A couple nights ago I began thinking about what catastrophes might occur that would affect my loved ones and me. Some on my list might happen because of where we live, while others could happen anywhere. BTW, I live in the Midwest.
Earthquake – relatively close to New Madrid Fault
Tornado – not far from tornado alley
Snow & Ice – last winter was a doozy
EMP and/or Solar Flare
Civil Unrest – 100 miles from Ferguson
Power Grid Collapse
Marshal Law – could be imposed locally or nationwide depending on how wide spread the catastrophe is
Personally, the ones that are man-made concern me the most. And a Pandemic probably strikes the most fear in my heart. Not only can a pandemic be spread by animals and of course, human to human, but one could be intentionally initiated by one of several enemies around the world that hate our country.
I am a volunteer in our county’s EMA (Emergency Management Agency), which is affiliated with our state agency and FEMA. I will relate some things I have observed and been a part of later in this article.
First let me say that I am in awe of first responders. They often put their lives on the line to help others in many different types of emergencies. We have seen this time and time again all over our great country, and I have witnessed how they train for any event that might happen. But, in a pandemic their effectiveness might be hindered by the lack of enough protective garments to go around etc.
Next the affected populace needs to be transported to a hospital or medical center for treatment. How prepared are these facilities to handle a pandemic? According to a Senate Report and other medical watch dog groups online, hospital medical errors are the third leading cause of death (behind heart disease and cancer) in the U.S. with casualty estimates ranging from 98,000 to over 400,000. And this is without dealing with a pandemic. Below are 2 of the websites that I found, there were others.
My EMA group monitors and sometimes participates as casualties for disaster drills in our area. One was a chemical spill. Casualties were brought to a local hospital. For quite a while, the staff could not locate the outside water spigot or the electrical outlet for the mobile decontamination trailer.
During a tornado drill at another local hospital, one of the casualties was left in a front waiting area and not found until the drill was completely over.
The above 2 episodes occurred when everyone on board, including the hospital staff, knew well ahead of time what was going to happen, and planned accordingly. From those 2 experiences, I can’t imagine the unfolding chaos during a real life scenario.
Although the trainings did not go exactly as scripted, weaknesses were discovered and discussed during the hot washes (after event feedbacks to evaluate performance) so that steps could be taken to improve future performances.
Regarding the 2 scenarios, my intent was not to criticize anyone, but just emphasizing how difficult it might be to handle a real life pandemic catastrophe.
After each exercise, I asked each hospital administrator if their facility was equipped to handle an ebola outbreak. Both said no, and that there were no such facilities anywhere near where I live. Wake up call!
So I did some research. According to
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/inside-the-4-u-s-biocontainment-hospitals-that-are-stopping-ebola-video/ , as of 10/24/14, there were only 4 ebola equipped hospitals in the United States.
They are as follows:
National Institute of Health: Bethesda, MD – 4 rooms – 7 beds
Emory University Hospital: Atlanta, GA – 2 patient rooms
Saint Patrick Hospital: Missoula, MT – 3 rooms – 3-6 patients
University of Nebraska: Omaha, NE – Just says unit exists
You can go to: http://www.nebraskamed.com/app_files/pdf/biocontainment/ebolappechecklist.pdf for steps to put on and remove personal protective equipment correctly, plus a list of equipment and supplies needed.
I also found that 51% of U.S. hospitals had 1 or none infection prevention experts on staff.
One government goal is to have as many as 35 more ebola equipped hospitals up and running as soon as possible. But we all know how efficient our government is.
So, basically, right at 100% of us are out of luck at the moment. Makes me wonder how our medical infrastructure would handle other wide spread infectious outbreaks: SARS – Smallpox etc.
The 4 equipped hospitals use various preventive measures, like rooms with filtered (HEPA) negative air flow, but agree that the most important asset is training and more training at medical facilities, and also especially in the family home.
Some things I have been or will be doing to prepare include:
1. See if my meds have other uses – my depression med was originally used as a pain killer (of course, don’t exceed recommended dosages).
2. I have been using ASAP 10 liquid Silver Solution on a regular basis. I have found that it seemed to have shortened a bout I had with the achy-chills I get every couple years. I was back on my feet feeling pretty good after 24 hours. Usually takes me 2-3 days to get to this point. I also purchased a colloidal silver generator ( runs on a 9 volt battery) in case I can’t purchase the product.
Also, my wife and I use ASAP 365 Silver Gel. It has cut down the healing time on wounds and eliminates canker sores rather quickly. We both have skin tags (warts etc.). The gel actually removes them, but takes a few to several applications on some.
Disclaimer: I am not endorsing ASAP products for use by anyone else. You all need to research and come to your own conclusions about using any silver products!!
3. I have stocked up on N-95 masks, nitrile rubber gloves, and goggles. I plan to get some protective gowns, head gear, and foot protection in the near future.
4. I’m going to research and find out easiest and best way to make an isolation room in my and my sons’ homes.
5. I hope to move to a more rural area in the near future.
6. I am taking steps to boost my immune system including more exercise, getting a sufficient amount of sleep, eating foods high in antioxidants, vitamins c and a, omega 3, and selenium; and eating more garlic, drinking green tea, and trying to remove as much stress as I can from my life. I am also encouraging the rest of my family to do the same.
7. We have enough food, water, scripted and common over the counter meds for at least a month.
From my experiences and research, it looks like it’s up to individuals and like-minded groups to handle pandemics on their own, at least at the present time!
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