Swine Flu is gonna kill us all! Swine flu is going away! Swine Flu is man-made! Swine Flu is a natural mutation! Oh, we offended the pigs. It’s H1N1! Does anyone know what’s actually going on??? Does it matter? Whatever the truth is about this H1N1 (formerly known as Swine Flu) virus there is ONE THING we can each know for sure. Has the last week caused you to think very seriously about your Pandemic Preparedness? Have you reviewed and identified holes in your preps? Have you done something about it? Are you Ready for Anything?
Hopefully everyone has taken this opportunity to do just that - consider the possible worst situation, review your preps and fill holes. Whatever the truth of the situation is, we can all know for ourselves if we were ready and, if you weren’t, if you are ready now! Have you taken the time in the last week to consider just what Pandemic Preparedness means for you? We’ve presented a couple scenarios here on the site and offered some ideas for Pandemic Preps. Hopefully they’ve been helpful. Now I would like to explore deeper down the Preparedness Rabbit Hole with you - and wander the quarantine branches of Pandemic Preparedness.
What EXACTLY is the point of Pandemic Preparedness? What are we trying to protect ourselves from? The simplest answer I can come up with is: We’re trying to NOT get ourselves or our family sick. For each one of us this will mean something very different. Our family make-up, our home, the location of our home, our work, kids in school, church responsibilities, etc. I want to explain a bit about my status of all these things to put my prep ideas/plans in context.
Many of you know I have a 3 year old with Leukemia. This means her immune system is compromised. In her life we are actually already into a semi-quarantine; we practice social distancing, we are sensitive to germs, cleanliness, and sanitation. She is comfortable and used to wearing an N95 mask, we are always wary when someone around us is sick, we rarely take her in very public places, we wipe down (sanitize) shopping carts before we put her in them. Because of her situation, I have two primary goals in my Pandemic Preps. 1) Keep her from getting infected and 2)Keep any family members from infecting her. Here is the rest of my personal environment. I live in a 2 story house, the basement is designed as a separate apartment; there is a kitchen, laundry room and 3 bedrooms down there, with a separate outside entrance. I live in the country on 50 acres and there are very few people around us. I have 8 children, 7 of whom live at home.
So, your plan will need to be tailored to your situation, but now you can understand mine and hopefully this post will give you some ideas for your quarantine plans. The scenario I’m working with here is one of my kids (not Serenity, my Cancer Chic) getting sick or showing symptoms of being sick. Isolation of the sick person from Serenity (and the rest of the kids so it doesn’t spread) is the objective here.
The entire basement will immediately become the sick ward. The air vents, doorways and the upstairs entrance to the basement will be sealed off with 6 mil plastic to deter air flow. The window to the sick room will be open to allow fresh air circulation. I plan to get a UV Air filtration system to use in the basement as well. The sick person will be confined to a bedroom while in the house and will be allowed to play outside in a designated area that the other children will not be allowed to go to. The bathroom will become a decon room to dress and undress for entry into the sick rooms. The basement laundry room will be the only place the sick person and caretakers laundry will be done. All dishes used by the sick person will be washed in the sink downstairs. The sick person will be required to wear an N95 mask anytime someone is in the room with them, anyone going into the room will need full protective gear on (more on that in a minute). The sick rooms will be sanitized twice a day including changing and washing all linens on the bed. All paper trash (kleenexes, etc) that is able will be burned in our fire pit daily. All other trash will be collected into a garbage bags and disposed of twice daily. To make this quarantine plan work requires several specific preps.
In another post I discussed a couple methods of making your own sanitizer. I also have a lot of cleaning supplies stored up as part of my regular preps. You can see many of them in this picture.
When thinking about cleaning preps, be sure to consider that you’ll likely be cleaning several areas at least a couple times a day. You should have enough cleaner stored to handle doing this for at least a couple weeks to a couple months. Think about needing to sanitize all of the following more than once a day: floors, walls, linens, dishes, clothes, toys, toothbrushes, bodies, etc.
Pandemic Preparedness Gear
I previously posted about my personal and vehicle Pandemic Go-Kits and discussed the preps I’ve taken there. This next kit is another Go-Kit but is meant for being able to take care of someone sick whether you’re at home or bugged out somewhere else. Here is my Pandemic 72 hour kit:
From left to right, front to back, here are the contents:
- Front Row
- Replacement razor blades
- Sanitizer spray
- Razor blade knife
- Battery powered shaver
- P95 replacement cartridges
- 2nd Row
- Pack of 10 N95 masks with exhale valves
- Industrial gloves
- Shoe covers
- Tyvex chemical suit with hood (2)
- Back Row
- 3rd Tyvex Suit
- Face Shield
- P95 Respirator
- Lysol Disinfectant Wipes
- Alcohol Wipes
The knife and flashlight are tools that can be left in the contaminated area and used easily with bulky gear on. The shaver is to remove facial hair if needed so that masks can achieve a good face seal, it is specifically battery powered instead of electric/rechargeable in case power is not readily available. N95 masks are for the patient disinfectant wipes and spray are for the reusable mask and other gear and for wiping up in the sick room.
Here’s what this very unflattering gear looks like on:
This gear setup isn’t perfect - or final for that matter - and much of it was bought this last week. Yes, I was surprised to find that I was not properly prepared for a Pandemic but have made sure this week that I have the minimum of what I needed.
I plan to find and purchase several washable bio suits - I’m looking for ones with booties and a hood built into them. This is very close to what I’m looking for. Currently, the filters I have for my respirator are 95% (like N95) filters - meaning they miss 5%. I’m planning on getting N100 filters to replace them. I’ll be doing that in the next week or two. The critical part for me is that I have the minimum preps required to implement my plan.
More Mask Information
I also want to pass on some further information I found this week. By now we’ve all heard of N95 masks, what you may not have heard of yet are P95 and R95 masks. With mask supplies acting like ammunition lately N95 masks have become rather scarce. However, most hardware stores still have decent supplies in their painting and tool safety sections. What you’ll find there though are N95, P95 and R95 masks. When I first saw this I wasn’t sure what the other two were or if they would work for me. What I found out about NIOSH ratings is this: N = Not resistant to oil, R = Resistant to oil, P = oil Proof. The 95, 99 and 100 rating are the filtration levels. The prefixed letter is the oil filtration rating. What this means is that any Nx, Px, Rx rated mask will work for you as a pandemic filtration mask. 95% filters are good enough to get you home, but for in home care I want a 100% filter. Here’s a pdf that explains all this.
Hopefully this post will give you some good ideas for considering your own pandemic quarantine preps. Remember, the main thing to gain from the swine flu outbreak to this point is a good understanding of how well prepped you are for a Pandemic! Don’t miss Angela’s excellent post on avoiding Cabin Fever during quarantine!
Have you gained a new perspective on pandemic preps from the current outbreak? Have you considered quarantine preparedness?