As this catastrophic pandemic outbreak sweeps across the world today, are you and your family prepared to shelter at home for weeks or months on end?
The truth is that most people aren’t prepared to survive through a devastating pandemic that will affect our world.
On the other hand, many scientists have long recommended preparing for the possibility of such a catastrophic event.
These warnings by healthcare professionals, researchers, and scientists aren’t without their merits, they are serious concerns being highlighted for you.
Catastrophic outbreaks and influenza have long been a part of our history for thousands of years, and it should have come as no surprise when you first heard the news of the new strain of “flu” or virus that you have never heard of before is killing thousands around the world.
Here is the thing.
The world is not ready or prepared for this global pandemic outbreak.
While I strongly believe the integrity of the systems we have today (some of the best), in a widespread pandemic, the shocking gaps in our response systems will come to light as our emergency services will most likely be rendered inoperable from such an event.
As the death toll rose all around the world from the Wuhan coronavirus, not only were the healthcare professionals not prepared for such an outbreak, they were also ill-equipped to deal with the volume of cases flowing into their hospitals and medical centers.
As a survivalist, this is something to learn from and to incorporate radically different thinking into your preparedness plans.
In preparing your family for an outbreak you will have to observe the same guidelines much like you would in other emergency scenarios with a few minor differences.
The minute a pandemic hits, life as you know it will be disrupted due to people across the country falling ill at the same time.
Such cataclysmic disruptions will affect basic services, schools, businesses, transportation and especially hospitals which will be rendered inoperable from a large number of people seeking help.
A severe influenza pandemic can easily lead to extreme levels of illness, death, social anarchy, and economic loss.
How A Pandemic Outbreak Will Unfold
This pandemic it has initially started out as an epidemic in Wuhan China and initially was difficult to plot it’s trajectory as it evolved, but the impact was felt without a doubt.
As we can see, the impact of an influenza virus that mutates into a full-blown pandemic can be very catastrophic and devastating with widespread effects in various parts of the world.
Extrapolating from historical disaster events like the Spanish Flu, up to one-third of the world population could easily contract illnesses with many more experiencing symptoms and staying at home to keep from falling sick.
When people stop going to work to take care of the sick that’s when things start to go sideways. Some of the harmful effects that come as a result of a widespread pandemic without going into detail include:
- Disruption of critical services like public transit, schools, communications, banks, malls, hospitals, restaurants, EMS, police, fire depts, utilities
- Social breakdown with rioting, looting, and other crimes
- Emergency services and hospitals will be overwhelmed, slammed, and sometimes rendered inoperable
- Causes economic slowdowns across the globe as ports, cities, and movement of goods and services are hampered due to containment and quarantine directives
- Stores will run out of basic supplies like food, medical supplies when transportation and shipping lanes get disrupted in the chaos
While the thought of a widespread pandemic may make you uncomfortable, you can take important steps to protect yourself, your family, and to support your community in preparing for such events. It is still not too late.
This is probably the most counter-intuitive aspect of survival. One that very few newbie preppers know about… but do you know what the military, navy seals, expert preppers, hardcore bushcraft survivalists and all of their families will do during the next disaster?
Will they head for the woods? No…
Will they load their bug-out vehicles with supplies and storm off? Nope.
Will they go to their bug-out retreat? Not a chance.
99% of them will bug in. That’s what they’re prepping for right now, and so should you.
Why? Because bugging out is flat-out dangerous. You’ll be out there, in the wild or on a highway, vulnerable, with no shelter, limited supplies, and dangers at every step.
Dan F. Sullivan, one of the top survival experts, has put together a fantastic video that answers some tough questions. I recommend you watch it right now:
How Our Interlinked Society Leads To Pandemics
When you look closely at pandemic outbreaks from the past, you will know that millions upon millions of deaths are a very real probability.
With the evolution of innovative technologies and travel, the death toll count could be much higher than anything you’ve ever seen before.
There are places in the world that used to be remote and removed from the rest of the modern world, and now they are simply a plane ride away.
