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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Prepare Your Home for a Flood

Floods have been in the news a lot in the recent years, especially in 2008, and before that, fallout from Hurricane Katrina. They are a very common natural disaster, killing many people and costing a ton of money. Prepare!

  • The waters of the floods aren’t the only problem – it can uproot trees, move houses and boulders, and cause slides.

  • Check with your local planning and zoning office to see if you’re in a flood plain – above or below the flood level. See also if your area has ever been involved with flooding (a history).

  • Contact your insurance company, depending on the answers you get on the above question. Most homeowner’s insurance does not include flood insurance.

  • Find out what the warning signs are in your area in case of floods. Remember rivers and streams can also flood.

  • Learn your area’s evacuation plan.

  • Keep your important papers (insurance policies, birth certificates, passports, will, etc.) in a waterproof box or bags where you can easily access them. This would be a good item for your 72-hour kit/bug-out bag.

  • If you live in a flood area, and your furnace, water heater and/or electricity panel is in the basement or first floor, move it to the attic or second floor where it will be less likely to be damaged by flood.

  • Prevent floodwater from backing into your drains by plugging sewer traps with check valves.

  • Check with your planning and zoning commission to see if you can build flood walls or other barriers to stop water from getting to your home.

  • Protect basement walls by waterproofing walls and windows, especially cracks.

  • Keep a battery-operated or hand-crank radio handy.

  • Discuss a meeting place with family so you will all meet at the same place. This could be across the street at the top of the park, or in another town.

  • Prepare your 72-hour evacuation kit / bug-out bag. Check your supplies regularly.

  • Don’t get in the floodwater, if at all possible. It most likely contains sewer water, snakes, and depending on where you are, alligators. Plus, it could be moving much faster than you might see.

  • Don’t drive in the floodwaters. Even a heavy vehicle could get swept away before you realize it.

  • Stock up on empty sandbags and learn / practice filling them.

Did I forget anything? Would love to hear from flood survivors!


Pandemic or Not - Are You Ready For the Swine Flue

See original article here.

On Tuesday the World Health Organization raised the pre-pandemic alert level to Level 4, for the first time in its history. Wednesday it was raised again to a level 5 making the H1N1 flu officially a pandemic. The flu has now been verified or suspect in more than twenty countries and ten states. In their news conference Wednesday the World Health Organization stated that since this virus has never been seen before they really have no idea how deadly it will become. To aid you in your preparation for a potential pandemic, Meridian Magazine is re-publishing our pandemic articles published just three months ago.

Now is the time to seriously read and study the recommendations, and then to get ready in case this flu outbreak becomes a full blown pandemic.

First, what do these phase classifications mean?

Phase 4 is characterized by verified human-to-human transmission of an animal or human-animal influenza reassortant virus able to cause “community-level outbreaks.” The ability to cause sustained disease outbreaks in a community marks a significant upwards shift in the risk for a pandemic. Any country that suspects or has verified such an event should urgently consult with WHO so that the situation can be jointly assessed and a decision made by the affected country if implementation of a rapid pandemic containment operation is warranted. Phase 4 indicates a significant increase in risk of a pandemic but does not necessarily mean that a pandemic is a forgone conclusion.

Phase 5 is characterized by human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries in one WHO region. While most countries will not be affected at this stage, the declaration of Phase 5 is a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that the time to finalize the organization, communication, and implementation of the planned mitigation measures is short.

Phase 6, the pandemic phase, is characterized by community level outbreaks in at least one other country in a different WHO region in addition to the criteria defined in Phase 5 .

Designation of this phase will indicate that a global pandemic is under way.

The Center for Disease control says they are very concerned about the future. The reason? The Swine Flu is moving through the United States at a very rapid rate. This flu virus is very aggressive and easily transmitted between family members as well as those who have casual contact. It is also a huge concern that this strain is mild and may return during the next flu season in an even more aggressive manner.

The Center for Disease Control has advised that everyone who has any symptoms of flu, and all their family members, remain at home. Once a family member has been diagnosed with Swine Flu you are asked to self quarantine and remain home, with no contact with anyone outside of your home, until at least 24 hours after all symptoms have disappeared in all family members. When a child is diagnosed they recommend that the child's school be closed for at least a few days as the virus is easily transmitted before any symptoms appear.

To keep up with the latest information, please visit: I will be updating posts there as soon as I receive new information.

"When the World Catches the Flu "

Airliners travel daily between Hong Kong and North America in about 15 hours from take-off to landing. The travel time between Europe and USA is about half of that – so it should be no surprise that health authorities have plenty of scenarios to worry about for the transfer of a deadly strain of the flu. In fact, The Harvard Initiative for Global Health predicts that some deadly strains – called “pandemics” - could kill as many as 81 million people worldwide.

We all have heard that experts are very concerned about avian (bird) flu, but what exactly is the difference between seasonal flu, an epidemic, and a pandemic?

A Seasonal Flu occurs predictably, usually during the winter. Humans have some natural immunity to influenza and there are vaccines available.

An Epidemic is defined as an infectious disease which spreads more broadly and rapidly through a given population than is the norm. For example, we expect a certain number of cases of the flu each year. When the number of those affected grows unusually high it is considered an epidemic. The body may or may not have some immunity and vaccines may or may not be available. As an example, HIV is considered an epidemic for which there is no immunity and no vaccine.

A Pandemic may be defined as an epidemic which affects an entire continent, region, or the entire globe.

When a disease is new, it simply means our immune systems have not experienced the organism before and are unprepared to deal with it. The disease will then cause serious illness or death. It will spread too quickly to be contained and will continue to spread because there is no effective treatment.

Influenza pandemics have happened during at least the last four centuries. During the 20th Century three pandemics occurred.

The first and by far the most serious, began in 1918, the “Spanish Influenza”. Approximately 20 to 40 percent of the worldwide population became ill and over 20 million died. Between September 1918 and April 1919, approximately 675,000 deaths from the flu occurred in the United States, 50,000,000 worldwide. Many died very quickly - often within 24 hours of the first symptoms occurring. Many who survived the influenza, eventually died from complications of pneumonia. One of the most frightening aspects of the Spanish flu was its ability to kill young, otherwise healthy, adults. The mortality rate was the highest among those between 20 and 50 years of age and pregnant women. It seems their healthy immune system actually attacked itself.

The second 20th century pandemic was in February 1957, and is remembered as the “Asian Flu”. Unlike the virus that caused the 1918 pandemic, the 1957 pandemic virus was identified quickly. The virus came to the U.S. with a series of small outbreaks during the summer of 1957. When children returned to school in the fall, the disease increased and spread quickly. Most deaths occurred between September 1957 and March 1958. By December 1957, the worst seemed to be over. January and February 1958 saw a "second wave" of infections develop, which is typical during a pandemic. The disease infects one segment of the population, appears to be under control and then returns to infect another segment. Although the Asian flu pandemic was not as devastating as the Spanish flu, about 69,800 died in the United States alone and between one and two million worldwide. This time the elderly had the highest rates of death.
In early 1968, an influenza pandemic was first detected in Hong Kong, and was called the “Hong Kong Flu”. In September 1968, illness was detected in the United States. The disease became widespread in December and peaked in January of 1969. In the United States, 33,800 died - most of them over 65 - making it the mildest pandemic in the 20th century. Worldwide 700,000 lost their lives.

