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Sanitation During Emergencies

Sanitation During Emergencies

Both natural and manmade disasters can cause illness and death through inadequate sanitation, poor hygiene and contaminated water. We must plan on how to best prepare ourselves for staying sanitized.

  • Store a large amount of water beforehand in case the public water supply becomes contaminated. Options include water storage, water treatment, and water filtration.
  • Wash hands properly
  • Create a plan to dispose of human waste to avoid the spread of diseases
  • Keep a clean environment with liquid hand soap and sanitizer
  • Plan for ways to keep clothing germ free without power and limited water supplies. Learning to wash clothes by hand and using clothesline is a valuable skill
  • Create a plan to manage solid waste (trash, cans, bottles, kitchen scraps, etc.) to minimize the spread of diseases and rodent attraction. Kitchen scraps should be recycled in a compost pile away from living area. Flatten cans and plastic containers to reduce size and space requirements. Wash glass containers and reuse. Burnable items such as cardboard and paper items can be used as a fuel source. Stock a variety of kitchen trash bags to help in solid waste management.
  • Access to important tools (shovels, and adjustable wrenches for water and gas shutoffs, etc.) Know where these shutoffs are located.


The following is a list of items to help prepare for sanitation needs:

Toilet paper, Liquid hand soap, Hand sanitizer, Paper towels, Oral and orthodontic care, Deodorant, Disinfectants (Bleach, Vinegar, Baking soda, Alcohol, Lysol) Disposable gloves, Garbage bags, Feminine products, Disposable diapers


Dish washing liquid, Dishcloths, Scrubbing pads, Sponge, Dish
drying rack, Paper plates/supplies


Laundry detergent, Laundry bags


Burn, Bury, Portable toilets (such as toilet seats made to snap onto 5-gallon pails, etc.)


Rope for a clothesline, Clothes pins


Wet wipes


Shovel, Adjustable wrench, Plunger, Basic tool set

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