We are so hyper-connected that certain regions of the world like third-world countries and emerging nations where these diseases exist are now more traveled to more often than in the past.
This is of itself only increases the probability of an infectious outbreak spreading to other parts of the globe within a matter of days.
Take the Wuhan Coronavirus. Since its outbreak in December, it continued to spread throughout mainland China and to the rest of the world all the way to Europe, North America, and other regions.
In China and Italy alone the hospitals were overwhelmed, schools were shut down, so many regions under lockdown for quarantine, transportation services were down, as well as stores and pharmacies.
People had to make do with what they had and tourists traveling in the region were trapped in the affected area with no resources or any immediate way out.
The sad thing today is, technology has left the world unprepared and vulnerable for a pandemic outbreak.
Without people to protect, work, and maintain our fractured systems, you will see a rapid shutdown of our economic system with things devolving into anarchy.
In grid-down situations, utilities, water supplies, logistics for food delivery, healthcare, and other commerce will collapse and grind to a halt. The system you will have grown accustomed to will flicker and die.
As people begin to contract the disease and fall ill, the system will rapidly become overwhelmed and sometimes rendered inoperable.
If you are not prepared to deal with that, the consequences of an infrastructure shutdown might actually kill more people than the actual illness itself.
These are the numerous ways in which our interconnected social and economic systems expose us to these dangerous threats.
Preparing Yourself For a Pandemic
The impact of a pandemic can easily be reduced if you prepare yourself and your family ahead of time. The benefits of being proactive and starting early are many. For those that didn’t prepare there are still some steps that can help a lot.
It will bring you peace of mind, confidence and a sense of control over your own future together with the ability to fight infectious diseases.
Preparation involves planning, equipping yourself and learning basic first aid skills that will come to your aid when things go wrong.
In preparing for a widespread pandemic that might end up affecting your region it will be helpful to think about a few guiding fundamentals. You need to prepare to:
- Isolate and quarantine yourself and loved ones
- Protect and safeguard yourself and loved ones
- Treat and provide basic medical interventions for yourself and loved ones
In the next few sections, I will cover a few different things that you can do in order to make sure that you are well-prepared for this pandemic outbreak.
Recommended reading: Preparing For SHTF—A Honest Reality Check
Be Self-Sufficient and Prepare To Treat At Home
If you are currently following the news about the Coronavirus outbreak with the rising death tolls, then you will know the ethical and moral dilemma healthcare workers typically deal with, in the face of a severe pandemic.
Should they report to work and help take care of the sick, essentially putting themselves (and their families) at risk of getting infected, or do they stay at home to protect and care for their loved ones to ensure they don’t get sick?
Most experts have made it abundantly clear that, in a devastating disease outbreak, local hospitals and other medical services will quickly fill to well above their capacities thus overwhelming their ability to help everyone.
This can happen in a matter of hours and days. This may lead you to have to treat yourself or members of your family in your own home.
In scenarios like this, it will be important to be prepared with basic home treatments for various common symptoms like fever, cough, runny nose, and muscle pain.
This can easily result in complications that require further interventions but if you are ready and prepared, you can handle it in your own home.
Self-sufficiency, in this case, is so important as supply and distribution channels will be disrupted in the wake of a pandemic.
To save on storage space and costs, most hospitals and pharmacies only keep enough medicine on hand for a few days, depending on daily deliveries to keep their supplies stocked.
With many life-saving medical supplies being made in Asia, there’s a great chance that deliveries will be interrupted or halted entirely.
Stores will likely sell out of over-the-counter medication and other essential supplies quickly.
This also means that you’ll be less likely to leave your house for supplies, which could potentially expose you to an infectious virus.
Consider stocking up on over-the-counter medications like:
- Pain relievers
- Cough and cold medicine
- Stomach medicine, including anti-diarrheal
- Iodine tablets and vitamins
- Any other relevant prescription medications
Over-the-counter medication can be expensive, especially when you’re trying to buy it in large amounts.
Trying to purchase OTC medications in bulk can be quite expensive if you have tried to. To save money if you are on a budget, make sure to look for bargains and use coupons and only buy what you need when the price is discounted as well.
Rotate your medications as well to avoid ending up with expired medications when you need them the most.
To save money, look for sales and coupons and only buy what you need when the price is discounted. Make sure to keep your medication rotated so it doesn’t expire by checking expiration dates every few months.
You should also have a well-stocked first-aid kit in your home and know how to give emergency first aid like treating a catastrophic bleed and administering CPR.
Remember, during a pandemic, hospitals will be overcrowded, and an ambulance might not be available to take you or your family member to a hospital.
If someone in your group breaks a leg or has a heart attack, you should be prepared to deal with these emergencies yourself. So, knowing first aid is an important survival skill and could save the life of someone in your family.
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Designate A Room In Your Home for Quarantine Purposes
When you are in the thick of a pandemic and someone in your home gets infected, you will need to have a room set aside in your home for quarantine purposes.
To prevent the infection from spreading throughout your home amongst family members, the best way is to isolate the infected individual (s) in the quarantine or “sick room” of your house.
The sick should not only stay in a dedicated “sick room”, but they should also use a dedicated bathroom that no one else will use.
If the room doesn’t have a door, use a plastic shower curtain or drop cloth to partition it from the rest of the house (this should be done as an extra precaution even if the room has a door). When a family member falls ill, quarantine them to the sick room and clean the room daily using bleach.
Wear protective clothing when entering the sick room to protect yourself from catching the infectious disease. Start thinking about which room in your home would work best as a sick room for quarantine purposes.
In addition to placing sick members of the family under quarantine, make sure to remain isolated in your home to prevent any chance of an infectious virus from affecting the people inside your home.
So stay home if you have to, and stay away from others for at least 2 or so weeks depending on the severity of the pandemic and as recommended by experts.
Most public officials might issue a broad quarantine over your area if the outbreak is extreme making it illegal to leave your home except under extreme emergency scenarios.
What is a Quarantine Room?
A quarantine room is a designated location in your home designed to isolate people who have been exposed to a disease or are otherwise showing the symptoms of an illness. This is to help prevent them from spreading the disease to other people who live in the home.
Though entering and exiting the quarantine room will be unavoidable if you intend to care for the person or people in there, setting up a quarantine room is still a good way to limit the spread of disease as much possible.
Why Quarantine Rooms are Necessary
Putting an ill individual into a quarantine room may seem cruel at first, but consider the fact that even today, hospital rooms serve the same function. In a world where even minor diseases can become a death sentence, preventing the spread of disease is a major priority.
While a person is in a quarantine room, they can still be cared for and given any treatments or medications that you might have available. Isolating them from the rest of your family or group while they are cared for, though, can go a long way towards ensuring that the healthy people in your house stay healthy.
Supplies You Will Need for Setting Up a Quarantine Room
Setting up a quarantine room does not require a ton of supplies, but the supplies that it does require are essential. In order to create an effective quarantine room within your home, you will need:
• Bleach or Steramine Tablets
Sanitization is the primary concern when setting up a quarantine room. Not only will you need to thoroughly sanitize every object that goes in and out of the room, but you’ll also need to frequently sanitize the rest of your home. Once the quarantine room has been emptied out, it will need to be sanitized as well.
Stocking up on bleach is one good way to ensure that you are able to sanitize your home and the objects that you take in and out of the quarantine room.
However, Steramine tablets are an even better option. A single tablet allows you to create an entire gallon of cleaning solution, making Steramine tablets a much more affordable and convenient way to ensure that you have plenty of cleaning solution available.
Below is a shortlist of the type of pandemic survival gear that you will need in order to protect yourself and your family when someone falls ill in your home during a pandemic:
- Household bleach
- Steramine tablets (for making sanitizer)
- Respirators (N-95 or N-100 face masks)
- Chemical suits and protection
- Biohazard bags, emesis bags (for vomit)
- Dropcloth and duct tape (creating a quarantine room)
- Disposable gloves
- Antibacterial wipes and disinfectants
- Antiviral Facial tissues
The “N95” designation means that the respirator blocks 95% of tiny (0.3-micron) airborne particles.
