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Many of us have become experts on sanitation and cleaning thanks to the pandemic. We quickly learned all about sanitation wipes, the importance of handwashing, and what common supplies around the house can be used as a sanitizer when you’re in a pinch.
In a grid-down scenario, it is crucial to think about sanitation and how to keep your family healthy. Access to clean or running water may be limited, and it is important to sanitization items on hand when the power is out. Germs and viruses can quickly spread in an emergency, making sanitation even more critical. Learn more about how to build a sanitation kit with these tips.
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Pick a Sturdy Box
Sanitation kits should be stored in a tote that can stand up to the elements. This usually includes a rubber or plastic tote that has a secure lid and closure. Choosing a clear tote with clamp-style handles is also a good idea so that you can see the contents of the tote and ensure that the lid won’t pop off. Don’t use cardboard or other materials that will easily absorb water.
Pack the Sanitation Kit
Every family will have different items in their sanitation kit. These items could significantly vary depending on your location and the weather. However, it is safe to say that most sanitation kits should include the following items:
The most important part of a sanitation kit is to pack items that can disinfect from germs.
A few gallons of bleach is always a good idea for your sanitation kit. Even if your tote doesn’t have room for bleach, consider storing jugs near the kit in your emergency storage area. You can dilute bleach to clean surfaces and sterilize essential cooking utensils.
Another good item to have in your sanitation kit is a bottle or two of rubbing alcohol. This useful supply can disinfect areas as well as disinfect wounds. It is another sanitation and cleaning agent that is great to have on hand. Be sure to store bottles with at least 70% isopropyl alcohol, though, as some bottles have less of the needed active ingredient.
Known for its disinfecting qualities, hydrogen peroxide is another great option to put into the sanitation kit. It is commonly used to clean wounds, cuts, and scrapes that could seem like a small injury but turn into a major problem. Keep hydrogen peroxide in dark bottles away from sunlight for better storage.
While you may want to break into the sanitation kit after a stressful day in an emergency, it is best to leave it alone until you really need it. Hard alcohol is shelf-stable and doesn’t require any fuss. It is primarily used as a pain reliever in emergencies when someone needs to have a bone set or some kind of surgery without anesthesia. Alcohol can also be used to sanitize and clean important tools as well.
Keeping your body clean, as well as your clothes and towels clean, are important.
Hand washing is the best way to keep germs and sickness at bay. Pack your sanitation kit with multiple forms of soap, including dish soap, hand soap, laundry and bar soap. Any and all will work for cleaning your dishes, body, and other items that need a quick wash. However, bar soap is the usual favorite for sanitation kits as it is easy to pack and comes in large value packs.
If there are any women in your household, it is essential to consider packing feminine hygiene products into your sanitation kit. Storing a box of tampons or pads helps care for the women in your family during an emergency and keeps you from needing to wash clothes or rags often.
Coming into contact with poop is one of the easiest ways to get sick in a disaster. Not only does it carry germs, but it also can pass along sickness very quickly. Storing a small shovel in the sanitation kit is a vital tool to use when anyone needs to do their business outside. Bury the poop in different areas of the yard when you don’t have access to septic systems.
While some would argue that toilet paper isn’t needed in an emergency, it is quite convenient. If you don’t have packs of toilet paper already hoarded in your home, you may want to pick up a few extra rolls for the sanitation kit. Toilet paper is a good way to protect your hands and can be a barrier so that you don’t come into contact with feces.
While brushing and flossing your teeth may not seem like a critical sanitary skill, it is important to keep germs away. Brushing and flossing can help protect your teeth from decay or cavities that can pose serious health concerns when not addressed quickly. Your oral health is an integral part of the body that should be protected in an emergency, especially when dental care would be essentially non-existent.
Stocking hand sanitizer in a sanitation kit is an easy way to keep hands clean when hand washing is limited. Options like Purell come in multiple sizes that are easy to pop into a pocket or store in small spaces. Many of us have learned that not all hand sanitizers are equal when it comes to how they feel (or smell) after living through the pandemic. However, in an emergency, most hand sanitizers on the market are better than nothing.
Your sanitation kit will be stocked with items that disinfect and clean your personal effects, but don’t forget these other supplies as well.
As an easy item to forget, many people don’t realize their need for trash bags until it is too late. Keeping your living space clean and free from trash is an important part of surviving an emergency. Store a roll or two of trash bags in the sanitation kit that should last a long time.
Many people may forget the power of heat and fire when it comes to sanitizing tools and equipment. Storing matches in a sanitation kit is helpful when wanting to start a fire or boil water. Water is an essential resource in an emergency, and keeping matches on hand to bring water to the boiling point can keep drinking water safe.
While paper towels are convenient and can be helpful in an emergency, consider packing hand towels instead. Not only can they be washed and reused many times, but they can be used for a wide range of activities or needs. Roll them up and stuff them into empty crevices inside the sanitation box to save on storage space.
Gather supplies now for your sanitation kit in case of an emergency. Consider getting the supplies first and then choosing a tote or box that is large enough for all of the items. Store your emergency sanitation kit in your emergency storage and make sure to keep it dry and out of direct sunlight. Keeping your family safe and healthy after a disaster is so much easier with the help of a sanitation kit.
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