Today’s topic is a bit different than the many others that we deal with here, but it is something important that you need to think about as a prepper. We have covered how to grow food and how to safely stay bunkered in the house for extended periods of time. But the one thing that we have shied away from is dealing with the aftermath of death in a post-SHTF world.
Death is inevitable and we will all experience it at some time. So what is the best way to handle this scenario during a SHTF crisis? I have to admit that this is not something that I have a lot of knowledge about so I have asked around, spoken with my survivalist friends, and even read a great deal of information online. Ultimately, it seems that there is only one good way to handle a dead body in your survival situation.
Burning a dead body is often the first thought when the topic of death comes up, but I want to go ahead and nip this quickly. Burning a body requires a fire be very, very hot. This type of heat is unlikely to be generated from your homemade fire. Further, burning a dead body poses a serous health risk. If the proper precautions have not been made then it is still possible for pathogens to be spread during this process. Not to mention the fact that burning flesh is one of the worst smelling things in the world. This is just bad form and bad policy. Do not attempt to burn a dead body. With that being said, let’s look at better options.
When a person dies, the body loses all function. The muscles relax and any fluids that are still in the body will come out. Death is an ugly thing and this is what you need to understand. After death, all urine and feces will exit the body. It is also common for blood to come from the mouth, ears, nose, and even through the skin. It should go without saying that this is a serious situation that could lead to further contamination. Not only will this be a disturbing thing to view, but it will also be a breeding ground for bacteria and other pathogens.
Because this situation has the potential of transferring bodily fluids and disease, you need to take the proper precautions. This means that you need to be able to cover your entire body. A painter’s suit would work well to cover your body. You will also need to wear gloves, a mask, and protective goggles. Rigamortis is the process by which the body will stiffen and become almost unmanageable. This process will start within three hours of death (oftentimes much sooner) and will be fully set in within 24 hours. It is important that you act swiftly in order to combat this issue as well as the potential health risks.
Once you have taken the time to pay the respects that you need to, you must move into action. The best way to dispose of a deceased person is to bury them. Burial is not only the most common method but it is the safest in the sense that it helps reduce the possibility of pathogens spreading. There is much debate about how deep the grave should be, but the accepted norm seems to be six feet. After speaking with numerous survivalists, it is apparent to me that a shallow grave will only add to the problems since it will attract many animals looking for a quick meal. The last thing you want is your loved one being dug up by a dirty raccoon or another wild animal.
Whatever you do be sure that you bury the body a good distance from the house or place that you are staying. It is possible for bacteria to live, breed, and travel through the dirt so you want to make sure that the body is several hundred feet from the house or any water supplies. This will help ensure that the safety of the others is maintained.
Ultimately, the act of digging a 6-foot grave will be a chore. This is why you need to have tools such as shovels during a SHTF scenario. If you have a tractor that is functional during a survival situation, the task will be much easier. Once the grave has been dug you will want to wrap the body in a thick plastic or several bed sheets. Place the body in the grave and then cover it with firmly packed dirt.
I know this sounds a bit morbid but the reality is that you cannot risk allowing a dead body to lie around for an extended period of time. Regardless of the relationship and the love you have for the deceased, that person is gone. In order to secure your health and the health of those still alive, proper disposal of the body is key.
Have you thought about how you would handle death in a SHTF scenario? If there was no funeral home to handle this terrible situation, what would you do?