One Year to Be Prepared: Month 8 Checklist
Each month during 2023, the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians Emergency Management team will provide you a checklist for assembling emergency supplies and help you and your family think though various emergency scenarios. The monthly checklists will also prompt you to consider special circumstances, such as supplies for pets, elders, evacuation routes, and sanitation.
(For the complete list of One Year to be Prepared lists, click here)
MONTH EIGHT: SANITATION AND HYGIENE
Water, sanitation, and hygiene-related emergencies and outbreaks are some of the most significant public health issues during and after a disaster. It’s essential for every person to have enough clean, safe water to meet their drinking, sanitation, and hygiene needs. One gallon per person per day is recommended.
Hand washing and basic personal hygiene are critical to staying healthy during an emergency event. Without clean water, good hygiene, dental hygiene, and wound care is impossible.
Learn water filtration and purification skills to prepare water for cleaning, cooking, and drinking.
In a disaster, water and sewer lines may be disrupted. Each person in your household should know how to properly dispose of human waste and be able to sanitize all necessary items to avoid infection and the spread of disease.
Two-Bucket Toilet System
- Two five-gallon buckets with tight-fitting lids can be stored as makeshift toilets. A seat can be fashioned from a pool noodle cut lengthwise and placed on the rim of the bucket.
- Keep a supply of five-gallon plastic liners to line your buckets.
- Store toilet paper, disinfectant spray, hand sanitizer, etc. nearby.
- One or more large metal-covered garbage cans to contain waste after it has been sealed in plastic.
Digging a Latrine
- Keep distance between pit and nearby water sources.
- Dig hole 2 1/2 feet deep, 1 foot wide, and 4 feet long.
- Cover the trench with soil when waste reaches within a foot of the top.
- Staying healthy and clean won’t happen by accident. Identify how much extra water you’ll need for cleaning, and what other cleaning supplies need to be purchased.
- Identify types of sanitation and hygiene practices you want during an emergency.
- Determine whether you should store extra water or sanitizing wipes.
- Build and test a two-bucket toilet system.
- Make a list of items to add to your supplies.
Train or Be Trained
- Practice crating your pets and loading them, their supplies, your family, and your supplies into your vehicle. Does it all fit? Could you do it in under five minutes? Could you do it in the dark? What needs to be modified for it to work in an actual emergency situation?
Supplies – Gather or Purchase
- Add sanitation and hygiene supplies to your emergency kits. Don’t forget feminine hygiene supplies and incontinence supplies.
- Add the items for a two-bucket toilet system to your kits.
- Add water and food for another 3 days. Consider juices or powdered electrolyte mixes as well.
When the human body becomes overheated, several adverse reactions could occur, including experiencing dehydration, or worse, heat stroke.
How Hot is Too Hot?
The upper limit of safety, beyond which the human body can no longer cool itself by evaporating sweat from the surface of the body to maintain a stable core temperature, is:
- 95° Fahrenheit at 100% humidity
- 115° Fahrenheit at 50% humidity
How Can I Prevent Heat Stroke?
- Limit outdoor activities
- Stay hydrated
- If you begin to sweat profusely, go into an air-conditioned building, a pool, or a body of water until you cool off
- If anyone near you displays any of the signs of heat stroke, it is a medical emergency. Call for help as soon as possible.
Signs of Heat Stroke
- High body temperature: A core body temperature of 104° F or higher
- Altered mental state or behavior: Confusion, agitation, slurred speech, delirium, seizures, and coma
- Alteration in sweating: Hot weather may cause the skin to feel hot and dry to the touch. Strenuous exercise may cause the skin to feel dry or slightly moist.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Flushed skin
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Racing heart rate: Heat stress places a tremendous burden on your heart to help cool your body.
Don’t Forget Your Dogs
Keep them cool by giving them plenty of water to drink. Dogs don’t sweat and release most of their body heat by panting. Wetting their fur can also help keep them cool.
Remember to never leave your dog in a parked car. Even if you cracked the window, and it may seem cooler outside, the interior of a car in direct sunlight can go up to 172° Fahrenheit.
Dogs don’t have insulation on their paws. A rule of thumb when taking them for a walk is: if it is too hot for you to walk barefoot, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.