Pandemics generally occur three times each century. In the last century we had the Asian flu in 1957 which killed 4 million people in the US. In 968 the Hong Kong flu killed 6 million Americans, and in 1918 the Spanish Flu killed over 40 million people in the US alone. What does this mean to you? Well, health experts around the world speculate that the bird flu very well could be the next pandemic, but even if it's not, we will have a flu pandemic, and it's wise to prepare now.
What does preparing for a flu pandemic involve? Health department officials in my community have assured me that all public schools will be closed as soon as a case of flu pandemic is confirmed on U.S soil. Our city will be quarantined, meaning all nonessential workers will be asked to stay home and limit activities. No public meetings, including church, social, and civic meetings will be held. This quarantine will last anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months.
During this time, it is estimated that there will be some utility interruption due to workers being absent and other complications due to the flu. Hospitals will certainly fill and doctors' offices will be overrun. There is a possibility that hospitals will close. The likelihood that trucks and other transport services will be running regular schedules is very low, as drivers and operators will surely be affected by the flu and supplies will be interrupted.
If a flu as severe as the Spanish flu of 1918 hits us, it is estimated that 30% of Americans will get sick (40% of school age kids), that's about 90 million people. Depending on the severity of the disease, anywhere from 200 thousand to 200 million people will die.
Therefore, the government is advising that all of us prepare disaster supplies especially including water, food, and plans to communicate with loved ones should phone service be disconnected. How much food do you need? With a quarantine estimated at 2 weeks to three months, start with 2 week's worth, move toward 3 month's worth as you can. Remember, supplies used with sick people will certainly be in short supply. Keep extra tissues, hand soap, paper towels, hand sanitizer, cold and flu medicines, cleaner and disinfectant, and masks on hand.
I know this preparation sounds overwhelming. But when I think about the implications, and the importance of keeping my family home during a flu pandemic, I can find the motivation.
You must start with water. Over the next month, buy enough cases of bottled water to supply each member of your family with a gallon of water for three days.
As for food, start with 5 meals that your family will eat that can be prepared from non-perishable food items. Easy dinners that come to my mind are spaghetti, macaroni and cheese (made with powdered milk), canned soup, Mexican food made with corn tortillas, and canned beans and salsa. Tuna fish and crackers will keep, as will the ingredients to make pancakes. Write down these 5 meals. Write down the necessary ingredients. Multiply everything by 3 (so you have 15 meal's worth), and make a shopping list. If money is tight, spread out the list over the next month or two, and soon you will have two week's worth of food on hand.
About the Author: