You have to have been riding on a train across Central America for the last few days to be unaware of the latest Ebola threat in the news. Between people with illnesses crossing the border by the thousands daily and our flying infected people back here, you have to wonder what the odds are of a serious outbreak visiting us right here at home.
As preppers, we have to be on guard for a myriad of threats. You may be prepping for one thing, but find out another disaster you didn’t even anticipate has occurred. This is the main reason to broadly prepare for disasters; plan for what your family needs to survive instead of niche or specific issues. For instance, you know that no matter what happens, you will need to eat. You know you will need water and you know you will need shelter. You will need all of this no matter if the super volcano explodes, Martians invade or you have a tornado wipe out your town.
We also talk about what decisions we will be faced with when the disaster comes to our town. Will you be forced to Bug Out; pack everything you need to survive for 72 hours and head out into the woods or hunker down in your house? If a viral outbreak is involved you will almost definitely be forced to shelter in place because you are either going to be required by the authorities to stay indoors, or you out of your natural instinct for self-preservation want to remove yourself and your family from any situation where you could come in contact with an infected individual.
If there is an outbreak, are you prepared to lock your doors and stay in your home for 30-60 days?
What are the symptoms of Ebola?
Unfortunately, like almost any other illness in the world, there are common symptoms. Make sure you don’t think cousin Earl has Ebola when he only has a headache or ate some bad sushi.
- Joint and muscle aches
- Stomach pain
- Lack of appetite
Some patients may experience:
- A Rash
- Red Eyes
- Sore throat
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Bleeding inside and outside of the body
How is Ebola contracted?
Ebola is passed by direct contact with the blood or secretions of an infected person and that is why you want to stay as far away from infected people at all times. Exposure to objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated with infected secretions, bloody sheets, clothing or any fluids at all can pass the disease or at the very least should not be contacted. You can become infected if someone coughs on you who may have the virus so isolation is the only way to avoid exposure from anything I have read.
Like I said above, the only real way to prevent it is to not come in contact with anyone who has Ebola. The medical professionals recommend barrier nursing techniques which essentially mean you have a barrier between you and infection at all times.
Barrier nursing techniques include:
- wearing of protective clothing (such as masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles)
- the use of infection-control measures (such as complete equipment sterilization and routine use of disinfectant)
- Isolation of Ebola HF patients from contact with unprotected persons.
Shelter in place
So if you are told that for your safety you should shelter in place, what types of preparations do you need to have and what some other considerations you need to plan for?
Food and Water – These are no brainers. Do you have enough food and water to last your entire family for 30 to 60 days? If not, we have some strategies for beginning to store 30 days of food on our site. We will assume that even if your town has been locked down to prevent the spread of the virus, the water will still be working, but will you risk drinking it? Could the water supply become infected? In that case, do you have a gallon of water per day for each family member? For a family of 4 that would mean 120 gallons for a month. I personally don’t have that much under my roof, but I would be able to utilize my rain barrels to get that much capacity easily.
Communication – Most prepper sites and even FEMA will recommend you have battery powered radios to get the latest news and information. Being the pessimistic person I am, I have additional sources of communications in the form of Ham radios that I can use to get the real story from regular people and not the potentially nuanced message from the news media. Additionally, it would help to be able to contact neighbors without coming into contact with them. We have plenty of FRS band radios to distribute and we can all be on a channel to pass information to each other.
Sanitation – Again, we assume the city services will still be running, but in the event of a true outbreak anyone could become affected. The people who work for the utilities could become infected too so power, sewage even trash pickup could be stopped due to safety, illness or even death of the people normally responsible for handling these tasks for us. You need to have a plan for sanitation if the grid goes down that will encompass waste removal and hygiene. Half your city could die and they wouldn’t all be dying in the hospital and awaiting burial at the local cemeteries. People could die due to starvation in their homes or have a stroke driving a car to get out of town. Are you prepared to possibly bury your neighbors if they die?
X-Factor – On Doomsday Preppers they throw the wildcard into the scoring of each prepper and give them points for the intangibles. The X factor is what is unknown and unplanned. If there is an outbreak and I mean a legitimate disease outbreak you could be faced with a lot of different things. Riots could break out due to fear or panic over food resources. Do you have a plan for survival if people start knocking on your door because they are out of food? In a time like this Martial law would almost certainly be declared and most if all civil liberties would be thrown out the window under long standing executive orders. Would you be prepared for what would come next?