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With Corona virus (COVID-19) continuing to spread around the world and the threat of it being declared a pandemic, it’s time to recognize each of us has a responsibility to protect ourselves and our families. While more information is provided, some of the best actions for pandemic preparedness are the same tried and true actions that we have been trained to do most of our lives.
Daily Actions to Take for Pandemic
1) Wash your hands. Use soap and water – carefully scrub your hands and nails before rinsing.
2) Do not touch your face. Information I’ve read indicates your mouth, nose, and eyes are the entry points for the Corona virus (COVID-19).
3) Stop shaking hands with others. Try fist bumps, or even a friendly nod for now. The risk of receiving the corona virus from others who unaware they are sick, or who have unknowingly picked up the virus from something they touched is real and may become more likely before we are through this.
4) Have an ample supply of Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer. Place a bottle at every exit in your house and add one to every vehicle you drive. Use sanitizer every time you enter or exit your home, building or automobile. When entering your home, immediately go wash your hands thoroughly. If you can’t find any hand sanitizer, some places to try would be dollar stores and gas stations. Basically, the little, out of the way stores that people wouldn’t think to check. Another option is to make your own hand sanitizer by using at least 91% isopropyl alcohol and some aloe vera gel. You can find instructions here.
5) Make antibacterial hand wipes a part of your everyday gear. It’s easy to carry several packs with you. Use them; clean your hands with them throughout the day. Don’t forget to clean your cell phone, computer, desktop, chairs and anywhere else this virus may be laying in-wait. Wipe down the handles of shopping carts.
6) If you are among those called out as more likely to be in-danger (older or with an ongoing problem such as heart problems or diabetes), take a step away from people. Not making contact or being exposed could be the difference in how this affects you.
7) Become more knowledgeable.
8) Expect information and the situation you face to change rapidly.
Don’t wait until a pandemic is called. Take steps now to prepare your family. That preparation starts by ensuring family members young and old know the latest news. Go to the Centers for Disease Control (cdc.gov) first. You can see current as well as past information and updates. You will also find information regarding alignment of National, State and Local responses with that of the World Health Organization (WHO).
9) If you have been following Practical Survival Blog, you are well ahead of most as far as preparation is concerned. For a refresher or if you haven’t read them already, please take time and read through the information I’ve posted. The following are some of the basic items I recommend you collect and securely store for disasters. Many of the items are applicable for a pandemic event.
Here’s a list of must-have items ensure your home is emergency ready and some that are just handy to have on hand with quick access.
Pandemic Preparedness Supplies
- Hand sanitizer. Enough to keep in your vehicles, home and to carry with you.
- Disinfectant wipes. Use on surfaces – including shopping cart handles, your cell phone, and your computer.
- Over the counter (OTC) medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen, allergy tablets, nausea medication, constipation & diarrhea medication.
- Prescription medications. Be prepared for at least two weeks; four weeks is even better. Don’t forget inhalers or medicine for animals.
- Gloves and masks.
- First Aid Kit.
- Basic supplies such as laundry soaps, toilet paper, hygiene items, hand soaps – enough for at least 2 weeks worth.
- Non-perishable food to last at least 2 weeks. Extra pet food supplies. At least enough pet food to last 2 weeks as well.
- You should also have a stock of water that provides a gallon per person per day, for five days. Don’t forget to include your pets when stocking up on water.
- Duct Tape
- Plastic Sheeting or tarps
Other Emergency Kit Supplies
- Create an emergency bucket for tools that is clearly identified as such is important.
- If you have cats or friends with cats, the plastic litter buckets with lids are handy. They are also food grade plastic, so you can store food in them. The ones that have scented litter may retain the smell of the scent and transfer it to food if not scrubbed thoroughly.
- A bug out bag for each family member
- Carbon monoxide alarm
- Automatic water heater shut-off valve or a pipe wrench next to the shut off valves and incoming utilities.
