In my survival planning I cover all possibilities. Considering my plan of attack should my home be threatened by wildfires. Tornadoes. Even flooding. But of all the likely scenarios, there's one that's perhaps the most frightening of all. A viral outbreak.
We see these again and again on television, everything from hordes of zombies to mysterious diseases that wipe out the majority of humanity. And it enthralls us, because even if we don't recognize it, we know there is a kernel of truth to the story. Well, perhaps not the zombies, but in my humble opinion a deadly viral outbreak is only a matter of time.
It's happened before.
In 1957 the Asian flu killed 14,000 people in the first six months in England, with a second wave that caused 69,800 deaths in the United States.
A little over 650 years ago the Black Plague wiped out half of all people in Europe. In 2017, it morphed and resurfaced in Madagascar, and took months to contain.
The Ebola virus that mutated in Africa in early 2014 caused 11,310 "reported" deaths, though the World Health Organization believes this number to be severely underreported.
In fact, the CDC has sent their team of specialists, doctors and quarantine personnel out 750 times in the last two years, responding to various health threats around the world.
If you're not considering a pandemic in your survival planning you're doing it wrong. Of all the different possibilities, this is the most likely to affect you. But I do have some good news, with the right approach, you can keep your family safe.
Get the basics in order
It all starts with your survival stockpile. If you've not got the food, water and gear on hand you need to live fully contained in your home, you're going to have a bad time once a crisis hits. Because you won't be able to hunker down and survive. You'll be risking your very life, your health, and even contamination, every time you venture out of your home in search of the supplies you need to keep your family alive.
It's not a good situation to be in, so make sure you've got at least three months' worth of food, water and supplies to get you through at least the initial stages of the outbreak. More is obviously better, and if you're building towards a year's worth of supplies you're definitely on the right track.
Bug out at the first signs of trouble
If you see any sign that something is wrong, whether it's whisperings in the community, odd local news coverage, or something that's not quite "right" you need to grab your bug out bag and get out. Once the CDC comes in and quarantine is set up you will no longer have the option. You need to bug out at the first signs of trouble, to ensure your family has the best chance of survival.
Because the goal of the government is to serve the greater good. They will sacrifice a town to save the state. They will sacrifice a state to save the country. And in none of these scenarios will your family come out on top. You need to look out for your own, and that means reacting fast when something is wrong. If you're mistaken, you can always come back after a nice little "holiday" at your bug out location. But not if you're dead.
Don't interact with other people
When a deadly virus is spreading you want to avoid all contact with people, because you probably don't know in these very early stages how it is being transmitted. And you sure as hell don't know who that person has been interacting with before you came across them, and whether or not they are infected themselves.
Again, this is where a remote cabin in the woods becomes a very smart plan, because by simply removing yourself from the crowds of people in the city, your chance of a person-to-person contamination drops significantly. In my humble opinion, you should hunker down and not interact with anyone. But if you do need to, ensure they stay at least 30 feet away, and downwind. Oh, and never open your door to the people knocking.
Wear the right protective gear
Once you start imagining what a doctor from the CDC looks like when they enter a quarantine zone, that's the kind of level of protection you want to achieve during an outbreak. At a minimum you want a N-95 respirator to stop yourself accidentally inhaling any pathogens, goggles to shield your eyes when you're venturing outside, and protective gloves so that you can keep your hands free of any bacteria or germs that could infect you.
Shield your home from the outbreak
Depending how the virus spreads, you may need to take steps to turn your home into a shield to ensure your family is breathing safe air. This is where plastic sheeting and duct tape comes in handy, as you will need to seal every possible crack, and space air can flow in.
But much like sticking a plastic bag on your head, pretty soon you will run out of oxygen and you will die. And that's where a shop vac running a HEPA filter comes in handy. Pulling the air from outside through the filter when the shop vac is running, the air is cleaned of any pathogens so you can breathe freely. Now I get this may be overkill, but until you know how the virus is spreading, shielding your home could be the step that keeps your family alive, and uninfected.
To me, a deadly viral outbreak is one of the scariest survival situations you will face, because the threat is microscopic. Invisible to the naked eye, you won't know until it's too late whether you've been infected or not. To survive, you need to act fast, ensure you minimize your contact with other people and any potential contaminants, bugging out and hunkering down until the threat has passed.