What are the differences between a seasonal flu and a pandemic flu?

Seasonal Flu:

Outbreaks follow predictable seasonal patterns; occurs annually
Some immunity is built up from previous exposure
Healthy adults are usually not at risk for serious complications, the very young, elderly and those with compromised immune systems are at highest risk.
Health systems can meet patient needs
Vaccines are developed based on known flu strains and are available
Symptoms: fever, cough, runny nose, muscle pain
Deaths often caused by complications, such as pneumonia
Causes minor impact on society
Manageable impact on domestic and world economy

Pandemic Flu:

Occurs rarely
No previous exposure, little or no pre-existing immunity
Healthy people may be at increased risk for serious complications
Health systems may be overwhelmed
Vaccine probably would not be available in the early stages of a pandemic
Symptoms may be more severe and complications more frequent
May cause major impact on society (widespread restrictions on travel, closings of schools and businesses, cancellation of large public gatherings)
Potential for severe impact on domestic and world economy

You can and should prepare now for the possibility of a pandemic. Our government and governments throughout the world, the World Health Organization, and relief agencies worldwide all believe a pandemic is coming, if not this year, then soon.

What we can expect when another Pandemic hits

To help prevent the spread of the flu, communities may be quarantined - meaning you will not be able to count on out-of-town family and friends to help. People who may have been exposed may be required to stay in their homes. Schools, public transportation systems, all public events, government and private sector offices, even churches will all closed down.

According to health officials, preparation means assuming that any or most of these conditions will apply in severely affected communities: Those who work in stores, who deliver to those stores, and who work at docks unloading supplies arriving from other countries, will also become ill or restricted to their homes. Many businesses will be forced to close because employees will stay home to protect themselves or to care for ill family members. This will mean the closure of businesses such as grocery stores and gas stations.

Relief agencies, police and fire departments and hospitals will be short-staffed as employees and volunteers will become ill or remain home to care for family members. You will be on your own for most flu related issues.

Outside of the quarantine area, businesses will close as supplies become limited. The stock market will close, bankruptcies will increase as people stop receiving government aid and pay checks.

Prepare for disruptions in utility services. Pandemics are most likely to occur during the cold weather months. Utilities; electric, gas and water, all require staff to keep them operating at full capacity. Workers will stay home and ordinary repairs will become major complications as the staff will be limited. Power outages may last longer than normal. This may mean no heat, refrigeration, lights, and for those served by wells – no water. Without power pipes may freeze and break. Water may become contaminated as staff will not be equipped to monitor and control all systems and repairs. If we should experience a winter storm, ice storm, firestorm or earthquake which damages or destroys lines during this time, the problems would be greatly compounded.

Communications during this time will become vital to your physical and emotional health.
Government and relief agencies all recommend we prepare to care for our own needs. If your community is not quarantined but the flu virus is in the area, you will want to impose a self quarantine and stay in your home. Only with exposure to flu germs can you catch the flu. For this to be possible you will need to prepare now.

We can learn from the experiences of the past:

Case Study for Self Imposed Reverse Quarantine (SIRQ), Yerba Buena Island
Yerba Buena Island is in the middle of San Francisco Bay – it is the island at the midway point of today's Bay Bridge, but in 1918, it stood alone, connected only by ferries to the mainland.
On September 23, 1918 Commandant Percival Rossiter of the San Francisco Naval Training Station ordered an immediate SIRQ of the island. All 6,000 people on the island, including civilians, were required to remain on the island. All contact with others living in the San Francisco Bay Area were halted except to receive supplies. Supplies were delivered to the docks and recovered only after the vessel delivering them had left. On the rare occasion that military personnel arrived on the island they were placed in a quarantine camp for several days.
By early November new influenza cases was decreasing in the San Francisco area. On Thursday, November 21, after two months of SIRQ the ban on travel off the island was lifted. This may have been premature as the first case of influenza on the island was reported on December 6, 1918. During December 1918 and January 1919, Yerba Buena Island recorded 3 deaths from influenza and 2 from pneumonia. Deaths during the Self Imposed Reverse Quarantine:0
Gunnison, Colorado

The city of Gunnison, Colorado took steps early to protect its citizens. In early October 1918 the Colorado State Board of Health issued a warning. Schools were closed across the county, with orders that they would remain closed. Large meetings were banned.

With the news that nearby towns were being hard hit by the pandemic, Gunnison enacted measures to protect its citizens. Anyone entering the town was required to remain in a quarantine location for two days. Barricades were erected on the main highways and cars were warned to drive through without stopping.

After three months, on February 4, 1919, Dr. Hyatt called for an end to the protective sequestration and closure order for the town of Gunnison. Only one death had been recorded. When a third wave of the flu arrived, 100 cases were reported in Gunnison and 5 deaths occurred.

Western Pennsylvania Institute for the Blind

The Western Pennsylvania Institute for the Blind escaped the influenza pandemic even though nearby Pittsburgh was hit hard. When word of illness in nearby towns reached the school, officials announced that visitors would not be allowed to enter the school nor students allowed to leave. No cases of the flu were reported at the school. Students were allowed to return home for Thanksgiving and upon their return 12 cases of the flu were recorded at the school. The school was closed and students sent home until the flu subsided.

There are many more examples of Self Imposed Reverse Quarantines that prevented or greatly reduced illness and death. For this reason it is expected that many communities will choose this same protection method when the next pandemic arrives. BYU Idaho, in Rexburg, is already preparing for their students to participate in a Self Imposed Reverse Quarantine should a pandemic occur.

There is a limit to what the government, the health care community, and the Church can do in advance of a pandemic outbreak. With a worldwide Church it would be virtually impossible for the Church to stockpile all the goods that members would require. We need to prepare to care for our own families.

The U.S. Federal Government, the World Health Organization, and others are monitoring avian flue outbreaks, as well as other pandemic threat sources closely. The United States has active national as well as international programs for manufacturing, pre-positioning, and stockpiling antiviral drugs, masks, and other supplies. Work on a specific vaccine cannot occur until a virus strain that infects people is identified and isolated. Most experts agree that development of an effective vaccine would take six months or more.

In the United States, Secretary Leavitt of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) has stated that "any community that fails to prepare—with the expectation that the federal government can come to the rescue—will be tragically wrong" (April 10, 2006).

"And plagues shall go forth, and they shall not be taken from the earth until I have completed my work, which shall be cut short in righteousness - Until all shall know me, who remain even from the least unto the greatest, and shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and shall see eye to eye... " - D&C 84:97-98

We need to prepare. Now is the time.


Summer Survival - Summer Safety Tips

There are a few simple things that you can do that will help you to survive the heat of summer. Failing to take a few simple precautions can lead to serious problems. Brief periods of high summer temperatures can cause serious health problems if you aren’t prepared to deal with extreme summer temperatures.