- A plastic container filled with simple emergency repair tools and supplies:
- Pry bar
- Heavy construction gloves
- Dust masks for the entire family for several days
- Flashlight(s) and extra batteries/lantern
- Glow sticks
- Battery-powered radio
- Hand-held manual can opener for food
- Plastic bags with ties
- Portable cell phone chargers
- Local maps
- A multi-tool
- Rope or paracord
- Special needs and other items
- An extra supply of prescription medication that you rotate regularly
- Extra glasses
- Hearing aid batteries
- Formula and diapers for infants
- A stash of cash
- Family information including health issues, insurance policies, bank accounts and emergency contacts (Keep these in plastic inside a metal container.)
- First aid book
- Thermal blankets or lightweight sleeping bag in the event you have to leave the premises
- Change of clothes for family members that provide extra protection (Protective long pants, sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes-Consider a thrift store for the purchase.)
- Matches in a waterproof container and source of heat/stove. It can be as simple as a homemade Sterno or alcohol can stove.
- Paper plates, cups, towels and plastic utensils or a mess kit for each family member
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Activities such as coloring books and puzzles for children
- Paper and pencil
- Litter box and extra litter if you have cats—potty pads for dogs
Remember: These are the basic items. This list was developed to provide some level of coverage for most common emergencies. Should a Corona Pandemic be declared, there isn’t an exact knowing of what will be required. No one knows how long it might last. The latest advice is for the elderly and those with some preexisting conditions is to stay home. As a better understanding of the corona virus emerges, the recommendations will likely change as well.
We have read that there is the expectation water and power will remain in service with a declared pandemic. I’ve also read it’s fine to go out in public at this time. Yet for us, there are many small changes to our normal practices. The items we have in-stock just in case (We already have the items above in anticipation for most emergencies.) are quick and easy to use. Given the current information, it implies we will be able to cook and have fresh running water. Our focus was on ease of use and to add items to round-out our food supplies.
• Peanut Butter – we’ve added enough new peanut butter to last for about 45-days.
• Saltine Crackers – We now have about 45 days for our family. Crackers and Peanut Butter are easy to make and they are a good energy pick-me-up. Most of all, the grandkids love them!
• Protein bars.
• Water – We added an additional supply of water. This is just in case there is a supply interruption. We always have a supply on hand.
• Sweet Treats – In this case, we’ve added several boxes of hard candy. Should we be isolated for a period of time, a small piece of candy is one way to make everyone feel just a little better about the situation.
• Frozen meat and frozen food. In addition to an assortment of frozen meats, we added fresh and frozen vegetables and berries. Several loaves of bread were added to the freezer. We will also be adding assorted canned goods to our already stocked pantry.
• N95 Masks: We ordered masks from two sources early in this event. So far one has delivered and one is late. These are increasingly difficult to get your hands on.
• We are delaying setting up a sick room. While we have everything assembled to create a quarantine room, we are delaying the actual assembly until we receive notice that we have reached pandemic status.
We are planning to stay home more and not go out into crowded public places. We are considering using grocery pick up or delivery as things progress. We are never without our hand sanitizer and sanitizer wipes. When we go into a store, we use our sanitizer wipes to clean off the handles of the cart. When we get back into our car, we use sanitizer again on our hands. Once we get home, we wash our hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. We try not to touch or rub our faces or eyes unless our hands are clean. Always cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. Clean hands afterwards. We are doing more ordering of items online. We are also taking steps to keep our immune systems healthy, such as adequate sleep, plenty of fluids, eating a balanced diet including plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit and several supplements.
I suggest everyone assemble emergency survival supplies. Start with food and water. It takes at least one gallon of water per day for each person. I also encourage you to have long-life survival food items in addition to a pantry filled with food. There would be nothing worse than misjudging how long you and your family would need to survive. That’s why we have long term stock of all types of food safely stored away. I focus on adding fruit, vegetables and meat items every year. We are on an automatic shipping program of long-term food supplies to ensure we add to the overall supply routinely throughout the year.
If you are adding items not on our list to your emergency supply, please let me know in the comments below.