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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Guest Post: Reacting to a CONTAGION, By Northern Raider

29/365, contagionsImage by massdistraction via Flickr

© 2011Northern Raider

With the advent of the new movie CONTAGION and as we head back into the winter I thought we could look at preps to minimise the threat from global pandemics, IE what real world practical steps you can take to protect yourself from a worldwide  outbreak  of a highly contagious disease.

Obviously the greater threat lies to those who insist on living in larger towns and cities and those who use public transport systems, especially to those who continue to shop and work DURING an outbreak. But rural communities can be just as easily infected if refugees or wildlife carrying the virus pass through your community

INTEL GATHERING, if you are to survive a plague be it viral or bacterial you absolutely must have first rate intelligence coming in. You must study multiple media sources to see how the outbreak is progressing, For example an outbreak may be ravaging the European continent but not yet have reach the US or UK, that gives you time to prepare BUT only for a very short time if international air travel is still happening. If planes are coming and going from abroad you know that in seat 32A on the flight into Heathrow or JFK someone is brewing a fever, and that same person is going to use the subway or underground to reach the city centre.

Your best real world defence is SELF RELIANCE &ISOLATION, if you are not exposed to the disease you cannot normally get it unless it is an airborne pathogen. Do not believe the government advice of to “not panic and keep working” because this has more to do with protecting the economy and little to do with caring for the community.  It’s amazing how quick the authorities will use the quarantine and isolation cards on individuals but will try and any costs to keep everyone else out and about working, earning and shopping.

If we are on the receiving end of a really nasty virus your best defence is to not become exposed to it until at least a tried and tested inoculation is available. You need to bug in and lock down until the crisis has passed.  You will need to stop travelling into cosmopolitan areas or areas with large public transport hubs, you may need to stay away from work, and certainly visits to the Theatre, Movies, Diners and Malls must stop. You may choose to keep your kids away from school especially if the outbreak is claiming lots of lives.

Buses and bus stations, taxis, trains and stations, planes and airports, ferry’s, boats and harbours must be avoided and especially underground rapid transit systems must be avoided.

To achieve this you will need to have a good cache / stockpile of FOOD, WATER, MEDICAL and FUEL supplies, enough at least to sustain you in isolation for a month or more.

You need high quality foods to help keep you as healthy as possible so ensure you have vitamin supplements as well and a broad range of food. It must be able to survive storage for extended periods without refrigeration.  Of course there is nothing wrong with consuming the fresh produce from your fridge or freezer at the start of the self-imposed quarantine, far wiser to use it and eat it than to let it go to waste.  But in general you must plan on a diet of tinned, freeze dried and basic essentials like flour, rice, pasta, preserves etc to sustain you for the duration.  Make sure you have enough formula etc for infants to sustain them for a long period.

You will need lots of clean drinking quality water, both for drinking and for keeping everything as clean as possible, your home / retreat and personal hygiene must be first rate.  I keep a full box of 72 tubs of alcohol based hand sanitizer to deploy around the house, bathroom and kitchen, I keep aerosols of Detol and Detox sprays to use on work surfaces and crockery. I have gallons of concentrated Flash liquid to keep floors clean and sterile.

ALL WATER regardless of source will be passed through our Berkfield water filter fitted with the silver treated ceramic filter candles.

Each person will have one individual set of coloured pots, pans and eating irons that no one else can use.

If we have to go into LOCK DOWN the family pets are going to have to get used to living outdoors for the duration, we cannot take the risk of them bringing in any disease on their coats or paws.

No Mail or Parcel deliveries will be accepted during the crisis unless the contents and packaging can be sterilised before they are brought into the retreat.

All waste will be sprayed with disinfectant and if we are unable to incinerate waste in the garden it will be double bagged and stored.

Plastic sheeting, nylon tarps, various plastic bags, roles of duct tape etc will be kept to seal up windows and doors that are not required for ventilation or entry / exit from the retreat, or for wrapping any unfortunate people who pass away during the outbreak.

All clothing that has been outdoors will be treated or washed to kill off any pathogens as will be any tools.

Note that disposable face / dust / particulate masks tend to only be effective against pathogens for about 20 minutes because as soon as your breath makes the cloth moist it loses its protective value. So wear one whilst putting the garbage out in a lock down situation but dont rely on one for any length of time.

A very substantial medical kit is kept with an extra set of all prescription medicines and items such as dentures, eye glasses, insulin pumps and syringes

Anti-viral medications do not always work and viruses can mutate at an alarming rate soon making themselves resistant to AV drugs.


You are going to need enough fuel to heat your home for at least one month independently of the national gas and electricity networks.  If the power workers go sick it could be months before the power comes back on. You must have enough fuel to keep your home or retreat warm and lit AND to ensure you can continue to provide plentiful hot water for essential hygiene protocols, cooking and cleaning for the duration of an extended outbreak.  Heating oil, coal, firewood, bottled gas etc should be a high priority issue before a pandemic stops normal commerce or drives prices through the roof.

You must also keep enough treated and stored fuel to keep your vehicles ready in case you need to bug out if your area becomes too dangerous to remain in.

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