The emergence of Coronavirus/COVID-19 has shown that the outbreak of a seemingly minor virus can quickly spread through human-to-human transmission, leading to its progression into a global pandemic.
Having taken many people across the nation— along with government entities— by surprise, citizens were forced to rush preparation in the face of the pandemic. Anyone who has gone grocery shopping has felt the effects of what this rushed preparation has caused: product shortages and sheer panic.
Scientific forecasts estimate that this will not be the last pandemic we’ll see in the next few decades and it might even become more common than we expect. To ensure you and your family are prepared for any catastrophe, whether it is a pandemic, hurricane or even a blackout, it’s important you have all the necessary emergency essentials.
While government organizations need to do a better job at responding to and mitigating transmissions to lessen effects on the safety of their citizens and economy, there are steps you can take to prepare just the same.
Here are some considerations you should take to heart. They’ll help you prepare before the next pandemic comes along.
Make an Emergency Plan
Prior to the oncoming of the next pandemic, you should take time to consider and evaluate the following scenarios:
• Decide who will be the head of your household in a pandemic— i.e. Who will go grocery shopping and run errands when necessary. This should be a member of your family who does not have prior conditions that would make them more susceptible.
• Determine what transportation and communication will look like between your family. Set strict guidelines that limit face-to-face interactions to assert maximum safety precautions.
• Make sure family members are regularly in contact with one another through digital communication. This is one of the easiest ways to guarantee that all members of your family are safe and healthy. It also provides a necessary means of reaching out for help if someone were to get sick.
• Keep an eye on local healthcare options: your primary care physician might not be available and you don’t want to be sitting in a packed urgent care facility with many other sick individuals. Research your local options and have phone numbers on-hand.
Consider What Will Happen With Work
As we’ve seen now, many businesses have been rocked by the onset of COVID-19, either shutting their doors or having employees work from home. The response to this crisis has been rushed, so it’s likely that your business will implement plans for similar scenarios to come in the future. But if not, here are some considerations:
• Don’t go to work unless you have to. This means working remotely, no matter what your boss or management team might say. This is the primary way to protect yourself and our coworkers.
• Read up on your employer’s sick-leave and telecommuting policies so you know the rules as they are defined for you— they can be used to protect you and guide your decisions.
• Start a discussion with your coworkers about laying out a set of pandemic business rules if your company does not already have a plan established. Don’t be afraid to take initiative for your own safety.
Emergency Essentials to Have in Your Home
While you can plan elsewhere in your life, it’s imperative that you have a plan set in store for your home. Beyond creating an emergency plan within your family, you need to set aside time to collect necessary supplies to protect you from the potential health hazards outside your front door.
To guarantee you have everything you need, it’s a good idea to prepare a checklist that can be looked over. Items should include essentials such as non-perishable food, water, and first aid.
However, you shouldn’t forget about the possibility of your home being affected by a power outage or the frequency of garbage collection being lessened. You’ll want to consider items that can meet such scenarios as well, solely to maintain your overall health.
Non-perishable food for long-term storage
1. Emergency food kits: containing a variety of the foods listed below, these can provide anywhere from a month to a year’s worth of food supplies.
2. Canned proteins: beans, tuna, chicken, turkey.
3. Canned fruits, vegetables, and soups.
4. Protein bars, whether whey-based or plant-based, depending on diet.
5. Dry cereal, grains, and granola.
6. Nuts, nut butters, and trail mixes.
7. If you have a young child, baby formulas, or jarred baby food.
Useful tools and items
8. A can opener.
9. A flashlight and batteries.
10. An emergency radio for communication if cell signals drop.
11. Garbage bags.
12. Toilet paper and tissues.
13. Tampons and other feminine products.
14. Pet food and litter— if you have cats.
15. Water purifiers and emergency water storage supplies.
16. Extra cash, in case anything were to happen to banks.
17. Any specialized supplies needed for certain family members, whether due to a medical condition, disability, or age.
Health and Safety Supplies
18. Extra bottles of prescribed medications and medical supplies, if you are legally allowed to be in possession of multiple at a time— some anti-anxiety medications, which can be addictive, are not allowed to be prescribed in multiple refills at once.
20. A thermometer.
21. Disinfectant wipes, such as Clorox wipes.
22. Disinfectant sprays, such as Lysol.
23. Hand sanitizers.
24. Fever-reducers and pain-relievers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
25. Throat lozenges.
26. Cough syrup.
27. Electrolyte-based fluids to rehydrate if illness onsets.
28. Diarrhea remedies.
Do what you can to stay healthy and minimize transmission
While you can stock your home with emergency essentials to prepare a proper response to the next pandemic, you should consider taking all necessary steps possible to reduce your chances of getting sick and transmitting that illness— even something as minor as the common cold.
Basic tips you should follow throughout the year include:
• Practicing social distancing if you’re sick.
• Regularly clean your hands when out in public, either by thoroughly washing them or by the application of a 70%-or-above alcohol-based sanitizer.
• Covering your mouth when sneezing or coughing, preferably with the inside of your elbow, and encouraging others to do the same.
• Sanitizing high-use areas of contact, such as door handles and countertops, to limit the possibility of viral transmission.
While you can take steps towards lessening the spread of illness, you can’t do it alone. Lead by example and help others treat public health issues with respect and care.