If you have already stored enough food and water to last a minimum of one, two, or more weeks, you are definitely ahead of the game in being prepared for a natural disaster or other emergency. Now it’s time to start thinking about other factors that most people face in any number of emergency scenarios; like first aid and sanitation.
A first aid kit should certainly be one of your top priorities. Being able to deal with minor injuries is crucial in order to ensure that they do not progress into something more serious that you may not be able to handle on your own. A first aid kit should be compact, easy to carry and have easily accessible clear pockets to help you find what you need in a hurry. Every kit should carry basics such as:
- Alcohol and iodine pads
- Sterile eye pads
- Bandages – including butterfly closures
- Sterile gauze pads, cotton balls, and cotton swabs
- Scissors and disposable gloves
- Antiseptic wipes and adhesive tape
- Cloth that can be used as an arm sling
If you are using this as your main first aid kit, it is extremely important that you replace any items used right away. Even without an emergency, it is highly recommended that you keep separate kits in your car, cottage, boat, etc, and remember to also replenish them as needed.
Sanitation is another issue that can create an unnecessary challenge in situations where emergency response teams are not able to reach you for several days or more. Even if this is not the case, the likelihood of your toilet and shower being damaged beyond use in an earthquake or flood situation is extremely high.
There are many compact and portable items that can help see you and your family through the days and weeks following an emergency. A compact sink that holds its own water, stores toiletries and is compact enough to carry is certainly welcome whether you are exploring the wilderness or riding out a storm. One important topic that does not often come up in planning for emergencies is how to deal with human waste; especially if you are looking at days or weeks before water or electricity is restored.
There are many options specifically designed to both contain and neutralize human waste. From patented, ‘bag within a bag’ systems that are easily carried anywhere and come with polymer/enzyme blends that will biodegrade and gel waste, making it EPA approved for disposal in landfill sites to privacy tents that can be used for toileting or showering. Also remember when planning your emergency supplies or wilderness trips to make sure you include care for pets and any prescription medications that need to be on hand.