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Making and using an emergency toilet

In a disaster you may not be able to use your normal toilet if sewerage lines are broken or damaged.  It’s easy to make and use an emergency toilet.

Making an emergency toilet

You can easily make two types of simple emergency toilet:

A simple toilet frame or seat can be built over the long drop. See making a seat for your emergency toilet.

Separate your waste

If you’ve been camping, you’ll know that an emergency toilet works best if the liquid and solid wastes are kept separate. This makes waste easier to handle and reduces smells.

Health tips

  • After using the toilet or emptying the bucket wash your hands thoroughly using soap and water, or hand sanitiser. Dry your hands thoroughly.
  • Use a nail brush to get rid of any material  beneath your nails.
  • If someone does get sick (e.g. vomiting or diarrhoea), try and use another bucket. Take extra care when emptying the bucket and disinfect with a dilute bleach solution. Seek medical attention if symptoms persist.

Helping children to use emergency toilets

Keep the gap between the toilet seat and the bucket as small as possible, to reduce accidents.  If you’re using a bucket, raise it up so it is touching the seat or frame.

Ensure your usual toilet is sealed shut so it can’t be used.

For young children use symbols or paintings to help them learn which toilet can be used.

Emergency toilet flyer

You can download and print this flyer (pdf, 354 kb) and share it with your friends and family.

Please contact us if you would like a copy of this flyer sent to you.

Trial of emergency compost toilets

In 2012 a trial of emergency compost toilets was conducted by WREMO. The findings of the trail can be found in a report on a trail of emergency compost toilets (pdf, 5.21 MB).

More information

Find out more about emergency compost toilets from the Relieve Association.