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Tips for Sanitation After a Disaster

Your last thought after a disaster is to stay clean. Who thinks about wet wipes while they are trying to stay alive? Sanitation is an important aspect of life, even after the immediate danger has passed.

Hygiene Is Important

Proper hygiene and sanitation are key to preventing illness and infection. It is important to keep your home clean and to practice good hygiene whenever possible. Hand washing is a powerful tool to prevent the spread of disease and germs. It is especially important to wash your hands after you have suffered from any injuries or cuts.

In an emergency situation, you may need to follow specific guidelines in order to ensure proper sanitation.

Pay attention to the Authorities

Tap water may not be safe to drink, or to use for bathing, especially after a flood-related disaster. Follow the instructions of your local authorities, and wait for the approval to use water from the faucets.

Find Safe Water

Stockpiling safe drinking waters should be a top priority when you plan for an emergency. It ensures that you have enough water for your daily needs.

It is a good idea, in addition to your water supply, to have a small amount of distilled water on hand for washing your hands and cleaning up wounds.

Make Water Safe

If there is no other option than the water in your tap or around you, you may need to make sure that the water is safe for you to drink. This usually involves boiling, filtering or disinfecting any water you have.

Boiling: Use towels or coffee filters to filter the water. If you don’t have a filter, leave the water to settle for a few minutes so that sediment doesn’t build up. Then, pour the clear water from the top. Bring the water to a boil. Let it boil for no less than one minute. Let the water cool, and then store any leftover water in clean, airtight containers.

To disinfect water, you can use household bleach (unscented), water purification tablets or iodine. First, filter the water in the same manner. Then follow the manufacturer’s instructions for tablets or iodine. Add 1/8 teaspoon bleach to each gallon of water. Stir and allow to sit for 30 minutes before using.

Last-Ditch Efforts

You can get water safe enough to drink even if you don’t have the ability to boil it or disinfect it. The water in your home’s water heater tank, and the water in the toilet tank (not in the bowl), are safe as long as they have not been treated with chemicals. Rainwater and water from moving water bodies will be safer than any standing water.

Other Sanitation Options

Sprays, antibacterial gels and wet wipes may not be the best at cleaning you up after an accident or other serious circumstances. However, they can still get you clean if you don’t have any other options.

Clean water is the best thing after a disaster. These tips and tricks will help you find or make clean drinking water.

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