Pandemic Preparedness

I am sure that most of you are aware of the new coronavirus that is hitting China and starting to spread slowly at this point to other countries. Depending on what you read it could be devasting or it will be a big nothing except in China. It is not something that I am freaking out over but it has made me evaluate my preparedness for this type of event and am I feeling uneasy that I am not fully prepared for a pandemic. There is a lot of info on the web about the virus so I am not going talk about what it is, how it got started or any of the conspiracy theories going around. What I do want to do is give you some thoughts on where I fall short on supplies and planning that may help you evaluate your own preparedness. I also will provide some trusted resources for you to check out.

Basics for Pandemic Preparedness

A lot of your preparedness supplies, equipment, training and knowledge help you mitigate issues with many disaster scenarios including pandemics. The basics would include:

  • Having as much potable water stored as you can
  • Ability to collect water and filter/purify
  • Having enough food to last through the event
  • Medical supplies to handle simple medical conditions and basic wounds

Check out my other blog posts for general preparedness information.

Water

So, do you have water stored in your home? That is as simple as going to Walmart’s Sporting Goods Section or visiting Amazon’s site to order a few of the many containers that they sell.

Do you have water filters and ways to purify water? You should. Again, Walmart and Amazon carry personal water filters like the Sawyer Mini that are less than $25. You should have one for every member of your family.

The smaller personal water filters are good but for a family, you need something bigger to provide enough water for drinking, cooking and cleaning on a daily basis. Check out Berkey Water Filters. They are not cheap but are one of the top providers of family water filters. HyrdoBlu also has a product called the Versa Flow that allows you to take a small filter and install it in a 5-gallon bucket. It’s not a Berkey but does a great job.

What about supplies of unscented bleach or iodine to purify water and do you know how to do it?

Don’t mess around with water filtration/purification. Most brands that you screw onto your faucet don’t protect against bacteria and viruses. Remember, you can only survive three days without water.

Food

Have you put back pantry food to sustain your family for several weeks? If not, you need to get to the grocery store now and stock up. Do you really want to be interacting with the public if the virus has started to creep into your area? One of the quickest ways to get your food storage up to speed is with freeze-dried food. You can get 120 serving buckets from Legacy Foods that would feed a family of four for 10 days. This is quick and easy and can be delivered to your home within a few days. I am a reseller for Legacy Foods and can get you 20% to 25% off of advertised prices on their website.  Visit their site to see all of the packages they have to offer and then fill out the Contact Form on our site to let me know what you want and I will get back to you with a price.

Don’t delay on getting food. I just ordered a bucket of freeze-dried food for a new customer and Legacy is starting to get backed up due to an increase in orders from people preparing for a pandemic.

Medical

Do you have the supplies to take care of injuries for a few weeks? If people are getting infected you don’t want to go to the doctor or hospital unless you have to. Stock up on medical supplies asap. Do you have plenty of N95 Masks to protect yourself? If not, you may be out of luck. When I checked on Amazon today, they were sold out. I have checked 3 local grocery stores, 4 drug stores and the local Home Depot. None have N95s, and the virus hasn’t really hit the US yet.

Cleaning and Sanitation

Do you have enough toilet paper, paper towels and tissues? Do you have bleach, sanitizing wipes, and other cleaners to last several weeks with increased usage?

Where My Preparedness Is

Food and Water

I have about a month’s worth of food in the pantry and in freeze-dried supplies. We have about 14 days of stored water for the family, several personal water filters and a large family water filter. So, we are somewhat OK in this area but I really need several more weeks of food.

Medical

I have a lot of medical supplies for wounds, abrasions, and over the counter medications but am lacking on burn supplies and tourniquets. I can make do with triangle bandages but would really like a few Cat 5 tourniquets. I have 50+ surgical masks but only around 15 N95s. The lack of masks and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as face shields and body suits are a big concern for me. If the virus really spreads and the mortality rate goes up, that could be trouble.

I just ordered a Pandemic Kit from DoomandBloom.net. This kit comes with a lot of good equipment including a few N95s and two Tyvek suits. I have just found out that they have sold out of the 2 Person kits but have a 1-person kit available plus other medical and PPE supplies.