Simple Summer Safety Tips

1. Always drink plenty of fluids and make sure young children get the necessary fluids.

2. Avoid eating heavy meals and hot foods which can add heat to your body.

3. Never leave your children or pets unattended in a parked car or vehicle, especially during the summer heat.

4. Always wear loose fitting, light colored clothing. Include a good hat or cap.

5. Take plenty of breaks during any type of physical activity in the summer.

6. Make sure you provide plenty of water for your pets and livestock.

7. Always wear appropriate eye protection to avoid damaging your eyesight.

8. Monitor the weather closely and be aware of any extreme changes in temperature.

9. Check on elderly family members on a regular basis to make sure they are doing OK.

10. Use appropriate sun protection creams during extended periods of activity in the sun to avoid the harmful effects of sunburn.

Using a little common sense will allow you to enjoy being outdoors during the summer heat without risking your health.

Staying above the water line!



Simple Survival Tips – Staying Healthy

Many times people get sick because they fail to take simple precautions to insure they stay healthy. They ignore the fact that a few simple and easy steps can help you maintain a better state of health. A little common sense and good hygiene will help to prevent many illnesses. While these actions can’t guarantee you won’t get sick, they will still be beneficial to your health.

Simple Ways to Stay Healthy

1. Learn proper handwashing techniques. People touch a variety of items each and every day of their lives without even realizing it. From doorknobs to money and desktops to keyboards, the numbers of surfaces we come into contact with on a daily basis are all a source of potential contamination. Take some time to find out if you are following the Handwashing_Guidelines.

2. Eat regular and well-balanced meals. Proper nutrition will go a long way in helping you maintain your health. Make sure you are eating Well-balanced Meals.

3. Drink plenty of fluids. Make sure you’re getting enough water for your health.

4. Exercise on a daily basis. Even a short walk each day will have a great benefit on your health. Try to include exercise as a part of your daily routine.

5. Get plenty of rest. Failure to get enough sleep or the proper amount of rest can result in your body being more susceptible to illness. Try to get healthy sleep.

6. Maintain your physical space. Everyone has a few close friends but try not to be so close that a small cough or sneeze from your friends or family could also put you at risk. Give yourself a little additional room as a precautionary measure.

7. Get regular check-ups with your family doctor of healthcare provider. Regular check-ups can sometimes find problems with your health before it is too late.

A few simple things included in your daily routine will help you to stay a lot healthier.

Staying above the water line!



Skills as a prep

A few weeks ago a guest author on a popular preparation blog discussed the value of gardening as a resource. He put forth the opinion that while he enjoys gardening as a pastime, the decision as to whether to engage in it should be based solely around time and cost. Citing the inability to move a garden in an emergency and the amount of labor required to get to harvest, he concluded that it is better to save your seeds for a bug-out and expend today’s efforts and money on a trip to the grocery store. “It’s all about time,” he says, “not a skill or desire.”

While I agree that one’s first priority regarding food storage should be an inclusive, multiple-year, regularly-rotated supply, I believe that there are several things that he has overlooked. Glass jars, mylar bags, and ten pound cans might be more mobile than a garden but not by much. There’s only so much you can carry—especially if you need to get out in a hurry. Second, if you were to encounter an emergency, which would you rather eat? Dehydrated or fresh strawberries? And last, what happens when you get to your bug-out location and are ready to plant or the emergency draws long and your stores run out? If you have only prepared by storing ingredients, equipment, and tools, you are going to get awfully hungry trying to figure out how to turn a seed into a potato.

This post is not intended to be about gardening specifically; it is about skills. I believe that we as preppers are too often focused on equipment and look over skills that are an aid to comfort and crucial for survival. Perhaps there are some that have sufficient monetary assets that they will be able to acquire a shelter and supplies in great enough quantity and security that it will sustain them indefinitely, but I am not so fortunate. I also like fresh tomatoes.

t Skills as a prep

So as you inventory your storage this Spring, noting which things need to be rotated and replaced, I invite you to look beyond the supplies and consider what you are going to do with it. Many preppers are getting good at using their storage as a pantry and learning how to effectively cook with and rotate their food, but that is done in a controlled environment of their modernized kitchens that is very unlikely to be available in the emergencies we plan for. Walk through scenarios in your mind, read and research methods, test them, try them, try them again another way, and then practice. Break your tools in. Read the instructions. Verify that you have the necessary adapters, cables, fuel, utensils, or ingredients. Try throwing the breakers on your home and living through a mock disaster for a week. Go on the Utah Preppers 72-hour kit camp-out.

You must take action. Agreeing with preparedness, reading about preparedness, and getting excited about preparedness isn’t going to help in an emergency. You are going to need to have skills and that takes time. You must start today. It usually requires trial and error. You are going to have to spend a lot of hours at the range before you’ll be able to hit a target. It’ll take several years of failure before you can raise a healthy crop without over watered, burned, or infected plants. Learn what you like, learn what you hate, learn what you’re good at, and learn what you should avoid. Become familiar with your surroundings and plan escape routes. Prepare for the worst and you will never have to see it.

There is no better way to ensure that your preparations are complete than using what you have stored and developing the skills you will need. With knowledge and experience you will be able to sleep peacefully through any storm knowing that you are prepared. With a strong set of skills you will be able to protect and provide for your family.


Oh Yes I forgot to tell you about….

By Joseph Parish

Well, as all good survivalists you have your initial bug out exercise planned and you feel pretty confident that you have everything under control. You have referred over and over to your well composed bug out checklists and you are 100 percent confident that nothing has been overlooked. You have completely rechecked your bug out bags, your food provisions and your first aid supplies. You proceed to hook up your pull behind storage trailer and resume consigning additional survival supplies into it as well. Everything appears to be in order and you truly feel like some sort of professional survivalist at this point.

You gaze over all your supplies and packing one last time to ensure that you have not forgotten a solitary thing, after all you want you first bug out exercise to go off without any sort of hitch. If only life was this defined and predictable but it simply is not. There is a host of variables that can crop up during any bug out event and we regrettably can not envisage what these tribulations will be in advance. As survivalists we frequently pride ourselves on anticipating the unexpected. We are supposed to know in advance what probable problems we may encounter throughout our trip and at the bug out retreat. Being realistic we know full well it is impracticable to attain however we can within certain parameters be able to diminish the unexpected.

Most unexpected problems stem from what they didn’t tell you about bugging out. Being conscientious you have read and prepared for is all that you possibly can. To this end you are ready, it is the untold information and hints that tends to tender the most hindrance.

No one has ever claimed that the bug out process is painless. In fact, it is down right demanding when you reflect upon all the things that you have to remember and the diverse tasks which you must accomplish. But a successful bug out should endow the survivalist with a positive feeling of pride in knowing that they are prepared for any disaster and that they can handle their own during these crisis times.

Your first order of business is of course planning as to where you will bug out to. If you have concluded your homework and preps properly this has previously been worked out. Upon arrival at your retreat you will need to unpack specific pieces of equipment in order to embark upon your temporary life in the woods. If you happen to be using a tent you will need to clear a spot and ensure that it is level. You will then need to start your fire so that the evening meal can be prepared.

I have previously covered the subject of bugs in another article but never the less anytime you are in the great outdoors you will likely encounter bugs in the area like to bother you. Although some bugs are simply worse then others all of them are a source of great annoyance. You can minimize their effects by completing several minor tasks. Of prime importance is to maintain your area clear of food scrapes. Bugs like to eat. If you included sweetened drinks in your food supplies keep them closed as bees are often attracted to a sweet can of soda. Determine a logical way to dispose of your trash on a daily basis and never and I repeat never eat in your tent. Nothing is worse then trying to rest in the evening only to discover that your tent guests are a marching colony of ants. Don’t wear after shave lotions, deodorants or perfumes of any sort as insects are attracted to the scents.

The use of any kind of bright lights has a tendency to attract gnats and mosquitoes. If you are going to use a lantern for light make sure you place it far enough away to not attract flying bugs to your immediate vicinity. In a previous article I outlined the making of a natural insect repellent that you could create at home so you may wish to also include some of this in your bags. Outdoor Citronella candles tend to help discourage many flying insects for your immediate location.

The ability to obtain a good nights sleep is often a problem that is not only associated with new bug out survivalists but the more seasoned as well. There is a variety of reasons for this abnormality. First, you are not sleeping in your usual bed and will find the emergency accommodations extremely uncomfortable to adapt to. Next you really don’t know what to expect in the way of unexpected guests either from the forests four legged creatures or the roving two legged kind therefore you are continually on alert.

Speaking of natures wild creatures. It is totally possible that you could wake up in the morning and discover that much of your food has been eaten or scattered about the bug out site. Depending upon where your bug out retreat is located you can encounter a vast selection of wildlife. You could easily end up with neighbors such as raccoons, squirrels or if you are located in an area as my brother is, you could perhaps expect a visit by a black bear or a mountain lion. These animals can smell food for a considerable distance. Never leave your food unsecured. A rope and a burlap bag can help save your vitals by hanging them from a tree.

Despite the minor discomforts and an occasional inconvenience that we may endure while bugging out these various outdoor experiences will be a valuable lesson to us in the event of an actual emergency and during times of crisis when our skills would need to be used. Good luck and think of the impossible.

Copyright @ 2009 Joseph Parish


How to Prevent and Prepare for Swine Flu

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses. The symptoms are similar to that of the familiar seasonal flu. As of April 29, 2009 there are a limited number of laboratory confirmed cases: 172 in Mexico, 91 in the US, 13 in Canada, and a handful of cases in Europe and Asia.[1] Swine influenza is not currently a pandemic.
In the event that swine flu becomes a pandemic, everyday life would be disrupted because so many people in so many places become seriously ill at the same time. Impacts can range from school and business closings to the interruption of basic services such as public transportation and food delivery. The following steps will help you prepare for the worst case scenario.


  1. Know what the signs of swine flu are in people. The symptoms look a lot like an ordinary flu and include fever (greater than 100°F or 37.8°C), cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. It is reported that diarrhea and vomiting can also be included with the symptoms of illness. There's no way to tell if you have the swine flu unless a respiratory specimen is taken within the first 4-5 days and sent to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (or equivalent).
  2. Make sure you are in good health. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. The healthier you are, the better your immune system will be at defending your body against a virus.
  3. Practice good hygiene. If you sneeze, keep a disposable tissue in front of your mouth, after sneezing or blowing your nose throw the tissue away. Wash your hands often, especially if after blowing/sneezing and before you eat. Use a disinfectant when possible or just use soap and water.
  4. Don't share utensils or drinks. In cafeteria settings, it's not uncommon for people to casually share utensils or take a sip from someone else's drink. This should be completely avoided if there is any risk of a flu pandemic.
  5. Wear a facemask or respirator as instructed by authorities. If used correctly, facemasks and respirators may help prevent some exposure to flu viruses. However, facemasks should be used along with other preventive measures, such as frequent hand washing.[2]

If a pandemic flu virus spreads rapidly, being prepared to stay at home will help slow down the virus because you'll minimize your exposure (and other people's exposure to you, if you become sick).
  1. Know what to expect.
    • A vaccine for pandemic flu may not be available for 4-6 months after a pandemic starts, and even then, it may only be available in limited amounts.
    • People will have little or no immunity to pandemic flu since it is a new virus to humans. With seasonal flu, people have some immunity built up from previous exposure to the viruses.
    • Symptoms of pandemic flu may be more severe than seasonal flu. More people are likely to die from pandemic flu than from seasonal flu.
    • If you got a swine flu vaccine in the 70s, don't expect it to protect you from this new strain.[3]

  2. Stock up. Store nonperishable foods, bottled water, over-the-counter drugs, health supplies, and other necessities. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommends having a 2-week supply. (These supplies can be useful in other types of emergencies, such as power outages.) Have basic, over-the-counter health supplies such as a thermometer, facemasks, tissues, soap, hand sanitizers, medicine to relieve fever, and cold medicine.
  3. Plan ahead. Plan for what you will do in the following cases:
    • Schools dismissed: Consider childcare needs. Plan home learning activities and exercises. Have materials, such as books, on hand. Also plan recreational activities that your children can do at home.
    • You or family member becomes sick and requires care: Make plans for how to care for people with special needs in case the services they rely on are not available. Plan to stay home for at least 10 days when you are sick with pandemic flu. Staying home will keep you from giving it to others. Make sure others in your household also stay home when they are sick. During a severe pandemic, stay home if someone in your household is sick with pandemic flu.
    • Transportation networks disrupted. Think about how you can rely less on public transportation during a pandemic. For example, store food and other essential supplies so you can make fewer trips to the store. Prepare backup plans for taking care of loved ones who are far away. Consider other ways to get to work, or, if you can, work at home.

  4. Talk to your employer. Ask your employer about how business will continue during a pandemic. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services offers a Business Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist; or you can Develop a Risk Management Plan that accounts for the possibility of a flu pandemic. Find out if you can work from home, or if your employer will consider virtualizing the workforce. Plan for the possible reduction or loss of income if you are unable to work or your place of employment is closed. Check with your employer or union about leave policies.
  5. Stay updated. Identify sources you can count on for reliable information. If a pandemic occurs, having accurate and reliable information will be critical.
    • Reliable, accurate, and timely information is available at and World Health Organization swine flu page
    • Telephone sources include the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Hotline at: 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636). This line is available in English and Spanish, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. TTY: 1-888-232-6348. If you do not live in the U.S., check if there is an equivalent hotline in your area.
    • Look for information on your local and state government Web sites. Review your state's planning efforts and those of your local public health and emergency preparedness officials.
    • Listen to local and national radio, watch news reports on television, and read your newspaper and other sources of printed and Web-based information.

If You Contract Swine Flu
  1. In most cases swine flu patients should stay home. Do not go to the hospital or doctor, or else you might spread the virus to other patients.
    • On the other hand do seek emergency care as quickly as possible if the infected person is:[3]
      • Exceptionally ill with flu-like symptoms
      • Chronically ill
      • Immune-suppressed
      • Elderly
      • A very young child, under age 2

  2. Call your doctor first, explain that you think you might have the swine flu, and follow any instructions. Read the US CDC guidelines on care.
  3. Get plenty of rest, and wait it out, the flu should pass in about 10 days.
  4. Be aware of life-threatening complications which might develop. If you get any of these you should get emergency medical care.

