You just never know when a virus will turn into a pandemic …. watching the infectious disease news feeds at KA9OFF.com can give us some advance notice but that still may not be enough time to gather the items we would need to weather an outbreak. That is why we have assembled a kit and formulated a strategy ahead of time. Even though I am not a medical professional, it didn’t take too much time to learn how a hospital prepares for pandemic and to understand how their equipment is designed and used to isolate an infectious patient and prevent transmission to the staff.
Our household has decided to use isolation as our main defense against a viral pandemic. That was a successful strategy during the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak and it is the easiest for us. This is fairly easy for us to do since it’s just my wife and I. A portable and temporary “positive pressure” ventilation system was built and is ready to be put into use should it be needed.
Our “Plan B” preps include the likelihood that someone in our home has become infected and proper medical care is not available. We have designed our preps to mimic the basic steps that the hospitals use when dealing with infected individuals. This includes:
- Proper instruction and personal protection for the caregiver. We’ve stocked masks, gloves, goggles, disposable coveralls and hand sanitizer. Everyone involved is trained in using the equipment, especially in the use of a respirator mask (LINK to Training Instructions).
- A well ventilated “sick room” in our home that can be shut off from the rest of the home’s ductwork. A bedroom with windows on 2 walls is our standby hospital room. It has two easily sealed air ducts in it and a hard wood floor that can be cleaned and disinfected.
- Meds and equipment necessary to keep the infected person as comfortable as possible. OTC flu meds and anti-diarrheals are kept on hand. Heater, window fan, thermometer, bedpan, etc.
- Necessary supplies to contain and dispose of infectious waste. Surgical masks, Trash bags, waterproof mattress covers, rags, laundry detergent, etc. We’re prepared to dispose of everything in the room, including the carpet, if necessary.
- Disinfection of solid surfaces. Bleach and the “old school” Lysol concentrate are the only items we keep on hand to clean hard surfaces.
A note about masks:
It’s fairly simple to find the supplies BEFORE an outbreak. Masks were kind of hard to find during the last Swine Flu scare, so I’d recommend getting some now if you don’t have them already.
There is a difference between surgical masks and disposable respirators.
Ideally, respirators with exhaust valves are preferred for anyone that is NOT infected. N95 masks that are NIOSH approved should be the minimum quality kept on hand. NIOSH approved N97 or N100 are even better. Here is a list of NIOSH approved masks: LINK
Surgical masks are simple, loose fitting, covers for the nose and mouth. They are designed to catch aerosols that EXIT the body. These are the masks that the governments and hospitals hand out to the public during a pandemic. They do a good job of catching mucous and saliva droplets leaving the body but offer little or no protection against particles entering the nose or mouth. These are very inexpensive and we’ve stocked several boxes.
The masks and coveralls and other specific items are kept in their own Rubbermaid tote.
With these preps and our other basic essential preps, we feel about as ready for a pandemic as we could possibly be.