Whether you plan on using an emergency toilet for extended car camping trips or simply as a backup to your household toilet in the case of a natural disaster that disrupts the water lines to and/or from your home, you need to have a basic understanding of how to use an emergency toilet. The principles presented here will center around limiting the transmission of diseases that may be contained in fecal matter as well as how to make living with a temporary toilet more bearable.
How to Limit Transmission of Disease
There are three main ways that diseases are spread from fecal matter to other humans, and you need to take steps to limit each possible transmission scenario. Consider the following:
1. Hand-to-Hand: In this scenario, someone fails to wash their hands properly after answering nature's call and then prepares food, touches another person, or handles objects that other people then touches. In any case, you should have a readily accessible hand washing station next to your emergency toilet and enforce a strict hand washing policy.
2. Contaminated Water Supply: In this scenario, human waste finds its way into a supply of fresh water, and, thus contaminates the water supply. To preserve the integrity of your water supply, use a bag or bucket to contain waste, and as a secondary precaution, place your toilet at least 100 yards away from your water supply and down hill.
3. Pest-to-Human: In this scenario, flies or other pests find access to your toilet and then come into contact with either your food supply or into direct contact with humans. Make sure you have a sealable lid to isolate the contents of your toilet from pests.
How to Limit the Smell
An emergency toilet will typically not have a flushing function, so you may have to contend with the smell of the waste accumulating in the toilet. To make it more bearable to use the emergency toilet and thus prevent people from relieving themselves wherever they please in an effort to avoid the smell of the toilet, use sawdust and/or cat litter to help trap the smell of the waste in the toilet. You should also keep the lid to your toilet closed between uses to further contain the smell.
A true emergency preparedness toilet should be portable so that you have a way to contain your waste while you are camping or if you are forced out of your home in the event of a natural disaster. Bucket-type emergency toilets tend to be economical and easy to use, so they make a good choice. While the topic of emergency toilets is not really a pleasant one, it is something that every family should consider. After all, the best way to survive a disaster is to have plan in place, so everyone knows what to do to make it out alive.