  • Emergency warning signs in adults are:[3]
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
    • Sudden dizziness
    • Confusion
    • Severe or persistent vomiting

    Emergency warning signs in children are:[3]
    • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
    • Bluish skin color
    • Not drinking enough fluids
    • Not waking up or interacting
    • Being very irritable
    • Fever with a rash


Dr Joseph Bresee, of the US Center for Disease Control Influenza Division discusses swine flu.


  • Avoid traveling to an affected area. People who have recently visited Mexico, California or Texas and are experiencing influenza-like symptoms, or have been in contact with sick persons from these areas, should contact their health care provider. Be sure to specify that you recently traveled.
  • Note that swine flu is transmitted from person-to-person, not from food.
  • Don't confuse swine flu with avian (bird) flu. Unlike avian flu, swine flu has proven to be highly contagious between humans.[3]


  • Don't panic. While it is prudent to be prepared, there is no need to overreact. For most people, basic precautions are all that is needed.

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations



  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Prevent and Prepare for Swine Flu. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.


Inventory Check: Nails and Screws

How often to you really think about your supply of nails and screws? When you have a project and go to reach for them? How many different sizes do you have? How many of each size?

If something were to happen today, like the price of nails and screws goes up 10-times what they cost now, do you have enough to last for a long time? Same question - if you could never ever buy any more - enough?

Next time you go to Lowe's or Home Depot or any hardware store, pick up a few boxes of nails and screws, various sizes. Oh, and while you're at it, do you have a couple of good hammers and screwdrivers?

Just checkin'.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Some SHTF Survival Thoughts

So, in my time on this board, I have noticed a number of arguments that go something along the lines of "Camp in vs. Bug out". As a matter of fact, they seem to crop up pretty frequently. So, I figured (though I am, for all intents and purposes a junior member), I would go ahead and outline my personal guidelines for the bug out/camp in survival strategy, in the hopes they might be of use to others.

So, when the shit finally hits the fan, you are going to, first and foremost, need to answer a few questions before you make any moves. These are questions that are necessary to making sure you make the right move for the right situation.

First Question: How Long Will It Last?

You first need to figure out how long the shit is going to be interrupting the rotation of aforementioned oscillator blades. If things are going to only be bad for a day or two, you're best bet is to sit tight. Chances are, society is not going to fall apart in 24 hours. Rule of Law will be restored long before things get out of hand. Stay in your house and, if necessary, keep a firearm close. Even that is pushing the limit of necessary prep. 2 Days barely counts as the SHTF.

Now, if things are going to be bad for a few weeks, a slightly different approach is needed. You also need to answer the Second Question: How Prepared Am I? If you have a strongly prepared and stocked home, just sit out the rough period. The chaos can be kept at bay for a brief period of time, and Rule Of Law (ROL) will return long before you are overwhelmed by the circumstances. However, if you are not so well prepared, and all you have is a Bug-Out Bag and a box of cereal, it's probably for the best you get out of dodge. After 72 hours or so, things will be dangerous (depending on how urban your living situation is), and many of the more unsavory characters will have figured out that ROL is broken, leaving them free to act as they wish. Additionally, I don't think MOST houses will, on Average, have more than a week or two of food stocked up in their regular grocery visits. Again, this is question two. You DO NOT want to be out scavenging for food after 2 weeks of WROL in an urban environment.

Now, if the situation is going to last for a few months, say 2-6 months, you are probably better off leaving your home. This, of course, depends upon Question Three: How Will My Surroundings React? The fact is, if you live in a small farming town of 600 people, you are unlikely to encounter a WROL situation. When the SHTF, it will be unlikely to affect you all for some time, as the community is used to being separated from the rest of society, and dealing with their own problems, and additionally has the supplies to make it through. If things are only going to be bad for a few months, it is likely the local community will be able to hold things together as usual, until normal society is reinstated large scale.

However, if you live in a large urban community, city sprawl, or even seemingly picturesque suburbia, the underbelly will quickly emerge and take advantage of the situation. After 3 weeks of WROL, and with seemingly no end in sight, the nasty parts of society will more than likely be ruling the streets, or at the very least engaging in pitched battles with whatever semblance of law that remains. If you try to hole up in your house for that long, even if you have the supplies to last that long, it is more than likely that you will be overwhelmed by one group or another after a month or two. You are not a one man army, and even with the assistance of your family, or even a few neighbors, success is unlikely. You need to figure out what kind of environment you are in, and get out of dodge, and soon, if you have a long time-line AND an unstable environment.

And finally, the big dog, 6 months or more. If the SHTF, and you are unclear that it will end at any point in the near future, if at all, and are looking at a long term survival scenario, you only have one option. Societal Construction. To survive a long-term period, you will have to bring together a community of people. The likelihood of one person surviving for more than a year in a complete WROL situation is close to zero. A single family is not much higher. No matter your skill at wilderness survival, no matter your ability to grow plants, fire a rifle, build a house, you have almost no chance without support. There are going to be those groups of unsavory people who I mentioned above, and they are, after given several months to work out their kinks, are more than likely going to be in strength, and roving around making trouble for people like you. You will need support, you will need to at the very least match those groups in strength, or you are royally screwed. Keep that in mind.

And, of course, there is one final question if you are weighing Bug Out vs. Camp In. Question Four: Is It Stupid To Stay Here? Look at the situation? Is it a WMD inbound? A foreign invasion on your doorstep? A force 5 hurricane ready to blow your shit to kingdom come? If you can just get out of the way of the trouble, DO IT. Surviving is about NOT sticking your head out in front of the chopping block.

So, that about raps that up. Remember, PLAN, PLAN, PLAN, for every situation you can think of, and you will be much more capable of answering these questions, and much more likely to emerge from hard times unscathed. Peace out, and good prepping.


Prepare: How To Prepare For Swine Flu

Or for any other pandemic.

Good news about the swine flu, it is not passed at random. You have to be exposed to someone who has the virus (or a pig who does, but most of us won't have that problem).

The old advice is the best advice:

- Stay away from sick people! If someone is sneezing and blowing their nose, get away from them. This is not a joke but a fact of life.

- Don't eat or drink after another. You never know if they have the virus in dormant stages.

- If you have to cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with something like a handkerchief or kleenex. (I hate those idiots who sneeze with their head stuck out, face uncovered as loud as they possibly can in a crowded room). After using the kleenex, throw it away. If it is a handkerchief put it away. Then wash your hands very well. (And then go home and get away from other people).

- Stay away from crowded public places. Sick people seem to love to congregate in churches, big retail stores, hospital emergency rooms, and schools. If you can work from home - do. If you can pull your kids from school, pull them. Only shop in the early morning or late night hours. Wear gloves or carry sanitizing wipes to wipe down grocery cart handles or baskets. Don't eat the samples in the grocery store for crying out loud!

- Use common sense. Wash hands frequently. Avoid touching eyes, ears, nose and mouth. Get plenty of rest. Eat properly.

OK, now MY list of preparedness advice the mass media and government don't want to talk about.

