Preparedness Fundamentals

Hygiene & Safe Water

Hygiene & Safe Water 1754

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) related emergency preparedness and outbreak response has become one of the most significant and aucial public health issues in recent history. Emergencies can include natural disasters (hurricanes, floods and droughts), man-made disasters (chemical spills into waterways) and outbreaks (infections linked to water exposure after disaster).

Having clean and safe water in an emergency situation to meet drinking, sanitation and hygiene needs is essential for every person.

Learn basic water filtration and purification skllls so that you are always ready to prepare water for cleaning, cooking and drinking.

You may not have power during a long-term event. Keep supplies on hand to boil water on an outside camp stove or fire pit.


Hand washing and basic personal hygiene are critical for staying healthy during any type of event. It helps stop the spread of disease and keeps us healthy, allowing for medical professionals to focus on the critically injured. While hygiene is of the utmost importance, it can be difficult during a flood or earthquake. Without clean water, good hygiene, dental hygiene and wound care is impossible.

Show me the Science
Hand washing reduces the amount of all types of gem,s, chemicals, pesticides and heavy metals on hands. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of microbes on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all type of gem,s and are not effective on visibly dirty hands.

When hand washing is not available, use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. Sanitizers with less than 60% alcohol merely reduce the growth of germs rather than kill them outright.


  • Sometimes bathing or showering may be done with water that is not safe to drink. Be sure it does not get into your eyes or mouth. Water with chemicals in it should not be used to shower or bathe.
  • Store some mouthwash in the event your water service is interrupted. You can rinse your mouth with it rather than water.
  • If you or someone with you has an open wound, it should never come in contact with dirty water. Dirty water may cause an infection and drastically increase the need for medical intervention. 


TIP: Liquid soap can burst and solid soap can melt if left in a hot vehicle during summer days. For a light-weight, easy to pack soap, consider sheet soap. It comes in a small, reusable container with 50-250 sheets and can be found in most camping stores for just a few dollars.