and not pay shipping, that is great.  You can try it out for 30 days for free by going through this link.   

 

BATHROOM

I don’t need to go into this on this post as i just wrote a post about this recently called SHTF LATRINES: How to Poop when the water stops

 

MISC

A few other things to keep in mind…

  • Keep your socks dry when out and about, always carry a second pair, if the first get soaked take them off, and hang them around your neck or off your pack so they can dry.  Foot rot is not your friend
  • Foot and Body Powder are great if you have them, i would recommend storing some away, they can usually be picked up when walgreens, riteaid, etc have those clearance bins for dirt cheap.
  • It is also important for you to keep your clothes clean.  Now getting dirty isn’t something to be avoided like the plague, but it defeats the purpose somewhat if you keep yourself clean but never clean your clothes for weeks on end.
  • Zinc Oxide and other creams are good to keep some minor rubbing on your thighs, butt, etc from becoming infected.

 

 

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SHTF LATRINES: How to Poop when the water stops

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Latrine

 

So once again this is not a subject that most people want to talk about, that being pooping.

Nowadays most people don’t give a second thought to their bowel movements other than simply finding the nearest gas station when you have a bad breakfast burrito.  We forget what a modern miracle this is, that within a few minutes in most places there is a place that will take your waste and flush it away out of sight.

Now many of you live in a city, or at least a semi-suburban sprawl with city water.  What would happen if that water got shut off? What would happen if the city could no longer supply that water, or it would be unpredictable, off for days?  Now certainly it would be a high priority in a collapse scenario for the government to provide the basics, that being electricity and water along with food, however we cant rely on them doing so.

Latrines are old tech, but necessary to keep human waste from becoming a massive threat to your survival.  In the coming weeks I will be publishing a post on a why hygiene and sanitation is so important, i will leave the in depth detail on this subject for then, that being said leaving human waste around is not just a smelly issue, but can and will kill you if you are not careful.


Here are different types of Latrines.

 

STRADDLE TRENCH LATRINE

Dig a trench to these dimensions.

  • 1 Foot Wide
  • 2.5 Feet deep
  • 4 Feet Long

You can dig it as long as you want, but the concept is simple.  Place some boards across the edge to give the person some good footing.  As each person needs to use the bathroom have them go to the nearest edge and squat and use it.  Once they are finished cover that area with dirt and the next person will go right next to that spot in the trench, and so on.  leave a shovel at the trench for use in covering it up.  In Iraq we used this style of trench but cut out a hole in a lawn chair or wooden box (we used ammo crates), once you cover up the area with the excretion, move the box over the next open spot and leave it there.

 

DEEP PIT LATRINE

This is more for the outhouse style of latrine, you can build whatever “Box” or “Privy” that you want to.  There are plans for a Privy in my Prepper Resources Page which you can copy or modify to your needs.

The Hole is dug to these specifications

  • 2 Feet Wide
  • 3.5-7.5 Feet Long (Depending on the size of the box)
  • 1 Foot Deep (1 Foot deep for each week of expected us Plus 1 foot of dirt cover, so 2 weeks would be 2 feet for use, 1 foot for  dirt cover, total 3 feet)

You will not want to dig this more than 6 feet due to caving in of the walls, so for long long term use, you will need to dig more holes and move it.

 

MOUND LATRINE

This is for use in areas when high ground water levels or a close to surface rock prevents you from digging a deep pit.

You will want to pile up a mound of earth with at least 6 feet wide and 12 feet long is formed and you can then place the latrine box/privy on top of that.

 

PAIL LATRINE

This can be used for the aforementioned rocky surfaces are present or if you live in a urban area.  You can build a privy or latrine box as normal, but leave an open space or build a door that allows access to underneath the seating area.  If located within a building, you should try to leave the door or access area open to the outside.  Place a pail underneath each (if applicable) seat and empty as needed

Dispose of the waste by burning or burying it.

If by burning you will want to dump it in a hole or a burn barrel and fill it with some diesel fuel, light it on fire and stir often to make sure it burns well.

If by digging, dig a pit and dump it in, covering with dirt carefully to keep from allowing any unexposed waste from attracting flies or exuding its natural smell.   If you have ample supplies of lime, toss that in to keep the smell down.

 

The main thing is to keep the waste from attracting flies that will end up giving you dysentary.  I can attest to the fact that this is not only a not fun experience, but could be deadly.  While i had it (overseas in Iraq) I passed out due to dehydration and had to be given three IV’s before I woke back up, it lasted weeks and I was using the bathroom about 14 times a day; i never took off my boots or pants because I was constantly going to the bathroom all day and night with about 30 seconds of lead time!  I wrote a post about Treating and preventing Cholera you should read, as the rehydration treatment is the same.

 

 

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SHTF MEDICINE: How to Build your First Aid Kit

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para-kit

 

Now there are a million different first aid/medic kits out there that you can buy prepackaged, however I have found that 98% of these fall into one of these 3 categories.

  • They Have more than you need or your skill set/experience knows how to use
  • They are basic kiddie fell on the sidewalk boo boo junk
  • They have a decent set up but are way overpriced for what is contained in them

Now I will say up front I am not a certified EMT or a Field medic from the military, however I have been trained in combat first aid and basic triage on the battlefield, while this is not up to the same level by any measure I do know what most of you have the ability to do and what you will need.  You can always buy more if you want an advanced medic bag and learn as you go, that’s your prerogative.

Here is a list of some basic stuff you should buy.

First off you will want a bag to put all this stuff in, now you could buy some very high speed bag specifically made for EMT’s and Medics, but you can easily make do with a cheap tactical/shoot bag like the Allen & Company Tactical Bag which retails for around $30.  I would recommend packing the more necessary first aid items, that being ones that are needed for immediate lifesaving needs like gauze, pressure bandages, israeli bandages or tourniquets.  If you need band-aids they are not a immediate lifesaving implements you can stick them inside.

 

Here are some necessary items for a good first aid kit.

 

If you want a more advanced bag here are some things you may want, but please learn how to use them first

 

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