In Time of Emergency eBook

Office of Civil Defense
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 73 pages of information about In Time of Emergency.

1.  Read this chapter fully, and learn how you would have to manage your water, food and sanitation problems if you had to spend a week or two in a fallout shelter, especially a home shelter.


1.  If you are in a public fallout shelter, do exactly what the shelter manager tells you to do.  He will take care of you to the best of his ability.

2.  If you are in a home shelter, follow the advice given in this chapter concerning water, food and sanitation.  Take care of your water and food supplies, keep them clean, and make them last for the period you may have to stay in shelter.  If necessary, set up an emergency toilet, keep it clean, and make sure it is used properly.


At all times and under all conditions, human beings must have sufficient water, adequate food and proper sanitation in order to stay alive and healthy.  When people are living in a fallout shelter—­even for a week or two—­water and food may be scarce, and it may be difficult to maintain normal sanitary conditions.  Water and food supplies may have to be “managed”—­that is, taken care of, kept clean, and rationed to each person in the shelter.  Sanitation also may have to be managed and controlled, perhaps by setting up emergency toilets and rules to insure that they are used properly.

If you go to a public fallout shelter in a time of attack, you probably would not need to know a great deal about managing water, food, and sanitation.  A shelter manager and his assistants would handle these problems with the cooperation of all in the shelter.  He would make the best use of whatever water and food supplies were available, provide emergency toilets if necessary, set up rules for living in the shelter, arrange for the shelter occupants to carry on various activities necessary for health and well-being, and decide when it was safe for the group to leave shelter and for how long at a time.

In a home fallout shelter, however, you and your family would be largely on your own.  You would have to take care of yourselves, solve your own problems, make your own living arrangements, subsist on the supplies you had previously stocked, and find out for yourself (probably by listening to the radio) when it was safe to leave shelter.  In this situation, one of your most important tasks would be to manage your water and food supplies, and maintain sanitation.  The following guidance is intended to help you do this.


The average person in a shelter would need at least 1 quart of water or other liquids per day to drink, but more would be useful (to allow some for washing, etc.).  Therefore a rationing plan might be required in your home shelter, so as to make your available liquids last for 14 days.  (Many communities may continue to have potable water available, and families could relax their rationing plans.)

Project Gutenberg
In Time of Emergency from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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