In recent weeks, we have all been bombarded with mainstream news reports about the Ebola virus. Most of those reports indicate that we have nothing to worry about.
Alas, as preppers and survival types, we worry about pandemics and runaway viruses, along with the myriad of other disasters and disruptive events that may occur at some point down the road.
Many of you may remember the book festival author, FJ Bohan. He and I have stayed in touch and as it turns out, he has become a friend of my site, Backdoor Survival on many fronts. He is someone who has walked the walk when it comes to living the preparedness lifestyle, so when he has something to say, I listen.
With Ebola in the news, Frank has written to me about something we all should be concerned with, namely how to safely shelter in place during a pandemic. What he has to say is important because while we may be familiar with the need for plastic sheeting and duct tape when sheltering in place, what about fresh, filtered air?
An Open Letter from FJ Bohan: How to Shelter in Place During a Pandemic
Dear Gaye and Backdoor Survival readers:
The concerning events of the last few months have had me thinking about writing you.
There are many threats to U.S. citizens in the news. Ebola, along with nearly every third-world disease we as a nation had eliminated decades ago, is back at our door and infiltrating the nation as the masses of illegal immigrants are (transported by our own government), reaching every corner of the country.
Meanwhile, the CDC is busy issuing guidelines to hospitals and mortuaries detailing how to handle Ebola patients and the proper disposal of bodies, but it has yet to announce whether or not Ebola is now an airborne pathogen.
It is for these reasons I fear there may well be a pandemic coming our way soon.
I want to let you and those who follow your website know how to protect themselves and their loved ones should a pandemic crisis come to their neighborhood.
If, indeed, Ebola (or any other virus) is airborne (spread through the air/breathing), isolation is the only true protection. Difficult choices will have to be made by anyone in an area that is infected. Once it has been decided to stay home from work and shelter in place until the pandemic passes the community, protecting the home will be the next step.
Having stored food, water, and other living essentials already at home may prove to be a lifesaver. Imagine taking your vacation leave in order to protect your family, only to catch the virus while standing at the checkout counter of the grocery store?
In neighborhoods with confirmed cases of infection, filtering your air might be the only thing that prevents you from acquiring the virus.
In my book, Emergency Air for Shelter-In-Place Preppers and Home-Built Bunkers, I detail how to take a regular wet/dry vac along with a HEPA filter and convert them into an air filter for the home/shelter/bunker.
Of course, I want everyone to buy my book which covers much more and in greater detail, but everyone needs to know this information.
By using a shop-vac type vacuum (purchased virtually anywhere) along with a HEPA filter that fits the unit and by following the FEMA guidelines for shelter-in-place (using plastic sheeting and duct tape to seal a room or shelter), anyone can make a flow-room, of sorts, to protect them self from airborne viruses.
By drawing air from outside of the sealed room and running it through the HEPA filter, the vacuum’s exhaust port will be blowing filtered air into your room. Airborne contaminants will be contained in the vacuum (see my book for details of how to seal the vacuum).
Even though viruses are smaller in size than the HEPA can filter, they (viruses) generally lack the mass to penetrate the electro-static shield formed over the filter as air flows through it.
I would advise sealing an inner room of the home and drawing air with the vacuum/filter from an adjacent room.
Stay home and indoors.
Do not open your doors to infected people.
Remember to run the vacuum/filter for 10 minutes every half hour and allow a small opening near the floor for CO2 to escape into the adjacent room while the vacuum is running. This will keep the sealed room’s air supply fresh.
NOTE: Failing to run the vacuum or failing to use the system at all will see everyone dead from suffocation!!! Sealing a room without a filtered air system is just like putting a plastic bag over your head. You will run out of breathable air! Do not follow any FEMA sealed-room instructions without using a filtered air supply!!!
I know, Gaye, you have read my book and realize how important this issue is. Please feel free to share this letter of concern with your readers.
How to Stay Safe in Pandemic?
Sheltering in place is not difficult. In the simplest of terms, you take some duct tape and plastic sheeting, add some ventilation and and seal yourself up in a room.
Just don’t forget that you will also need some emergency air as well a food, water, lighting and amusement (games, puzzles, reading material) to get you through the sheltering period.
The Final Word
In our effort to be prepared, it is easy to overlook some of the basics. Having clean, filtered air during a pandemic can be coupled with protective face masks thus assuring that you will be as safe as you can be.
For more information about hunkering down safely during a pandemic or really, at any other time you need to stay put, be sure to read Preparing to Hunker Down in Place and Surgical Masks for the Survival Kit.
Want to know more? Check out these related articles:
- Stay Clean, Stay Healthy, Survive
- Top 5 Diseases During SHTF
- Drinking Water for Survival | 8 Reasons Why It’s Important
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Editor's Note: This article was originally published on October 10, 2014, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.