- Get some N95 masks today. They are far better than the surgical type masks (the blue ones) you see everyone wearing. The big box hardware stores generally carry them in the tool section or near paint. Word to the wise: They have been selling like hotcakes but Amazon has them in stock. 3M - N95 Respirator/Flu Mask, 20 Pack It is not adviseable to wear these multiple times. If you have one on for a short time, it can be reused. After exertion i.e. sweat and spittle (sorry to be gross, but the flu is worse!), the effectiveness of the mask goes down.

- Stock up on food, water and gasoline. Go fill the car up and at least one five gallon can. Buy several weeks of real food like canned and packaged foods, rice, beans, and so on. Get as many cases of bottled water as you can afford. Get a good quality water filter and some large containers.

Why? Well what happens when this swine flu gets out of hand and the grocers close? Or the truckers start getting sick? Also, this just another reason to have a garden for some additional food.

- Stock up on cash at home. Pay bills online. What happens when the banks close? So pay some of those bills in advance just in case.

- Get plenty of bleach and cleaning products. Clean your home and clothing very well now. Wipe surfaces constantly with anti-bacterial wipes. Keep Lysol spray handy and spray toys and eating surfaces as well as beds daily. Keep an N95 mask next to the front door. You may have to start wearing them whenever someone comes to the house.

- Have over the counter medicines, but stock up on alternative products as well. Like elderberry supplements marketed as Sambucol. You should have been taking regular supplements like vitamins and herbs already. If not, stock up on some as well as herbs like goldenseal and echinacea.

If you think you are getting the flu, remember to hydrate. Dehydration is a symptom of diarrhea, so get lots of gatorade and make rehydration drinks with sugar, salt and filtered water.

- If anyone does get sick in the family, quarantine them from the rest. Have a room designated as a sick room. Have clean sheets and bedding ready. Thoroughly clean the infected person's room, bedding and clothing. Keep them comfortable and well dosed with plenty of fluids.

Stay in contact with your health care provider and let them know of all symptoms as they occur.

You and your family can survive a pandemic, but you have to use common sense and courtesy. Most of all, stay away from others if you are sick and take all steps to get well as soon as possible. If you have not been exposed, do all possible to avoid being around other sick people. And no matter what anyone else says, get prepared now.

Why Being Prepared Is So Important

I often think of an article I read last year stating that if ”just in time” deliveries to Southern California suddenly stopped it would only take four days to totally wipe out the stores. I’m here to tell you it’s much, much shorter than that.

The news of the Swine Flu outbreak became headline news on Sunday, April 26th - by Tuesday morning all the face masks and waterless hand disinfectants were wiped out. Completely gone. Right now we’re lucky because shipments haven’t stopped and the stores are restocking as quickly as possible, but if it gets much worse, we can expect necessities to be gone within 24 hours.

No one is hoping this is a false alarm more than those of us who are already prepared. We understand the potential for this to be a life-altering event and certainly hope that after all is said and done we can say we overreacted. However, I can’t stress enough that you should have a supply of necessities at home, just in case. There’s no need to run out and purchase a year’s supply of food and water, but having enough to last a few months might be the best investment you ever make. Also think about what you would need to take care of a sick person in your home. Medicines, protective gear and comfort items will disappear rapidly from stores, so get yours now.

I’ve heard people scoff and say this is hype driven by main stream media, and they might be right. In the large scheme of things a few hundred people dying of the influenza isn’t much of an impact. But, let’s not forget that people HAVE died. What a sad, sad thing to happen anytime for any reason. I am sickened by the hate on the message boards, some people going so far as to say these people deserve this. It just reminds me that there is something that scares me more than disease, and that’s mankind. Our ability to hate so violently and dismiss human life so easily.

I don’t know about you, but I value every day of this life because I truly believe it’s the only one we get. I want my children to be healthy and grow up peacefully. I want them to love their fellow man, no matter how much they disagree with their actions and attitudes. I want them to know that while we do have an overpopulation problem on this planet, wishing death for anyone isn’t something we do.

My number one suggestion for you at this point is simple - have a plan. Decide what’s the best course of action for you and your family and don’t hesitate when the decision is upon you. Keep aware and weigh everything you read with your own common sense.

I am prepared for whatever comes from this swine flu outbreak. I hope you are too and I hope all of our preparations are unnecessary.


Answers to Questions…H1N1 Virus, Swine Flu

None - This image is in the public domain and ...

April 29 2:30pm PDT

I usually post my updates at the end of my posts but this is just too important and I don’t want anyone to miss it. The World Health Organization has just held a news conference and raised the threat level for a pandemic to a level 5. This means the H1N1 flu is now officially a pandemic. During the conference they stated that the flu would continue to spread and could get more severe. They also noted that it would be more severe in less industrialized countries. This is very serious and should not cause us to panic but it should be a wake up call if you are not prepared to remain in your home for at least two weeks. No grocery store, no work, no school, no going outside for any reason except to go to the doctor. This is the only way to truly keep your family safe. There is no need for that right now but it could come. A week ago no one was talking about a pandemic. Things can and will change very quickly and now is the time to plan what you and your family will do. Please go back and read the Friday pandemic post on this blog, please check at work and school to determine what the plans are there and please speak with extended family to verify that they also have a plan. When I hear more I will pass it along. Please don’t listen to rumors, confirm all you read or hear with another source.


As you may have noticed I failed to post any updates for several hours yesterday. We had a power outage. It made me think about just how quickly things can change. I intended to keep posting through this flu outbreak and had always thought I would keep in touch and answer questions during a pandemic. I saw this as a place to share frustrations, suggestions, to get questions answered, and to just plain feel connected to the outside world. Then it happened, the power went out and I realized there may be times we can’t communicate. I knew that. I have warned you to be prepared for power outages during a pandemic but yesterday made it all too real. What that means to me is that we need to share and ask now while we still can.

I am still hopeful that this flu will not become a very deadly pandemic. It may become a pandemic but hopefully a mild one with “few” deaths. I realize any death is one too many.

Most of us have been preparing but if you are just beginning please don’t go empty your savings accounts and blindly go crazy buying food and supplies. It may seem self serving, but, just go download Mother Hubbard…What She’s Doing Now, read it and begin to stock up in an organized way. There is a calculator in the ebook to help you know how much you need to store for a week’s supply up to a year’s supply of each food category. You can also go back through the posts in the Where to begin food storage section on this blog and use that as your guide. You will want to store foods your family likes and eats all the time, store what you eat and eat what you store. You will also want to add foods to have on hand for those who are ill or recovering from the flu. These include, plenty of juices, jello, broths, chicken noodle soup, popsicles, applesauce, rice, and saltine type crackers. I will post a list of the stages of the flu and the specific foods to eat later today or tomorrow.

While you are at the bank take out some cash in small denomination bills. If this should become a pandemic and there is a “run” on the store, or power goes down, you may need cash to pay for supplies. During most emergencies it comes to that, either the credit card system becomes overwhelmed and useless, or there is no power to keep it working. This of course, would also be true of the ATM system, don’t count on it being available.

Please take a minute to read the comments on yesterday’s post. There are some great tips from readers there. Now to some questions:

“Then they say it will possibly come back in the fall… I feel like this is our “drill” for what may come.”

