In todays globalized world the chance of a severe pandemic striking are high. Any form of pandemic is survivable – if you and your family are prepared. Preparing for a pandemic involves following a few not so simple steps ;).

Step 1: Prepare Supplies

All pandemics will end, the key is to be able to survive in a quarantine environment until it does.  This could be up to 3 months!  So you need to store enough supplies to avoid going shopping for this time.  There may be a quarantine in place, or because of supply disruptions the stores may be empty.  Because of this a key part of your preparation includes storing at least 3 months of food and water.  This includes a water filter so you can purify water as required.  Other things to consider are storing enough drugs (prescription, nonprescription) and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.  Plan on dealing with infected people and stock up on rubber gloves, N-95 masks, plastic sheeting, duct tape, and clorox.

Planning for a pandemic is just common sense. Scientist warn that in the event of any pandemic it could be six months or more before a vaccine can be manufactured. What will you do in this time lag?

Something critical that some people do not want to think about is the importance of self protection. Depending on where you live this could be the difference between life and death. How many people do you know that have stored adequate supplies for a pandemic? What will these people do when their meager supplies run out? If home invasions are increasing now because of the economy, what will happen during a pandemic? Better to prepare for events that don’t happen then to not prepare and have them occur.

Step 2: Prepare a Plan

  • Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what will be needed to care for them in your home.
  • Volunteer with local groups to prepare and assist with emergency response.
  • Get involved in your community as it works to prepare for an influenza pandemic.

Step 3: Education

Step 4: Prepare your kit

Required preparation items include:

  • Water: Water storage and filtering is critical for your health and survival and a more complete description of it is here.
  • Food: Food is important because without it you get hungry and very irritable. In an pandemic electricity may go out because of lack of service personal, transportation of food supplies could also be affected for the same reason. You should have at least 3 months of food on hand in order to avoid human contact until the pandemic burns itself out. More details on food are found here.
  • First aid supplies: In any disaster the medical establishment will be overwhelmed with the injured. This will be worse in a pandemic. Hospitals are not a safe place to go if you can avoid it. There tends to be lots of sick people in hospitals (duh). You might need to treat non-life threatening injuries yourself or risk going to the hospital and catching whatever virus is causing the pandemic.

Important items include:

  • Power supply: in any disaster the power could go out and be off for several days. How will you recharge your cell phone? What about batteries for your flashlights? More detailed information about power is here.
  • Light: Everyone will want their own light. Expect your loved ones to have flashbacks and panic attacks after for days after the earthquake. Light is very comforting and will help the children find you when they are having a bad night.
  • Stove: You have stored food – how will you cook it? If you need to boil water how will you do so? Having a stove could be really handy because even canned food tastes better warm then cold from the can.

Optional items include: Sleeping bag, tent, and fire starter.


Step 5: Prevent Infection
Limit the spread of germs and prevent infection by following these guidelines:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
  • If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness. Yes I know, your mother always taught you to share, but a pandemic is one of those things you really should not share with others, unless it is with someone you don’t like ;).
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
  • Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food (sorry, but twinkies are NOT nutritious food).



News and Information:

Recent Outbreaks (from CDC)

FEMA Pandemic page
Pandemic preparedness information and training from PandemicPreparedness.org.

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