For the past couple of weeks, I have been writing and re-writing an article on finding calm in a sea of Ebola. The first draft was written over two weeks ago and to be honest, as much as I tried, I simply could not get it to gel.
So much has been written already. Some is good and some is not. That said, I feel that prepper’s, as a group, are probably feeling a bit of Ebola-fatigue. Now I hear noises that the main stream media is shuttering news of Ebola as it is spreading to individual communities. Whether true or not, I do believe that we have the right to be informed, whether the news is good or the news is bad.
Today I have decided to take a different approach relative to pandemic readiness and more specifically, preparing for Ebola.
Alex Smith – Understanding & Preparing for an Outbreak + Book Giveaway
Many of you might remember Alex Smith from previous Backdoor Survival Book Festivals. He is the author of Staying Home, Getting Home, and Home Remedies – all of which are concise, well written, and useful tomes for the prepper library. In mid-October, he sent me a copy of his latest book, Ebola: Understanding and Preparing for an Outbreak and even though I was still traveling, I read it cover to cover in a single sitting.
This is an important book. Not so much because it includes groundbreaking strategies, but because it succinctly goes through the history of Ebola, symptoms, a discussion of various strains, and what to do if Ebola comes knocking on the door of your community.
Lucky for me, or I should say us, Alex and I have stayed in touch and as a result, he is willing to share a chapter from his book so that you can benefit from his research. We decided to share chapter 7 because it outlines what to do if an epidemic reaches your immediate area. As with the rest of the book, it clearly outlines strategies that we can embrace during an Ebola pandemic or any other pandemic that might occur during these uncertain times.
Alex is also holding two copies of his book for two lucky Backdoor Survival readers. More about that in a moment. First, here is some advice for dealing with an epidemic if it reaches the crisis stage in your area.
Chapter 7: Crisis Stage – Epidemic in Your Area
If the virus reaches your immediate area, consider yourself in the midst of a crisis and immediately institute extreme precautions.
• Stay at home. Do not leave for any reason.
• …If you absolutely must leave, wear full PPE and create a decontamination area outside of your home. The area should be outfitted with:
o Bleach trays to walk through for your shoes.
o Bleach spray bottles. A spray will require the assistance of another person.
o Drying racks for bleached items.
o Decontamination will be discussed in greater detail in Chapters 8 and 9.
• Develop a quarantine area outside of your home in the event that friends or family arrives to stay with you. The area should be sufficiently supplied so that someone could remain in the area for several weeks without requiring interaction with you. The point of the area is to segregate and monitor the new arrivals for symptoms, until it is certain they are not infected.
• You may find yourself in the awkward situation between a regional outbreak and a full-blown epidemic. This may cause you to make the decision to stay at home while normal services are still ongoing. In the event that mail delivery is still functional, retrieve your mail with gloved hands. Microwave the mail for two minutes to ensure it is free of infection. The microwave should not be in the house. Place it in your decontamination area.
• Avoid animals that are potential carriers. This includes both wild animals and pets that may be living outdoors. If a severe outbreak occurs in your immediate area and you have pets living outdoors, you will be faced with a heartbreaking choice: risk infection from your pets, or humanely euthanize them to protect your family. Furthermore, understand that the authorities may decide to euthanize animals to reduce the spread of the disease. Madrid (Spain) health authorities euthanized Excalibur, the dog owned by the first Spanish Ebola patient, Teresa Ramos. This was done in spite of mass protests to save the dog.
• Prepare for potential civil unrest. After Excalibur was euthanized in Spain, protesters clashed with police in the streets. Imagine the response if authorities began mass euthanization of animals, or forced quarantining of people? Do not allow yourself to be a part of any unrest that erupts in your area. Doing so will only increase your risk of infection.
• In the event of mass strikes of healthcare workers, first responders, etc., panic will ensue. Protests and looting may erupt. Economies may crash. Martial law may be instituted. Supplies may dwindle. At this point, YOYO (You’re On Your Own). Be able to provide food, water and other basic needs for your family.
• Have the proper training in firearms handling to protect life and property, if need be.
• Remember the following:
o Use precautions with all potentially infected persons.
o Identify suspected cases through symptoms.
o Assume Ebola until proven otherwise.
o Isolate the person until authorities arrive.
o Wear PPEs when necessary.
o Disinfect reusable supplies and equipment immediately after each use.
o Dispose of waste properly and immediately in a burn pit.
o Practice safe burial procedures if authorities are unable to assist with this.
o Make preparations in advance.
The Early Progression of Ebola through Guinea
After my initial read, a question I had for Alex had to do with how he was able to pull this information together so quickly. Here is his response.
I had been following the outbreak on and off from very early. As it continued to spread, I began to focus a little more attention to it. Still, I didn’t expect this. In August, it began to look like something other than what we’ve seen in the past (to me at least; MSF had been saying that since March – and exactly zero people listened to them. The CDC sent Five. Whole. People. to Guinea in March… Fail).