Yes, this could come back in the fall. Typically a pandemic comes in two or three stages. The first stage is mild and people die but most people survive. This typically lasts 9-12 weeks. During the second stage the virus is usually stronger and deaths increase. There is normally only a very short period of time between the second and third waves but people are lulled into a state of false security between the first and second because they believe it is all over. This is the time to step up our preparedness effort so we are ready in case a second wave happens. If everyone would continue to follow Our General Store preparations each Monday they will be ready to self quarantine by the time that second wave occurs.

What do you think about the vaccine that they may give next fall… I really don’t want to take it, from what I read about what happened in the 1970’s. Do you think it can be safe if they are able to grow the vaccine from seeds?

I feel confident that a vaccine will not be disastrous this time as it was in 1976. The government went into panic mode at that time and there probably should have been more testing before the vaccine was given. I am so glad you asked about this as I really should have explained, I apologize. A seed stock is not a seed. It is called that because like a tomato seed that produces a tomato a seed stock of a virus produces a virus. Think of a seed stock for a virus as a petri dish growing that virus. When scientist want to study the virus they go to the dish, remove some of the virus, provide the correct environment for it to thrive and then use it to test a vaccine to see if it will kill the virus. A small amount of the virus is also needed a part of the vaccine itself. A scientist will tell you that explanation is not complete but for those of us not creating a vaccine it should help you understand.

Do you think they are keeping the real risk “quiet”? I don’t think most people are worried at all about the threat of what this can become. They keep reporting about what happens with a seasonal flu and make it seem like this is the same type of thing. I don’t feel like it is the same at all - what do you think?

I think the government just wants to avoid panic. I am more upset with the media. I sent some articles I have written to news outlets and asked if I could help inform their readers and listeners (TV and radio) and I did not get one call in response. Now, I realize they have not heard of me but they have not had anyone else explaining how to prepare except to say to wash your hands and stay home if you get sick. Well, if you are quarantined and haven’t prepared who do they think is going to bring you food and medical supplies? I’m sick of hearing about the first 100 days and a republican who jumps parties when families are frightened. I hope this blog is helping to alleviate some of those fears and bring you facts. If it has helped you please share it with those you know.

Should I stay home from church and keep my kids home from school?

If there is swine flu in your school or in your community I would stay home from all public gathering. Hold a worship service in your home and call your child’s school or teacher for some guidance and create lessons in your home. If they don’t have anything watch the Discovery Channel and discuss what you learn or get out a classic book and read it together. By the way, if there is a child at school with the flu your school should have been closed.


As an update..

Texas has canceled all school events sports, plays, etc. until May 11th.

I’m sure you are aware there has now been a death in Texas of a 23 month old boy who was visiting from Mexico.

Germany has now confirmed the flu is there also.

Egypt is destroying all it’s pigs even though there is no flu there and this virus is being transferred between humans, not pigs. There is no reason to destroy pigs and YOU CANNOT GET THE FLU BY EATING PORK PRODUCTS. You might be able to get a great deal on pork roast and ribs right now!

More later…


WHO notches up swine flu pandemic alert

Global outbreak considered imminent; vaccine efforts will be ramped up

The World Health Organization raised its pandemic alert for swine flu to the second highest level Wednesday, meaning that it believes a global outbreak of the disease is imminent.

WHO Director General Margaret Chan declared the phase 5 alert after consulting with flu experts from around the world. The decision could lead the global body to recommend additional measures to combat the outbreak, including for vaccine manufacturers to switch production from seasonal flu vaccines to a pandemic vaccine.

"All countries should immediately now activate their pandemic preparedness plans," Chan told reporters in Geneva. "It really is all of humanity that is under threat in a pandemic."

A phase 5 alert means there is sustained transmission among people in at least two countries. Once the virus shows effective transmission in two different regions of the world, a full pandemic outbreak — level 6 — would be declared, meaning a global epidemic of a new and deadly disease.

"It is important to take this very seriously," Chan told a news conference watched around the globe on Wednesday. But for the average person, the term "pandemic" doesn't mean they're suddenly at greater risk.

Nearly a week after the H1N1 virus, or swine flu, was first identified in California and Texas, about 100 cases have now been confirmed in the U.S. across 11 states, and health officials reported Wednesday that a 23-month-old Mexican boy had died in Texas.

Story continues below ↓
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But in Mexico, where up to 159 people have died from the virus and around 1,300 more are being tested for infection, people struggled with an emergency that has brought normal life virtually to a standstill over the past week.

Almost all cases outside of Mexico have had only light symptoms, and only a handful of cases have needed hospitalization.

Officials warned more deaths could be expected as surveillance of the illness increases.

Pharmaceutical companies should ramp up manufacturing, Chan said. Two antiviral drugs — Relenza, made by GlaxoSmithKline and Tamiflu, made by Roche AG — have been shown to work against the H1N1 strain.

Flu viruses are notorious for rapid mutation and unpredictable behavior, she warned. But she also offered words of reassurance.

“The world is better prepared for an influenza pandemic than at any time in history,” Chan said. “For the first time in history we can track the pandemic in real time.”

As fear and uncertainty about the disease ricocheted around the globe, Chan added that WHO did not recommend closing borders or forgoing pork.

No signs of slowing
Germany and Austria reported cases of the illness, bringing the number of affected countries to 9.

Spain has reported the first case in Europe of swine flu in a person who had not been to Mexico, illustrating the danger of person-to-person transmission.

Nations are taking all sorts of precautions, some more useful than others.

Egypt ordered the pig slaughter even though there hasn’t been a single case of swine flu there. Britain, with only five cases, is trying to buy 32 million masks. And in the United States, President Barack Obama said more of the country’s 132,000 schools may have to be shuttered.
At airports from Japan to South Korea to Greece and Turkey, thermal cameras were trained on airline passengers to see if any were feverish. And Lebanon discouraged traditional Arab peck-on-the-cheek greetings, even though no one has come down with the virus there.

The U.S., the European Union and other countries have discouraged nonessential travel to Mexico.

The World Health Organization said total bans on travel to Mexico — such as one imposed by Argentina, which hasn’t had any confirmed cases — were questionable because the virus is already fairly widespread.

“WHO does not recommend closing of borders and does not recommend restrictions of travel,” said Dr. Keiji Fukuda, the Geneva-based organization’s flu chief. “From an international perspective, closing borders or restricting travel would have very little effect, if any effect at all, at stopping the movement of this virus.”

Nor will killing pigs, as Egypt began doing Wednesday, infuriating pig farmers who blocked streets and stoned Health Ministry workers’ vehicles in protest. While pigs are banned entirely in some Muslim countries because of religious dietary restrictions, they are raised in Egypt for consumption by the country’s Christian minority.

H1N1 swine flu is seen as the biggest risk since H5N1 avian flu re-emerged in 2003, killing 257 people of 421 infected in 15 countries. In 1968 a “Hong Kong” flu pandemic killed about 1 million people globally, and a 1957 pandemic killed about 2 million.

Seasonal flu kills 250,000 to 500,000 people in a normal year, including healthy children in rich countries.