Planning

Other than PPE and more food, I think I am doing pretty good in the main areas for dealing with a pandemic except for one. PLANNING.

In reading some posts and reviewing videos over the past week I realized that I needed to plan more than just getting enough supplies to quarantine my family for a few weeks in the home.

Your plans need to be based on events that trigger certain actions that need to be taken. Here is my first try. I am sure I will be updating it over the next few days as I think about it some more and review with my family. Several of these tasks should have already been done so that I do not have to do them as anxiety is rising. I will be better prepared for the next pandemic.

Event – CDC has informed us that the virus is starting to take hold in the U.S.

  • Assess any weaknesses in your supplies and equipment and purchase what you can afford ASAP.
  • Start organizing your pandemic supplies so that they are easily accessible and create an inventory.
  • Create a plan for a sick room where you can isolate a family member if they get sick.
  • Define re-entry protocols to handle a situation where someone is forced to leave the house so that when they come back they do not bring the virus inside with them.
  • Determine if you will be able to work from home on a temporary basis. Companies should be willing to do this to help keep the virus from spreading.

Event – Virus is picking up steam and there are reported infections within a 100-mile area.  Mortality rate is starting to rise.

  • Minimize Interaction with the public
  • Wear disposable masks and gloves if your have to be out to go to work or to the pharmacy and grocery store.
  • Carry disinfectant wipes with you so you can wipe down shopping carts in case none are available.
  • Sanitize doors and frames that you touch at work, on your car etc. to minimize your exposure.
  • If you absolutely have to go to the store, make sure it is your last.
  • Start sanitizing doors, handles, and countertops multiple times a day in your home.

Event – Virus is widespread in your area; mortality rate is still moving up.

  • Quarantine your family at home. No one comes in or out. What supplies you have need to be rationed to ensure you can make it for 3 to 4 weeks.
  • No interaction with people face to face. Your door shouldn’t be opened for anyone.
  • Any packages you might receive should be sanitized outside of the house. Follow your re-entry protocol so that you do not bring the virus back in with you.

Resources

Conclusion                   

As you can see, there are some specific things to think about when it comes to preparing for a pandemic that are above and beyond basic preparedness. Hopefully you have already been preparing for many different events and you have the basics covered for 4 to 6 weeks. If not, now is the time to shore the supplies up. Then ensure you have a plan in place that defines the tasks that need to be done as the threat level increases in your area. Things will go much smoother with a plan.

Do you have an inventory of your preparedness supplies? We have two options for you. The first is a custom spreadsheet that enables you to track your equipment and supplies. It has several lookup columns that speed data entry and ensure that data quality is high. The lookup values are customizable to your needs. This spreadsheet is included with our Estate Preparedness Forms packet which contains over 20 editable PDFs to help you document your estate. It is only $26.75. Order today!

The second option is your own, personal, secure website that enables you to manage all of your preparedness efforts including your preparedness inventory. This is a robust website that provides all of the features you need to plan and manage your Estate Preparedness efforts. Check out our website for more details.

Have a blessed day!

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6 Comments

  • RayK

    If you wait to self-quarantine yourself and your family until ‘virus is widespread’ in your area, you’ve allowed yourself 14 days of infectious exposure in your home area.

    Because of our highly mobile society and the long incubation period, even one infection within 100 miles seems risky.

    • Chip Feck

      You are right Ray. I should have said for that event “…virus is spreading in your area”. If you don’t have sick days or cannot work from home it surely makes it harder to decide where the line is. I hope we don’t have to make that decision.

      Thanks for the input!

      • RayK

        Because I don’t trust the numbers coming out of China, I’m monitoring the infection rate outside of China to see if there is spreading infection in the rest of the world. The Johns Hopkins site https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6 is the site that I’m watching, and subtracting Mainland China number from Total Confirmed. Right now that number is still climbing; slowly, but climbing.

        I’m retired but my wife works off the farm, so we’ll have to decide what to do if/when there is an active outbreak anywhere in the US. My son, DIL and grandkids live in a suburb of Denver. The kids are in H.S. and both parents work. Not sure what they will do, but they are at least putting some thought into it.

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