Simple & Easy – Emergency Preparedness
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LDS Preparedness Guidance – Hygiene and Sanitation pt2

LDS - Emergency Preparedness

So any part of that system – it’s a fairly simple system but it has some complexity builds into it. Any part of the system failure in that part could mean that beautiful throne, that porcelain one in your bathroom might not work the way you want it to be.

So why is sanitation so important? Why are we discussing this? Well in third world countries and as I talked about before, in ancient history, the inability to deal with human waste causes disease and death, hundreds of thousands – millions of deaths around the world. It’s not something that’s happening here so much because we have a wonderful water system, waste system but it does happen around the world. Unless you have superhuman powers, you’re going to use that facility that at least a couple of times a day, I’ve been asking my wife, I said “Let’s track to see how much juice goes out” I tried to find out how many times the average person uses the bathroom in a day. I couldn’t find that information. So I found something just as good.

The average human bean produces two pints of urine a day. And somewhere between three quarters of one pound and a pound and a half of feces per day. So would you rather know how many times rather than the actual number? I don’t. If you don’t do something to give rid of it and let’s say you, for some reasons can’t or don’t have facilities, if you stopped using the bathroom, you could get sick from that. You can become constipated, you can make yourself ill from not going.

How many of you have been in area were the water is been shot off – the city says the water is going to be off between 2 and 4 and you say “Oh, that’s not a problem.” until that water goes off. The moment it goes off you go “I want a drink of water.” I can’t go to the bathroom, I have to wait till 4 o’clock”, and it’s wrinkling your day. So having that comfort station as it were, it’s an English term that I kind of like – when I was on my mission in Canada, they were referred to bathrooms as comfort stations.

You can start having psychological issues. If surviving an earthquake is where we going and how we will be going to the bathroom – if that’s gonna be a major cause for concern in your life, and it certainly could be. And it’s something you probably don’t wanna have as having that thought process, while having to deal with an earthquake as well.

What kind of things can happen to you if you don’t use a proper sanitation device? Human waste is filled with parasitic eggs, cysts, bacteria’s and many pathogens. Some of the pathogens can travel up to 300 feet all by themselves. I didn’t realize that. Until I started to studying this. The reason is some of the pathogens can travel airborne or other ways all by their lonesome – not very pleasing. The main things that we can get from been around unsanitary conditions: cholera, diarrhea, hepatitis, those kinds of infections are carried in human waste. And so we want to make sure that we have some facilities for get rid of them and dealing with them.

Well we actually we can go to my favorite question: “Well can’t I just dig a hole?” Can I go in my backyard and just dig my own latrine? They do it in the army all the time, why can’t I just do that? Well, some of the reasons why is not gonna be a really good idea. Having a latrine in your backyard is a serious health hazard and as it is covered under the several health codes in the California’s State Health Code as well as the health codes of most other cities and counties.

If you were to discover, and they are hard to hide, because people will smell them, you may be forced, at gunpoint to leave your home. Your homes as otherwise okay, except you have a latrine in your backyard. They may came and ask you to leave. Now why do I say at gunpoint? Well, because policemen asked you nicely the first time, and the National Guard might ask you nicely for the first time, but eventually they’re going to make you move. They will rent out your house and they will make you move.

During the Northbridge earthquakes, we volunteered and went up to Northridge and decided to go house to house, distributing information, telling were the FEMA sites were and those kind of things. I was given a nice orange hat and if any of you have been to a disaster site, you should bring up the hat and talk about it. But one of the things that happened to me is, I came around the corner about a block south, you now that hat apartment complex that collapsed one floor on top of the other. I was literally one block south of that and there an apartment complex that was almost exactly the same. Two story apartment complex, above the carport.

The entire structural of that carport was compromised, so everybody who lived in that apartment structure had to leave. They were living in a field behind their apartments with all of their belongings – they dragged them out. There were no facilities there. There was somebody who had dragged over a porter potty from a construction site, but that had been overfilled about two days before. And so they came there and told those people who were there that they had to leave. The situation was unsanitary, they couldn’t care for them and this will be the National Guard and they were asking, they were not asking, they were telling all these people that they had to leave.

They didn’t want to go to the FEMA camp that was set up for them, because they were not allowed to take most of their possessions with them and they were afraid that they were going to lose them. And so they were being physically removed by National Guard troops out of that area because of the unsafe conditions. So if you want to stay in your home after a disaster, building a latrine in your backyard may not be the best idea because they suddenly could come and rent out your house and force you to leave your home. Even though there is nothing else wrong with your house other than the inherence of sanitation issues.

Part of the problem we have around here with digging a latrine or some type of thing in your backyard, is that we have a condition of this area in most of Orange County is a flood plain for the San Gabriel River. Therefore, our soil is really very sandy, which is really nice if you trying to dig a hole and plant flowers. It’s pretty easy to tear up the soil. The bad news is the sand, if you pour water in it, it’ll go right down. The water table here is only about 34 feet deep. And so if you were to dig a latrine for more than 2-3, 4 feet deep, you will have water coming in so anything that will go in to the latrine would certainly enter into the water supply. And that will not be good for you or anyone else because the water that you drink comes to the same source and so that could be a problem.

The other problem is, I told you before – you need to have a latrine about 300 feet away from where you’re living. I don’t know about you, I don’t own that much property. And to find a place that can get 300 feet from my house or anybody’s house, I’ll imagine neither can any of you. We live in Southern California, we’re all pretty much dense housing, so that you can’t get about 50 or so feet away from your house or anybody else’s house. That’s far shorter than 300 feet that you require to be able to build a latrine.

Then you will have to worry about ventilation. Remember that I told you that they will be discovered pretty quickly – that’s because of smell will start to happen. And the only way you can avoid that is to build something that will house the latrine and be able to ventilate it properly. There are a lot of places on the internet where you can go to get plans and kits to build your latrine in your own backyard. The problem is, you’ll still come back to that 300 foot rule and the quarter table rule that you have.


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