Nothing says community like a bucket brigade. Chains of neighbors passing buckets have put out fires and saved their towns. Buckets of rubble passed hand-to-hand have enabled rescuers to reach survivors of earthquakes and landslides.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have an earthquake in our future. Experts say water and sewer services will be interrupted for months or years. Now a group of Portland volunteers is making sure that people are prepared. The Twin Bucket Brigade is getting the word out about emergency sanitation. Drawing on the experience of the resourceful people of Christchurch, New Zealand, they are taking the Twin Bucket Emergency Toilet from neighborhood to neighborhood, meeting to meeting. They pass out leaflets, and engage their neighbors around the question “What do you do with the pee and poo?” Their message? Collect buckets and know why and how to separate pee from poo and what to do with each in an emergency.
This system has been endorsed by the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management.
Individuals, neighborhood associations, civic groups, school teams and scout troops are invited to join the Twin Bucket Brigade. A current Brigade member can give a short orientation in person, by video conference. or even by phone. You can borrow an exhibit kit or put one together yourself.
Included in the portable exhibit kit are nested pee and poo buckets, various lids including a toilet seat, sandwich bags with samples of carbon composting material, a plastic rack for how-to leaflets, a sign, a table cloth, a clipboard sign-up sheet, and a volunteer manual.
The Twin-Bucket Kit Checklist lists contents can be assembled for $10 -$50 depending on how many recyclables you can find. An Information for Presenters binder includes includes Presenter Guidelines and a template for the Twin Bucket Emergency Toilet Leaflet that you can personalize with your logo or that of a sponsor. There’s also a Bucket Brigade rack card, a tent card sign for the exhibit, a sign in sheet, a bibliography of useful resources on resilient sanitation and a list of addresses of physical and online sites where you can find parts and supplies. (This is imilar to the regularly updated page on the PHLUSH site). If there are technical questions that Brigade volunteers cannot answer, people are invited to email questions to the team at PHLUSH.
How about joining the Twin-Bucket Brigade? Get in touch with PHLUSH to schedule a brief orientation and borrow a kit. If you live in one of the twelve neighborhoods served by Neighbors West-Northwest, contact Jen Kirk to check out a kit from their office at 2257 NW Raleigh St, Portland. If you live in one of the twenty neighborhoods served by Southeast Uplift, contact Jay Derderian.