Hygiene takes on a new level of importance after a disaster or even simply the loss of power and water. In most disasters, up to 40% of the casualties are the direct result of poor hygiene. Access to clean water and soap may be limited which compounds the issue. It’s important to store these items. Stock up on soap. Adding powdered pool chlorine to your stores will also allow you to sanitize water for bathing. The importance of this cannot be overstated.
I have a portable shower shelter that was bought on Amazon. Should my household water supply become compromised, I have a backup way to shower. It comes with a portable hot water heater, a 12VDC on demand pump, hoses, and a drum for clean water.
I can assemble the shelter outside and have the ability to take a hot shower. We’ll be performing a lot of manual labor after the SHTF. When you’re hot, dirty, and tired there is nothing else that restores like a hot shower. I use the Triton 5 liter heater from Amazon. It connects to a standard twenty-five pound propane tank. Two D cell batteries provide the ignition to light the pilot on demand.
One thing to keep in mind is that the heater is gas powered so it contains a flame and gets hot. Keep it away from the shelter. Set it up on a sturdy, flat, and level surface like the table pictured. The heat is vented out the top of the unit and it’s important to make sure nothing is overhead.
The heater is used in conjunction with the Lightspeed shelter from Amazon. Once the shelter and heater is set up, the shower head is routed inside. If there is domestic water, I simply connect the hose to the heater. Once the shower is turned on then the heater lights and there’s hot water. If there’s no domestic water, I go with the back-up plan.
That consists of a plastic 55-gallon drum and the on demand pump connected to a car battery. The drum can be filled with water and treated with either chlorine or bleach to make it safe. The intake from the pump is inserted into the barrel and the discharge to the heater. When the shower is turned on, the pump kicks on, the heater fires up, and I have a hot shower.
This system does more than just provide a hot shower. By adding a splitter it provides hot water for washing hands, dishes, cleaning purposes, and general sanitation. The importance of these cannot be overemphasized. Washing your hands throughout the day is the most important thing you can do to prevent illness. Just some of the times you should wash your hands is before you eat, if you’ve come in contact with flood water, before and after preparing food, before and after treating a wound. Plus it provides the ability to properly wash cooking utensils. Aside from your hands, this is the second most common vector for disease.
You should wash your hands with clean, hot water, and soap for a minimum of twenty seconds. Having this system in place will allow you to do just that. Not to mention it will allow you the ability to wash your clothes.
I like this particular shelter because it’s big and sets up very quickly. You simply unpack it, spread it out a little, and extend the legs. Pushing the top up locks it into place. Once you go around and snap all the clips to the legs, it’s fully erected. It also has a built-in floor. This is a nice feature that prevents you from simply standing in the dirt. Hanging the showerhead takes a little ingenuity but isn’t that hard. There are convenient mesh baskets for holding things like soap and shampoo.
The hot water heater is nice because it’s so simple. Connect the propane and water lines. Make sure the batteries are installed and it’s ready to go to work. There are two knobs that allow you to control the temperature. This takes a little trial and error as the heater can produce water at a temp that will scald you.
On the plus side, once it’s set you never have to fool with it again. Just open the showerhead and hot water will flow forth. Since the heater only runs when there is actual waterflow, it’s very efficient on fuel consumption. One thing to remember with this heater is to remove the batteries when you store it. As we all know, batteries stored in a device will corrode over time. So it’s a good idea to take them out.
With a little forward planning you’ll be able to keep you and your family clean. It’s far more comfortable and safer to be clean. Check out the links for the items I use. There are other brands but the important thing here is to establish your plan now and acquire the equipment. That way when things go sideways, you’re ready to maintain the health of your family.