Swine flu upgraded to level 5 of 6

I know many on here don't feel swine flu is a valid threat but I do feel we should take this seriously. The w.h.o has now upgraded us to level 5 out of 6. Their is a great map of pandemic at

msnbc report

The World Health Organization raised its pandemic alert for swine flu to the second highest level Wednesday, meaning that it believes a global outbreak of the disease is imminent.

WHO Director General Margaret Chan declared the phase 5 alert after consulting with flu experts from around the world. The decision could lead the global body to recommend additional measures to combat the outbreak, including for vaccine manufacturers to switch production from seasonal flu vaccines to a pandemic vaccine.

"All countries should immediately now activate their pandemic preparedness plans," Chan told reporters in Geneva. "It really is all of humanity that is under threat in a pandemic."

A phase 5 alert means there is sustained transmission among people in at least two countries. Once the virus shows effective transmission in two different regions of the world a full pandemic outbreak would be declared.

WHO has confirmed human cases of swine flu in Mexico, the United States, Canada, Britain, Israel, New Zealand and Spain. Mexico and the U.S. have reported deaths.

"It is important to take this very seriously," Chan told a press conference watched around the globe on Wednesday. But for the average person, the term "pandemic" doesn't mean they're suddenly at greater risk.

Flu viruses are notorious for rapid mutation and unpredictable behavior, Chan warned.

As fear and uncertainty about the disease ricocheted around the globe, nations took all sorts of precautions, some more useful than others.


HOW TO: Track Swine Flu Online

Swine Flu Outbreak: How Bad Could It Be?

by Rob Taylor on April 27th, 2009

How about 1918 bad. That’s apparently the last time a flu virus was specifically more fatal to the young and healthy than children and the elderly and the Spanish Flu epidemic killed fifty million people world wide. Granted back then sick people didn’t have cheap over the counter medicines that could help them through an illness like Americans do now, nor the ability to maintain hygienic conditions with good quality sanitizing products, but with Mexico’s fatality rate so far looking to be at 7% or I’m finding it hard to be nonchalant about this potential pandemic.

I became aware of the epidemic in Mexico Saturday when the numbers were small but worrisome. 800 infected in Mexico with over 20 confirmed fatalities and eight suspected cases here. Now their are a confirmed 1300 infected in Mexico with over 100 fatalities and at least 30 cases all over the United States. New York, Kansas, Ohio, Texas and California have had confirmed Swine flu infections. There’s a map charting the infections here. Canada, Spain, France and London may also have cases.

I have seen unconfirmed reports that there are Swine Flu infections in Alabama.

The C.D.C has admitted that the seasonal flu vaccines people have will not be effective against this new strain. Governments around the world are beginning quarantines of anyone suspected of having the virus, as well as tightening restrictions on pork products and travel.

There isn’t a lot of information out there, the C.D.C page on the outbreak is nothing you haven’t heard on the news. Oddly the deaths have so far been limited to Mexico, although they were all young healthy people. I would theorize that although Mexico City is a as urban as any U.S. city Americans in general have more access to potentially life saving items and luxuries than the average Mexican. Cheap over the counter medicine and central air conditioning may among other things really be making a difference in the outcome of a nasty bug. On the other hand there is such a small sample of cases thus far that we won’t know how lethal this new flu is until we have infection numbers similar to Mexico.

Right now no one can tell you honestly how bad this may get, but those with a survivalist mind-set (myself included) are taking precautions. If it’s possible stay home for the next few days and get plenty of liquids in the house and stock up on fever reducing medications as well as the regular flu stuff you keep in the house. Don’t wait to pick up supplies, if more people get sick there will be runs on grocery stores and those crowds may be full of infected people. Many people are recommending you buy breathing masks, but if you don’t already have them going to stores where sick people may be congregating to get them (pharmacies and the like) isn’t a better plan than laying low. You can buy many items online if you can wait a few days for them. The only reason for you to be in a store for the next couple of days is if you don’t have necessities like food, water and toilet paper on hand.

There are already rumors circulating about the flu designed to make you panic. I have seen several comments implying that this was a bio-terror attack by the United States on Mexico and much is being made on various conspiracist forums I will never link to of the death of Felipe Solis just hours after meeting our President. Some newshounds are pointing out that this outbreak came only days after Fort Detrick began an investigation into missing viruses from their bio-warfare facility. It is an odd coincidence, but I have been told that samples turn up missing from government labs with a frequency that would alarm the public if they realized it. Depending on the amount of tin foil hattery in your area (and New York is lousy with people who believe in such nonsense) this sort of conspiracy mongering so early in the event is another reason to stay home if you can.

There’s no way to verify these statements, but readers have sent alarming stories to the BBC which imply that the situation in Mexico is worse than the media is letting on:

I’m a specialist doctor in respiratory diseases and intensive care at the Mexican National Institute of Health. There is a severe emergency over the swine flu here. More and more patients are being admitted to the intensive care unit. Despite the heroic efforts of all staff (doctors, nurses, specialists, etc) patients continue to inevitably die. The truth is that anti-viral treatments and vaccines are not expected to have any effect, even at high doses. It is a great fear among the staff. The infection risk is very high among the doctors and health staff.

There is a sense of chaos in the other hospitals and we do not know what to do. Staff are starting to leave and many are opting to retire or apply for holidays. The truth is that mortality is even higher than what is being reported by the authorities, at least in the hospital where I work it. It is killing three to four patients daily, and it has been going on for more than three weeks. It is a shame and there is great fear here. Increasingly younger patients aged 20 to 30 years are dying before our helpless eyes and there is great sadness among health professionals here.
Antonio Chavez, Mexico City

There are several more testimonies similar to this one. There is no way to know how many sicknesses and deaths slipped by the bureaucrats before the alerts were issued so the mortality rate for the flu may be higher or lower in Mexico than the 7% it’s at now.

Take the day off, buy as much food and water as you need and take a mini-vacation. I know it’s easy to say when you work at home as I do, but if you can stay off the streets do so until you’re sure this bug has mutated into a less lethal form. However there is no need to panic, yet. But it is time to get prepared. Except in Mexico most infections were no worse than the regular flu so stay cool. Water, food and toilet paper, if you don’t have enough to last you a week or more of staying home than get some now.

Cross posted at Red Alerts

Update: If you leave a comment with a link you may be put in moderation.

Here’s a link to a supposed real time infection map. Mexico has remained the epicenter with more than 1600 infected.

I have seen unconfirmed reports that there were more than 100 sick kids in the Queens prep school but only eight were tested originally. They all tested positive for Swine Flu. If true the C.D.C and DHS are playing fast and loose with the numbers in order to control the panic that will happen if people see a new virus spreading quickly. The official tally there is now 28 infected.

Gateway Pundit reports that we’re still not screening passengers arriving from Mexico.

Mexico City has been hit with an earthquake. The gods are angry down there.

The European Union is telling people not to travel to Mexico or America. Obama is not amused.

Update: A private school in South Carolina has been closed after kids coming from Mexico were found to have Flu-like symptoms. Greenville News (perhaps America’s worst newspaper) gives bare bone details, omitting facts you may want to know like where the school is located. The Newberry Academy website has a statement about the closure.