Community Shelter Supplies
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Civil Defense Fallout Shelter Sanitation Kits
Fallout Shelter Sanitation Kits consisted of 22 inch high by 16 inch diameter fiberboard drums filled with sanitation supplies. These drums and were to serve as the shelter chemical toilets until the water drums were emptied and became available to be used as toilets.Sanitation kits came in two types. Pictured above are the Sanitation Kit III and Sanitation Kit IV. I have only found listings in CD information for these two types of shelter sanitation kits. The SKIII kit was to supply 25 persons for 2 weeks. The SKIV was to supply 50 persons for 2 weeks.
The SK III was issued in far fewer numbers than the SK IV. I believe the SK III was probably dropped from the program because there was really no need to have two different types of kits. That's just speculation, but it makes sense to me.
In a search through the City of Dallas archives I found a good example that shows the difference in the numbers of SKIIIs and SKIVs that were issued. In a City Of Dallas Office Memorandum dated 27 March, 1963 there was an itemized list of the total number of shelter supplies shipped to Dallas in the city's first shipment of supplies. The numbers of sanitation kits shipped to Dallas in the first shipment were 2383 SKIVs and only 31 SKIIIs. With the March 1963 date of the memo that shows a shipment to Dallas which was early in the shelter program. With the numbers shown in that shipment it's probably safe to assume the numbers were similarly low for SKIIIs to other cities as well. I guess that's why it took me forever to finally find one of the things. And then I had to get it on ebay. Details of each kit contents shown below.Click all images to see larger!
Sanitation Kit Contents List
Later SK IV Kits had no Hand Cleaner and 70 Cups and Lids Instead of 80.
Sanitation Kit III
Inside the SKIII there are 2 boxes with the supplies and a plastic toilet seat. The SKIV is packed similar to this but the 10 toilet paper rolls are put in the bottom of the drum with the boxes on top of the rolls. In the SKIII the 5 toilet paper rolls are in one of the boxes and the boxes are a little longer than the SKIV. If this doesn't sound like Civil Defense collector minutiae nothing does :-) I think everything is visible in the above photo of the supplies in the box. The only thing that isn't is the siphon tube which is in the brown envelope with the can opener sitting on top of it. All the supplies can be seen in a little better photo in the SKIV section below.
This SKIII kit drum was manufactured by the Greif Bros. Cooperage Corp. 1962. The kit is complete except for the hand cleaner. The "OK" on the label was most likely put on when the hand cleaner was removed. More info on the hand cleaner removal below in the SKIV section....
Sanitation Kit IV
Thanks goes out to Doug in Ohio for pointing this label thing out to me. In 30+ years of collecting this junk I had never noticed the difference.
Here are the contents of a 1963 dated SKIV laid out for display. The kit is complete with new-condition (see "problems" section below) hand cleaner can.
Prototype Sanitation Kit
Pictured above is a U.S. Army photo of a prototype sanitation kit. I call this kit a "prototype" because the contents of this kit almost matches the early supply contents list I have titled "Standard Supplies For The Fallout Shelter." (Click link to view Adobe PDF file) I say "almost matches" because the "Standard Supplies" list shows 20 rolls of toilet paper where the photo shows 10 rolls. Since the drum size on the list is the same as the standard sanitation kit drum the quantity of 20 rolls of t.p. must be an error. There is no way 20 rolls of t.p. could fit in the drum with everything else. I have never seen a sanitation kit contents list in any other civil defense material that matches the contents in the "Standard Supplies" list or the kit in the photo above.
The prototype kit contents are similar to the SKIII and SKIV except there are plastic canteens instead of cups and lids, a large sheet of plastic described as a "privacy screen," a roll of twine and water purification tablets. Water purification tablets were stocked in the fallout shelter medical kits.
Sanitation Kit Information From DOD OCD 1964 Annual Statistical Report
Sanitation Kit Problems
Very early on in the fallout shelter program the sanitation kits issued to community fallout shelters had problems with leaking hand cleaner cans which resulted in the release of a bulletin from Civil Defense. The bulletin dated November 6, 1964 covered the cause and instructed for the removal of the hand cleaner cans during normal inspections. I found a copy of the bulletin at the Dallas City Archives when I was going through their old civil defense files a while back. I guess it's really more than anyone would ever want to know about sanitation kit hand cleaner but here it is anyway....
A number of sanitation kits I have found over the years had the hand cleaner removed and the "hand cleaner" marked over on the kit label. Notice on the SK III I have pictured, at the top of this page, that there is a big OK with a red dot next to the "hand cleaner" written in red on the front label of the kit drum. A few kits I have found with the hand cleaner still in them did have the problems exactly as described in the above bulletin. Later kits had no hand cleaner. The kits I have seen without hand cleaner listed on the label had no date on the drum. I believe these kits are late 1963 or 1964 issue kits. The 1964 Annual Statistal Report sanitation kit contents list shows no hand cleaner.
Hand-Written Note By Dallas CD
I also discovered another interesting thing in my search at the Dallas City Archives. Well, I guess it wasn't that interesting but I thought it was because it was a hand written note from someone at Dallas Civil Defense. The note discussed inspection of sanitation kits for leaking commode chemical. Here is what was written in the note....
Until early 2012 I had never encountered a sanitation kit with a different type of commode chemical other than the chemical packets shown in photos on this page. I recovered 22 sanitation kits from a building in Dallas that were about to be thrown away. Of the 22 kits I noticed one had damaged boxes when I opened it. Turns out it had the type of chemical referred to in the above note. See photo....
As it turned out three of the kits, all dated 1962, had this iodine liquid chemical inside the one kit box. The chemical bottle pictured was resting against the hand cleaner can just as described in the above old Dallas CD office note but it was also upside down in the kit box. How it hadn't completely leaked out over the years is a mystery to me because the other two bottles had leaked. One had emptied completely. Here's the result.....
I would be willing to bet this kit has been like this for a VERY long time. From the way the hand-written note reads it appears that Dallas CD was asked to inspect kits for this specific problem. I found no other documentation as to who might have requested the inspection though. I have never seen a bulletin issued by Civil Defense about leaking commode chemical but that doesn't mean there wasn't one issued.
SKIV Drum and Water Drum in "Commode Mode"