Brave police officers and firefighters put their lives on the line daily while protecting and serving. Having to think of so many important factors when it comes to saving lives, no one would ever imagine that one of life’s basic necessities would also have to factor into their thinking: where and how to use the restroom.
These bold men and women are never certain what situations they may encounter on the job, and they don’t always have access to regular bathroom facilities.
Whether their patrol routes are lacking in public restrooms or they’re battling blazes far away from basic necessities like electricity and running toilets, dedicated public servants have a lot to contend with when it comes time for a bathroom break, which makes their jobs harder.
Men and women in blue chatted back and forth online in a thread on forum.officer.com, saying:
“Like a dog, I have left my mark all over town to include people’s backyards (residential alarm calls).”
“Pick a dark corner in my county or the side of a redwood tree hidden from traffic and I’ve probably ****ed there. One thing I learned was to keep track of construction sites and farms that kept unlocked porta-potties on site.”
“For us city cops, it’s not out of the ordinary to go call to call from the start of shift to the end.”
“You do what you have to do.”
… Yeeeea. We could imagine there are more “stories” there, but we won’t ask. Instead, let’s look at the inconveniences putting our first responders in these positions in the first place.
The Issues around First Responders and Bathroom Breaks
For police officers, needing to find a bathroom while on patrol is one of the most annoying, uncomfortable, and unhealthy drawbacks of the job. It’s a bigger problem than you would think.
- There are health concerns at hand. Holding it in for the sake of public safety isn’t safe (or fair) for the officer.
- A police officer’s safety, and that of the people they serve, depends on their ability to concentrate and eliminate needless distractions.
And there are many other considerations:
No Public Restrooms Nearby
During the day, officers and fire crew may have restaurants or building lobbies they know they can count on, and many officers did mention that they usually make stops at public places to use the restroom or even stop at home if it’s on their patrol route. But what if they’re working overnight? What if their beat is more suburban or rural, with no public restrooms for miles?
As for firefighters, so many wildfires happen in remote areas, there’s a solid chance there won’t even be a bathroom to be found for miles around. Plus, even if there was a bathroom available somewhere, the valuable time needed to find and use a bathroom could cost lives. However, bodily functions aren’t known to run our schedules or demands.
They’re Put in a Position to Break the Law
Some first responders may be inspired to find the nearest alley or tree when a restroom isn’t close by, but it’s actually illegal to urinate in public. It would be unacceptable for an officer to get caught breaking the very law they’re meant to enforce, but they’re many times put in positions where they have no choice.
Smile—You’re on Camera!
With doorbell cameras, red light cameras, and surveillance cameras everywhere, not to mention police bodycams, managing to find a private spot somewhere in public is nearly impossible today. A couple officers acknowledged how this is now playing into their restroom woes — some have changed their habits and others don’t seem to care.
“There are way to many cameras out there now……………………….but back in the day.”
“But speaking of cameras, about the time they release body cams the number of ****s I take a day is going to increase dramatically. And John Q. Citizen is going to get a front row seat.”
Today, if first responders don’t watch their surroundings or find a good place to hide, what might start as an innocent effort to relieve oneself on the job could end in a P.R. nightmare if a camera catches the officer and someone posts it online.
Females Are Especially Vulnerable
For female officers and fire crew, picking a tree isn’t really an option! These officers have the additional hardship of having to remove their utility belts (gun holster and all) in order to use the restroom, putting them in a particularly difficult situation. Doing this means their weapon isn’t completely in their control, and they also have to find a secure (and sanitary) place to put it.
One officer said, “As a girl, you have to take off a few layers of gear most of the time. You may be on the side of the road using your doors to shield yourself and thankful that you have napkins, water, and cleaner in your cruiser while cursing all the guys and how easy it is for them.”
So, What’s the Solution to the Potty Probem for Police and Firefighters?
We’re so glad you asked! Some first responder agencies are turning to portable bathroom solutions like Brief Relief to protect their workers and their reputations.
If you served in the military you may remember WAG Bag®s. The sister brand of Brief Relief, Cleanwaste, invented the original WAG Bag®. The WAG Bag® (Waste Alleviation and Gelling Bag) is a disposable human waste bag. And yup, that means exactly what you think it does. It’s a bag for catching and disposing of human waste.
When out on patrol with only a car for privacy, the Brief Relief Liquid Waste Bag is a compact, individually packaged bag for liquid waste that can be used by both men and women. It ensures everyone has a comfortable, sanitary way to go. It contains a unique blend of enzymes and polymers that convert urine into a deodorized gel, just like the WAG Bag®, and each bag can hold up to 20 ounces of urine.
If you’re looking for a complete solution, we recommend The Brief Relief Lavatory System. It includes:
- One Commode Portable Toilet. This has all the comfort, height, and ease of a standard toilet with a full-size flexible seat.
- One Privacy Shelter. It’s portable, roomy, and easily deployed. The shelter provides privacy whenever and wherever you need it.
- Ten Brief Relief Daily Restroom Kits. Each kit comes complete with a secure, puncture-resistant WAG Bag, toilet paper, and a sanitizing wipe.
With this gear, police officers and firefighters have everything they need on hand to find a clean, private, and legal way to find relief anywhere in the field.
To learn more about how Brief Relief waste bags help first responders, the military, and
government agencies perform their jobs better, check out our full product line here.