Dear Backdoor Survival Readers,
At this point, the Coronavirus has been one of the main topics among preppers for more than a week.
This situation is strange due to the lack of information and the uncertainty at this point. The public has a lot of questions that are not being answered and the amount of censorship of any info that comes out of China is troubling to say the least.
On Facebook and other social media, people are dealing with this in many different ways. There are people that believe the whole situation is fear-mongering and others that are taking it more seriously. Some even believe that it is not happening at all.
Denial is a powerful thing and a very common reaction to disasters and threats.
I do not believe that advising people to consider what they need to do to prepare for a pandemic is fear-mongering. I think that this is a time to review your preps and consider what is lacking and what is best for your family to do if the situation progresses to the point where you need to stay at home.
Note: Throughout this article and at the very end, there are a ton of links to articles that you may find useful.
Even if the Coronavirus is contained soon, the situation can be used as a real-life exercise in preparedness for that time “when we came close”.
The supply chain is inevitably going to be affected by the massive amount of plant shutdowns and businesses shutting down entirely.
300 of the 500 Top Companies in the world have a presence in Wuhan province alone. Consider how that is going to affect the world.
Government response and the shutting down of commerce indicates that the situation is actually serious.
Governments and businesses both domestic and foreign do not take steps such as the following over the mere flu or just “fear-mongering”.
- Shutting down airports and air travel
- Quarantining entire cities
- Limiting travel destinations of returning foreign workers, military, etc and requiring a 14-day quarantine.
- Starbucks shuttering half or more of their stores
- Apple shut down all stores and factories.
- WHO( World Health Organization) declared novel coronavirus a global health emergency.
- The US Center For Disease Control declared a state of public health emergency.
I am going to stop there with the list of serious actions that are being taken. Those that want more information should check out the entire front page of Zerohedge. For those that do not already know, Zerohedge had their Twitter account permanently banned a few days ago.
With the amount of info and links they had that other media outlets were being hush-hush about, it is not surprising that the censors decided to shut them out of Twitter. Not right but not surprising.
Massive censorship has played a huge role in the uncertainty that everyone is facing at the moment. People are unsure just how bad of a thing they are up against and that is an extremely eerie feeling to have gnawing at your mind.
All that being said, I have to say that a lot of readers are much more prepared than the average person. It is very easy to think “I can do more”. I have spent the last week with Matt reviewing some of our preps when we have a little time.
It is important to realize that everyone has their own triggers when it comes to disaster preparedness. When you decide it is time to take more serious steps is a very personal choice most of the time. Mandatory government quarantines are one of the exceptions to this rule that I can think of.
I see a lot of people getting attacked online for taking precautions. Something that I think those that want to say there is no problem should remember is that there are plenty of people out there that lost a lot of family during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918.
While it seems like a long time ago, I have talked to people that are not that much older than me that described how their grandparents told them stories of the horrors of that time. There is a historical reason that some are taking this so seriously. Pandemics have happened before so why would it not be possible for them to happen again, especially in a time where there is genetic engineering?
So what should you do?
Like I said before, taking additional steps is a personal choice. I cannot tell you exactly what is right for your circumstances but I can make a few questions that may help you consider your own unique situation and a few suggestions that can be applied to many different preparedness situations.
- How much food and beverage do you have? Could you stay at home for a month? How long could you shelter in place with the supplies you have on hand?
- Do you have enough pet and livestock feeds to stay in place for a while?
- What prescription meds does everyone need in the family? Have they got an extra supply? Can they get a 90-day prescription?
- How would you spend your time if you had to stay at home for a month or longer? Do you have projects and supplies? Does everyone have something for entertainment?
- Do you have enough propane gas, firewood, oil, etc for heating and cooking?
- If you have kids, what specific things do they need? Do you have enough diapers?
- What is the state of your medical supplies and over the counter medications? Do you have what you need to take care of minor to moderate medical needs?
Stressful times can cause people to treat each other poorly. Try to be more patient with those around you.
I know that my own state of being has been fairly stressed here lately for a variety of reasons. There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day for everything. When you get too stressed and tired it is easy to snap at people or be grumpy. Try to have some time to unwind even if it is just for a little while. Some time is better than nothing.
During a quarantine, families that are normally allowed some distance from one another may find they are stuck in a limited space and that tempers flare. It happens. How it is handled makes a big difference though. Don’t be afraid to say you are sorry and apologize. It means a lot. Holding a big grudge over someone can make things really difficult during a stressful time. We all need to try to be supportive of each other.
Think about what you can do to produce and value add at home. What production can you bring to your home? What can you do to shield yourself from increased costs in all areas of your life?
There are so many things you can do at home to produce something you need. Matt and I have been thinking about what we can do to produce at home quite a bit. Here are a few activities that can help.
Consider what you can grow inside or outside.
Here is a link to my article on the highest yielding crops for the prepper garden. It is always a good idea to consider what gives you the most for the planting space you have. Matt and I have used this time to plan out our garden for the year. Growing some food is always a good thing.
Also, don’t forget that anyone can grow sprouts! Even if you live in a dorm room, you have space for a few Mason jars. Matt and I ordered some sprouting seed and jar lids. Check out the Backdoor Survival post below for what you need to know about sprouting!
Can you sew, knit, crochet, etc?
I used to sew quilts. We still use a few of them because homemade ones seem to last forever. I would like to learn to knit and have everything I need to do so and some yarn from our sheep herd. If you have some fabric or yarn, and a few tools, there is a lot you can do to make things for your family to wear or use.
Learn to bake your own bread or make your own yogurt.
We make a lot of baked goods at home because my Dad and I cannot eat standard wheat products, unfortunately. We did discover that we can eat Einkorn wheat products which have helped out. It is nice to be able to have some more options. Here are a few links about baking bread, including a big post on baking gluten-free bread.
Since another dietary restriction in our home is uncultured dairy products, I make a lot of yogurt to save money. I can make several gallons of yogurt for what a few quart containers of already prepared yogurt costs. Below is a link to my post about how I do this and also make yogurt cheese, a delicious alternative to regular sour cream and some soft cheeses. Add a little homemade jam, jelly, or alternatively, frozen fruit, and you have something really delicious to eat at any time.
Cook at home and pack lunches. Avoid eating out.
It kind of amazes me how the same folks that talk about how expensive it is to live and how they are stressing about money will think nothing about dropping $30 on a meal for two that they could fix at home for $10 and with better ingredients. Eating out really adds up.
Even spending $40 a week on lunches and meals out means you are spending $2,080 per year at restaurants. That is a pretty significant amount. Store delis can offer less expensive options than a standard restaurant if you must grab a meal on the go.
Dinners can be planned out that are simple to fix in a crockpot and the leftovers can make a good lunch. Leftover meats are great for sandwiches for example.
I also want to point out that if something contagious is going around, eating out can put you in a position of more exposure to illness.
Plan some fun and entertainment that doesn’t require spending a lot.
Think about fun things that don’t cost a lot. There are plenty of relaxing and entertaining things to do that don’t require a big budget. I buy a lot of used books. They cost me $1-$5 each on average and provide a lot of entertainment. Drawing and sketching don’t cost a lot. Going on a day hike is inexpensive. Board games or video games can be inexpensive. Rent a movie online rather than go to a theater. The list could go on and on but you get the point.
Find some freelance work online or a part-time job you can do online.
There are all kinds of opportunities to make money online even if you have an erratic schedule. You may have to start at the lower end of the pay scale for some jobs if you lack experience but it gets better. Believe me, I know. I used to work for a penny a word when I was a beginning freelance writer. Sites like Upwork, Freelancer, and Indeed have opening posts. As a writer, I have found my best jobs over the years via the Problogger job board.
Consider work trade and barter arrangements.
A trade or barter arrangement can work out to the advantage of both parties. Just be clear of the expectations in order to avoid hard feelings. Even if you know someone really well, you might want to write down any tasks that are part of a work-trade agreement. People get busy and forget things. There is no reason for a misunderstanding if things are written out and agreed on. Trading items may not need to be that formal of an arrangement.
Start a backyard chicken flock or consider raising quail.
Even those in town that have just a small yard can often manage to have a few chickens or a cage of quail. Being able to get fresh eggs is really nice and the chickens will reduce bugs and spiders around your place if you move them around in a movable pen without a bottom or if you can manage to let them free range at least part of the time. We recently added a rooster to our flock of 8 hens. They seem happier with him around and we are hoping for chicks in the Spring!
Here are some posts on chickens and quail that you may find helpful:
Oh and if you get so many eggs that you are worried about how to store and use them, consider looking at my article “Top 6 Ways To Preserve Eggs”.
Cooking With Stashed Foods
Plenty of people put back shelf-stable foods but these foods are sometimes foods that they do not normally eat or use for cooking from scratch. If you are stuck at home for a long time, you may need to get into your prep foods. I wrote an article with recipes for using stashed foods. These are good and filling meals. I even have a recipe for pizza!
Articles For Pandemic and Long Emergencies
Below are some links to articles that may be helpful to you when considering what steps to take to increase your level of pandemic preparedness.
Do you have a job where you have to work with the public a lot? What are you doing to help prevent yourself from getting colds and flu-like viruses? Has your workplace took any measures or did anything to help you stay healthy?
There are so many people with jobs that expose them to a lot of people. My sister works at a grocery store and I worry about her. Like so many people, she is not able to just say “I’m staying at home”. She has two kids to help support. While she does try to reduce her exposure, she is still in a riskier position for catching colds and flu.