Warning: The Coming Pandemic and How You can Prepare Yourself
Back in 1995, Richard Preston wrote a #1 New York Time’s best-seller by the name of The Hot Zone which gave a startling view into the deadly seriousness and history of the Ebola Virus.
It’s a truly horrifying disease: bleeding from the ears, eyes, and anus; black vomit; liquefying organs and brain matter — death for 90% of those infected.
For years, the Ebola Virus has never been a huge issue because of the fast rate at which it kills its victims — allowing it to be contained and burn out relatively quickly within the small remote villages where it has primarily been found…up until now.
Unlike previous outbreaks, this latest outbreak is spreading beyond its borders.
Before 2014, the Ebola Virus never had topped more than around 400 victims (that was historically the worst outbreak which spread over a years time) and had been localized at most to a few neighboring villages before it had burned out.
Now, since March of 2014 (in just 5 months), there have been over 1000 reported cases (with over half of those infected already dead) in the ongoing outbreak across Guinea, northern Liberia, and now eastern Sierra Leone. The number of patients is constantly evolving due to the on-going investigation.
So far, it seems to be contained to those areas of Africa, but with the recent scare in the UK (which hopefully is not a cover up) with the ease of world travel, there is definite possibility of it spreading outside of Africa into Europe and beyond.
Is the Current Ebola Scare Really That Serious?
Although I’m heavily into prepping, unlike some outsiders may think, I’m far from a pessimist. And if you’ve been a reader for a while now, you’ve probably noticed I don’t tend to jump on the fear-mongering bandwagon that many others do — but at the same time, it’s important to have a healthy sense of caution.
Now, when you look at it in perspective to other global health issues (for example, malaria kills around 2000 PER DAY and typhoid fever claims 550 people EVERY DAY globally) it doesn’t appear to be that serious with only around 1000 cases with this latest outbreak.
However, unlike the illnesses listed above, there is no known treatment for Ebola in humans.
Doctors can offer supportive therapy, such as hydration, oxygen and treatment of complicating infections, but mortality rates are still very high.
(As a side note, there has been some promise with an experimental drug by the name of ZMapp which recently helped two US aid workers but it is not in mass production or approved by the FDA yet.)
On the positive side though, Ebola is not spread through airborne transmission (or more accurately “droplet transmission”) — in other words, there’s no evidence you can get it through sneezing like the flu. The way Ebola is spread is through direct contact with an Ebola patient’s blood or other bodily fluids like urine, saliva, and sweat — with the highest concentration of the virus being in blood, vomit and diarrhea.
My own opinion is that as long as this strain of Ebola doesn’t mutate so as to be spread through airborne or droplet transmission, I don’t feel we have too much to worry about here in the West.
But what if it does mutate where it can spread via airborne transmission? Will this be the next widespread pandemic similar to the Black Plague or worse? And how can you prepare your family or group for that event?
Well, read on…
How to Protect You and Your Loved Ones From a Pandemic
A friend of mine, Kevin Reeve (owner of the tactical training school OnPoint Tactical), uses a term called “Social Distancing” to illustrate the need to self-quarantine during viral outbreaks or pandemics.
Similar to what they do in the island of Samoa as well as Japan, when there is an viral outbreak outside of the island, they will completely isolate themselves (no one is allowed on to or to leave the island) until that outbreak has burned itself out.
In a similar manner, you must think of your home or retreat as an island where nothing from the outside is allowed to enter and no one is allowed to leave.
Since most any viral pandemic will burn out in 90 days, this should be the base time for which you and your family or group should prepare.
Let’s take a look at each of the Six Pillars of Survival and how it relates to this 90-day social distancing.
Personal Health and Security:
When it comes to being isolated for 90 days straight, it is important — especially if you were dependent upon medication or other medical needs — that you have sufficient supply for that three-month period.
Again, there cannot be any contact made with the outside — so medical supplies and other needs MUST BE accounted for beforehand.
Sanitation will also be a very important part of this 90-day isolation.
Since it is likely that utilities will stop at sometime, unless you are on a septic system and have enough water stored up for flushing you will need to have other places where you can dispose of human waste.
One of the best options is to use a simple 5-gallon bucket lined with a heavy duty contractor bag.
Simply lay a couple 2x4s across the bucket’s rim for a makeshift seat (or even take off an existing toilet seat and place it on top of the 5 gallon bucket) and do your business into the bag-lined bucket — a very effective makeshift toilet:
After each elimination it’s a good idea to pour in some sand or sand/lime mix to ensure that the smell is kept to a minimum.
Once the bag becomes somewhat full (or the smell becomes unbearable) simply tie off the bag, remove it from the bucket and leave it outside of the door in front of your home or shelter to be disposed by the “Outside Man” (which I explain below) or left outside until the 90 days is over.
Security is another very important aspect during a pandemic.
Especially during a deadly contagion, any direct contact with other humans outside of your family or group should be considered as a deadly threat.
