>Pandemic Preparedness without panic

>I can’t prevent swine flu, or any other illness for that matter.
We have travel plans for the summer, Amigo has summer school/camp plans, and La Petite will be hopping on a plane for Italy in mid-May.
We’re not canceling anything.
We can, in the good Girl Scout way, Be Prepared.
If Amigo becomes ill, we’ll bring him home and isolate him. Swine flu hadn’t reached Italy yet last time I checked, and no cases had been confirmed in my area – yet. La Petite’s trip should be relatively uneventful. Our own trip is still in the planning stages: we might be wise to check cancellation policies on everything from Amtrak to hotels to flights.

In the meantime, I just went over the informational newsletter for Public Health volunteers. Most is consistent with the publicity in the newspapers and online. Stock up, take basic precautions to prevent germ spreading, etc.

Store a two-week supply of food. Okay, consider it done.
Select foods that do not require refrigeration, preparation or cooking. No preparation or cooking? Nothing spoil-prone, I get that point. But no cooking? Are we expecting the power to go out, too?
Plan for your pets as well. Done. I usually buy two bags of rabbit pellets and hay whenever I stock up. Their main food is hay, green veggies next, and pellets last. If we run out of fresh foods (and the neighbor’s dandelions are all eaten by the wild ones), our bunnies can eat pellets. They’ll be fine.
Store a two-week supply of water, 1 gallon of water per person per day, in clean plastic containers. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as milk cartons or glass bottles. This makes sense if there’s a hurricane or ice storm on the way, but a pandemic? Will swine flu prevent our water system from working? If worst comes to worst, I could boil what’s in the rain barrel. Oh, wait, that would require cooking and preparation (see above).

After sifting through the advice and visiting the Red Cross disaster preparedness site, here’s my plan:
Keep the pantry stocked. We keep a fair supply of canned and jarred food (and coffee, of course) along with basic baking goods. I can make everything from a chili to bread to a fruit cobbler with the contents of our pantry.
Water? I won’t store any extra. We keep plenty around the house in one form or another.
Keep bunny litter and food handy.
Stock up on firewood in case of….in case…oh, what the heck, just stock up on firewood.
Plant a garden! Fresh food! Little or no preparation! Bunny food, too! Now there’s motivation to start planting!

Can anyone answer my questions above? Would basic utilities be at risk in a pandemic? In 1918, the last killer pandemic flu, did the water supply get interrupted? Electricity? Gas? What do you think, knowledgeable readers?

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4 thoughts on “>Pandemic Preparedness without panic

  1. >Unless the pandemic is a water-born type thing, I can’t see that it would cause water to stop being available.

    Or power.

    That’s more like war time precautions.

    I really don’t understand why people are so freaked. I was more scared of the avian flu because there is actually no cure and it seemed much harsher than what I’ve read about the swine flu.

    Anyway, I think your plan for preparedness is reasonable for any event.

  2. >Thank you I needed a good laugh (not that there’s such a thing as a bad laugh). The no-cooking needed I thought might have been suggested in case you’re too sick to cook and need something easily consumable; but I agree with Angelina that it was a general preparedness message so take what you need and leave the rest.

  3. >I think the food and water precautions are in case there is a local epidemic and they shut down the grocery stores for a few days.

    I can’t imagine we would be without utilities.

  4. >I doubt utilities would be interrupted though it’s always good to be prepared for anything–if you had an earthquake that could certainly interrupt utilities so why not?

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