Bugging Out During a Pandemic
Ebola is on everyone’s mind and along with the virus itself, comes the possible impacts on a community or you personally. People may worry that cities, private homes, businesses and apartment complexes will be placed under quarantine or that Martial Law will go into effect in some areas of the country. People fear being trapped essentially in their own homes or communities. These are all concerns that no one can address, because in reality no one knows what the impacts will actually be.
Should You Bug Out and When
You would have to be outside the city limits before the city enacted quarantines or any type of curfew. Martial Law is a possibility in extreme cases as well. You could be stopped and ordered to return if you do not evacuate quickly enough. This means you need to be informed, and be ready to react quickly to any pertinent information, to get ahead of any obstacles that could prevent your leaving. Information (intelligence gathering) will be one of your greatest assets during a pandemic.
Assume and prepare to bug-out on foot until you know you can leave in a vehicle with a reasonable expectation of actually getting clear of the city. The downside to bugging-out in a vehicle is mechanical failure, blocked roadways and/or governmental checkpoints. If you have packed your vehicle full then you do stand a chance of losing those supplies. Regardless you should always have a bug-out bag to carry with you if you do have to abandon your vehicle for whatever reason.
It is a paradox, because to ensure you could get out of the city, you would essentially have to leave before anything has happened.
Occurrences that could cause you to bug-out may be news of Martial Law, mass quarantines, or a suspected outbreak near you, or even news of certain types of curfews. Typically, you would not hear of such things beforehand, but officials leak information to news outlets on a regular basis, particularly so during a crisis, so you do have to pay attention to the news. Try to authenticate any information you do get before acting upon it however.
Err on the side of caution may be what some are thinking, but on the other hand bugging-out is not to be taken lightly, and bugging-out aside from the crisis itself is dangerous.
Inventory your bug-out-bag, verify expiration dates on your medical supplies, and add additional items for disinfecting yourself and equipment. Bleach would be difficult to pack because of its corrosive nature and weight. Bottled rubbing alcohol can be used along with alcohol wipes and it is important that you check the dates on any wipes. Have plenty of clean cloth for wiping down gear with the rubbing alcohol. Bar soap is ideal as well, and if cut up into pieces you can use a single piece and discard if you suspect contamination. This keeps you from having to discard the entire bar of soap.
Alcohol based hand sanitizer will also work for your hands and arms. Double the amount of medical gloves you have in your kit and make sure they are quality gloves. This is not the time to try to save a few pennies on lesser quality medical items. Use the gloves whenever you are handling any materials in which you do not know the origin.
Add more “extra large” garbage bags and make sure they are heavy duty ones. They can be used as ad hoc protective gowns. Not ideal, but some protection is better than no protection. Gallon sized baggies (Ziploc) bags can be used as protective cover for your footwear and small baggies can be used as emergency hand protection as well. Use twine or some other light cordage to secure the bags around your ankles. Once done cut the cordage with your knife instead of trying to untie using your hands, and then step out of the bags without touching them. Disinfect the knife blade before closing or touching using alcohol wipes.
Do not remove any protective gear without hand protection and remove your gloves by pulling off inside out to protect your hands. Once the gear is removed, do not touch any part of your body with your hands before thoroughly washing with soap and water or cleaning with alcohol.
According to experts, Ebola is not airborne in the sense that cold and flu viruses are. However, you have to assume if an infected person sneezes or coughs then the droplets (bodily fluid) produced could be airborne for several feet and that the droplets could, (stress could) linger in the air for a few minutes. The facts are not clear on this point. What does all this have to do with bugging out however?
When you do bug-out you will be in contact with people undoubtedly on the streets and highways, so it is important to know how the virus is transmitted from one person to another. We all have heard enough about bodily fluids. Avoid physical contact with any person is the easy answer period, physical in the sense of no hugging, kissing, handshakes or fights.
Avoid any discarded materials such as blankets, clothing, shoes, and hats and so on. Do not forage for materials as you evacuate during a pandemic, because you simply do not know if the items may be infected.
Items critical to your survival when you have to bug-out during a pandemic will be water and cleaning supplies, along with certain protective gear for the body and hands to include face masks or respirators.
Clean water is critical during a disease outbreak, so make sure you have the means to filter and purify water sources along your route. You cannot carry enough water for an extended period. Practically speaking a three-day supply is all you can carry, and this is usually just enough for hydration, so being able to filter and purify water is essential.