As such, you need to take appropriate measures to prevent this type of contact happening.
As I go into detail in Prepper Academy, for proper home or retreat security you need to set up a layered defense around your home.
Among the most important of these layers is your perimeter. This is an imaginary or physical border (like a fence, wall, or natural boundary) that surrounds your home or property.
How far out this perimeter extends beyond the outside surface (or skin layer) of your home depends on your property, other’s property lines and whether you live in the boonies or a city.
The most important rule to remember with that perimeter during a deadly contagion is that NO ONE is allowed to breach the perimeter without some type of defensive/offensive action being taken. What that action is should be decided upon by your family or group before you get into that type of situation.
The Outside Man
This Outside Man lives in a separate shelter and has no direct contact (physical contact) with the inside group and is tasked with guarding the perimeter as well performing any external logistics like waste disposal or communication with outsiders.
To use the example of waste disposal, to ensure that no contact is made with the inside group, there will be a designated spot (essentially a virtual sally port) where the the group or family can leave a trash bag outside of the home and only after they are fully closed up again in the home, will the Outside Man retrieve and dispose of it.
The same holds true for meals (if the OM doesn’t have their own supply), drink or anything else the OM requires from inside. But again, THIS IS UNIDIRECTIONAL — in other words, supplies and other things only come from the inside and go out and nothing comes into the home (with one notable exception listed in the next section).
This now brings us to the next portion of this 90-day pandemic plan, which is how to set up your home or shelter.
I already explained the importance of a perimeter. I also explained the function of the Outside Man and his/her role.
In addition, you might want to consider having a separate shelter setup outside of the home to be used as a quarantine area (which could be as simple as a tent).
The purpose of the quarantine area is to be used in the case when a family member or friend of the group desires to come into the group to wait out the pandemic.
Basically, they would stay in this quarantine shelter for the period or duration of the incubation time of that contagion to ensure that no symptoms are shown. Once the incubation time for that contagion has passed and the person has not shown any of the symptoms their clothes are to be burned and after a complete scrub down they are allowed to enter the main shelter to be with the group.
Water will be one of the most important things to have during this 90- day period and will be something that many people will have trouble securing since you’ll require, at minimum, 90 gallons of water per person (in other words, 1 gallon per person per day for the entire duration).
It’s likely that utilities will still be functioning during the initial period of a pandemic, but as it becomes more widespread they will shut off because people will not be able to man them. It’s during that short window that you’ll want to fill up your bathtubs and any other containers available beyond what you’ve already stored.
There are many storage options that you can use (many of which I explained in detail again in my Prepper Academy course) but by doing a simple Google search you’ll find many different water storage methods that you can use.
Heat, Light and Energy
Having sufficient fuel (whether that’s wood, propane, gasoline or any other fuel type) for heating, cooking, lighting and other needs will be another important aspect during this 90-day isolation period.
You may also want to include sufficient batteries and or various solar setups that will power things like an iPad, laptop, ham radios and other electronics. These will come in real handy during that time (as I explain in the Tools section below).
A 90-day supply of food is obviously crucial since you will not be able to secure food from external sources like grocery stores or hunting.
You’ll want to store up many easy-to-prepare meals such as macaroni and cheese (using powdered milk), canned goods, ready-made foods and so on.
It’s not a bad idea to also include some laxatives since activity will be limited in such a small confined area where digestion for some might be a problem.
This brings us to another point:
Although popular among preppers and survivalists, MREs are probably not the best idea to have during this 90-day time period. These concentrated foods lacking in sufficient fiber are intended for short missions by our military personnel.
These are not ideal foods to be stored and used for a long term period such as three months given that they’ll likely become “Meals Refusing to Exit” instead of “Meals Ready to Eat”. Again, if that’s all you have it’s not a bad idea to store up a good supply of laxatives.
Our final category is Tools. Tools include all those things that aren’t exactly required for survival but greatly aid you in a survival event.
One example in this case is communication equipment. This includes radio equipment (such as ham radios or emergency radios) to be able to communicate with or get updates from the outside world. It’s also an important tool if you are employing the use of an Outside Man.
Another important “tool” is entertainment.
Most will become very stir crazy being in such tight confines for that long without being able to go outside, therefore it is of primary importance that you have plenty of books and different types of entertainment to keep you occupied and stimulated during that time period.
For those who are interested in more of a step-by-step approach I highly recommend you check out Prepper Academy.
It goes into a lot more detail than what I cover in this short article which I do not have the time or space to do. Prepper Academy is built upon four modules that each sequentially build upon each other (as shown in the following graphic):
And by just completing the first two modules, your family will be more than enough prepared for a 90-day isolation period required in a national or global-wide pandemic.
In addition, here are some other resources that might be of interest to you:
- Ebola Prevention and Control Recommendations
- The Readi Mask: A reader clued me into these great short-term particle filter masks. They would do the job when needing to venture outside or leave an infected area.