From an epidemiologist’s perspective (which I’m not, btw) it wasn’t “behaving” (behaving is a *very* loose term for a virus with such a crude structure) like your run-of-the-mill, infect-a-village-and-quickly-burn-out Ebola outbreak. Something was different. But what?
Maybe the virus was different. Though this strain is considered to be the Zaire Ebola Virus (ZEBOV), there are studies yet to be published (that I can find) that purportedly show there are differences between this outbreak and previous ZEBOV outbreaks. This sub-strain (if it is such) is allegedly found more abundantly in the respiratory system. This research is coming out of Canada.
When the details are released, aerosol transmission may be undeniable (as if we really should be denying it now). Furthermore, and this is something I’ve heard very few people talk about, but if this *is* ZEBOV, why is it so far away from its origins? Why have there not been any outbreaks in the past 40 years between Zaire and W. Africa, showing it existing or trending towards the coast? I don’t know the answer to these questions. I would like an epidemiologist’s opinion on this one. I haven’t heard it yet.
Maybe Africa has changed. The urbanization of Africa is in full swing. Perhaps nothing has changed, and Ebola has always been this deadly, but it has only had the opportunity to ravage clusters of mud huts. This time, we had the unfortunate circumstance of the virus getting to an urban center within about 4-5 generations. An urban center, mind you, in a country that had absolutely zero historical experience with the virus. Ever.
Maybe both. And I believe this to be the case. And that’s a tad bit disconcerting.
It took several weeks of full-time effort compiling the information I had gathered. Fortunately, a lull at work allowed me to do just that. So I did. I charted case and death rates, mapped prior outbreaks, compared them to this one, traced the origins of the outbreak (attached and in the updated kindle and paperback version), and finally put them in a book format.
Every day, like you, I’m learning a little. Sadly, it looks like we have a long time yet to keep learning.
Two readers will win a copy of Alex Smith’s book. To enter, utilize the Rafflecopter form below. The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific next Wednesday with the winner notified by email and announced in the Rafflecopter form below.
Please note that each winners must claim their book within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Note: If you are having trouble accessing the widget, you may also enter here: Win a copy of EBOLA: Understanding & Preparing for an Outbreak by Alex Smith.
The Final Word
All pandemics are frightening and Ebola is no exception. Couple that with the lack of credible information coming from established authorities and it almost feels as though we are entering the twilight zone.
Truthfully, if you have been prepping for awhile, you most likely have already taken basic precautionary measures as part of your routine preps. All that is left is to have a plan of action outlining what to do in the unlikely event that things get bad. Alex’s book, Ebola: Understanding and Preparing for an Outbreak, can help with that.
Remember, this is a time to remain calm and level headed. This is not doomsday; far from it. Read, study, and learn as much as you can about pandemics so that you will be able to take charge and take control if the worst happens and Ebola comes to your neighborhood.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Spotlight: Ebola: Understanding and Preparing for an Outbreak by Alex Smith a great resource for your preparedness library. While the focus in on Ebola, his strategies for dealing with it apply to any widespread pandemic. Whereas I prefer print books, if you choose the eBook version, Alex is planning to keep it updated as events unfold. Updates are free if the option is turned on in “settings” on the Kindle device page.
Bargain Bin: Now that Ebola has reached the US, here are some items to have on hand as a preventative measure in the event things get serious. Note that I am including a couple of amusements as well. See the article: Seven Facts You Should Know About Ebola.
3M N95 Particulate & Respirator Mask: This is an inexpensive mask that can be used in a variety of emergency situations. They come in a box of 20 and are NIOSH-certified. The molded cone design is fluid and splash resistant and will greatly reduces your exposure to airborne particles.
Moldex 2730 N100 Respirator Mask: Do not confuse P100 masks with the N100s. N100 is what you want since the P100’s are used to filter particulate only and not gasses and vapors. Note that if you are on the small side, you will need to order the smaller version which is the Moldex 2731.
Disposable Protective Coveralls: There are plenty to choose from. I purchased these DuPont White Tyvek Disposable Coveralls With Hood in a medium and it fit me okay with a bit of excess room left over. Shelly needs a large, definitely.
3M TEKK Protection Chemical Splash/Impact Goggle: I read a ton of reviews before settling on these. I was so impressed with both the fit and comfort that I ordered another pair to use as a spare. These are great and the price is right.
Spark Naturals Essential Oils: It is no secret that I prefer essential oils from Spark Naturals. They are well priced and of the highest therapeutic quality. You enjoy an additional 10% off all items, including sale items, when using code BACKDOORSURVIVAL at checkout. In addition, SN announces a new “Item of the Week” every Monday, often with a special shipping offer as well.
Ticket To Ride: This my favorite board game, bare none. Family friendly, if you need to hunker down, you will spend hours in front of the fireplace playing Ticket to Ride with your favorite people. This is worth the splurge.
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