Keep in mind that a good fit is important to protect yourself properly, and N95 respirators are designed for adults, not children.
You will need to purchase child-sized respirators (which you can easily find online) to protect your children during an outbreak.
Important Considerations When Setting up a Quarantine Room
There are several issues you will want to prepare for if you plan to use a quarantine room. These include:
When dealing with the dirty clothes of an infected person, you have two options: cleaning them or burning them. If you choose to wash an infected person’s clothes, make sure that you are wearing protective clothing during the process and keep their clothes separate from the rest of the laundry. In most cases, though, burning the dirty laundry of an infected person is going to be the safest option.
• Waste Disposal
Unless there happens to be a bathroom connected to your quarantine room, you’ll have to set up a DIY waste disposal system. You can use bedpans and/or an urban survival toilet, but these containers will need to be emptied periodically. Wear protective clothing when emptying your makeshift commodes and bury the waste well away from your home.
If the patient in your quarantine room is capable of bathing themselves, all you will have to do is provide them with the right supplies. You could choose to set up a portable shower in your quarantine room, or you may rely on sponge baths.
If a patient is not capable of bathing themselves, though, and you have to give them a sponge bath, be sure to wear protective clothing and burn any items you use such as sponges and washrags.
• Small Children
If you have small children in your home, it is essential that you take precautions to keep them out of the quarantine room. Having a door with a lock is ideal. Lecturing your children about the importance of staying away from the quarantine room may or may not be helpful depending on their age and obedience, but it’s still a good idea as well.
Explore Natural and Herbal Medicines
It’s obviously important to have over-the-counter medications and other prescriptions to treat symptoms and other ailments.
In turn, it’s also important for you to have an herbal medicinal kit in your home to complement your other medications.
Some herbal remedies are great treatments that can even be more effective than store-bought medicine.
Herbs such as ginger, turmeric, garlic, milk thistle, and mint are very effective in preventing illness, as well as lessening the severity and length of an illness once it starts.
They’re also great natural remedies to keep your kids healthy during a prolonged illness. Again, you’ve plenty of choices to choose from.
Other Precautions and Best Practices
If you examine past pandemics, you will notice that they have managed to go through communities in a matter of six to eight weeks; at the very least you should have at least six to eight weeks’ worth of emergency supplies in stock at all times.
Once you have the basic amount of supplies in place, you can then set a goal to increase your emergency stockpile to store enough for 3, 6 and 12 months.
Social distancing is the key to successfully avoiding to catch the virus
The best way to improve your chances of staying healthy and uninfected during a disease outbreak is to exercise caution and distance yourself socially.
This means that you will need to restrict your contact with others, and keep your distance at least 6 feet away from people, infected or not.
Practice Good Hygiene and Stay Clean: Just like with all person to person disease, the key to prevention lies in good hygiene.
Hand washing is obvious, and when used for 30 seconds even a basic alcohol-based hand sanitizer, which has between 62 and 75% ethanol, can be enough to kill nearly any pandemic pathogen.
Avoid Hospitals and Shelters: If you’re sick or infected, then, by all means, you probably need to get a medical professional for medical advice on your condition.
With that being said, hospitals will be ground zero in the war against an infectious virus and you should avoid those places if at all possible.
Even where large groups of people gather, especially shelters, you will want to stay away from these places as the disease often spreads more quickly in environments where people are tightly packed together.
During Excursions outside your home, wear a mask: Respirator masks are the last resort and often cannot be relied on to prevent an infection from getting you.
For the most part, respirators are designed to help reduce, but not eliminate exposures to disease. However, in my view, having some N-95 or N-100 respirator masks is something that should be in your emergency survival kit.
Hotlines are also open to answer questions about the outbreak, but always do more than is usually recommended.
Summa’s Coronavirus Call Line: 234-867-6314. It is open 24 hours, 7 days a week.
Ohio Department of Health call center: 833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634). It is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.
For general questions about COVID-19 and Illinois’ response and guidance, call 1-800-889-3931 or email DPH.SICK@ILLINOIS.GOV.
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