This is a guest post by Bam Bam
I started writing this article as a mind mapping exercise. I had written, “This is a test. This is only a test.” I wrote out the day’s developments of H7N9 and my dh got concerned. As you will read below, the CDC has placed U.S. hospitals on alert for H7N9. Minnesota has issued a health alert—they have sent samples from patients who have symptoms of H7N9 to the lab for testing. This has made him uncomfortable and we are off to Walmart and Sam’s Club to shore up our preps.
The purpose of this “test” is to help you fill holes in your preps. So what is S.I.P.D.E.? This is something my dh learned in motorcycle school as taught by a police officer.
- S Scan
- I Identify
- P Predict
- D Determine
- E Execute
For example, I am approaching an intersection on my motorcycle. (This is my dh speaking right now.) As the light turns yellow, I scan the scene: forward, to the left, to the right, and rearview mirrors. Then I identify objects and events in my environment. To my left, a car is backing out of a driveway. The driver is elderly. To my right, a small child is playing ball on the sidewalk. I then predict potential hazards (accidents). The elderly driver may not see me and may pull out directly in my path; the child will probably stay on the sidewalk but if that ball goes in the street, the child may run into the street to retrieve it. Before these events even happen, I determine what I will do. Will I swerve, honk the horn or brake? In the case of the elderly driver, the horn is probably useless as the driver probably will not hear it. These protocols allow me to execute immediately. I will immediately brake while keeping an eye on the elderly driver backing out of his driveway; I will honk my horn to get the attention of the small child to alert him that there is an oncoming vehicle.
Let us apply this approach to H7N9. We begin by scanning the situation. As of this writing, there have been 102 cases with 21 deaths. There are no confirmed cases outside China. An international team of influenza experts arrived in China late last week to help Chinese officials determine the source of the virus. They have not yet determined how people are getting sick. The CDC has put U.S. hospitals on alert. According to Flu Trackers, Minnesota has issued a health alert for the new flu; they began testing patients who fit the CDC’s description of H7N9. We likely have 24 hours before the results of these tests become public knowledge.
Next, we identify potential hazards. H7N9 may be here in America, here in my neighborhood. We have a friend who paid $8000 for a trip to China. The lady who lives across the street travels to China and Hong Kong regularly on business trips. They check the mail at the same kiosk of mailboxes that we do. Flu can survive on nonporous surfaces for eight hours. Our neighbor to the left is an emergency room nurse.
Tomorrow’s paper may report the first cases of H7N9 in the U.S. The general populous may ignore these reports. Or panic may set in. We need to predict what people and institutions are going to do. There may be a run on grocery stores. Shelves may be emptied of essential items like bleach, flu medicine and respirator masks. Gas stations may run out of gasoline. If cases of H7N9 multiplying exponentially, authorities may order the public to shelter in place. Schools may shut down. Public transit may shut down. Grocery stores and gas stations may shut down. Think Boston. Not just for a day. But for six months.
Be grateful that you have been paying attention. You have 24 hours or perhaps even days before the general public is made aware of the situation. You need to determine now what you are going to do if those samples from Minnesota come back positive. My dh is a little disturbed by the possible cases in Minnesota and he has determined that both vehicles and his motorcycle need to be gassed up.
Last night he asked me if we had everything on hand we would need if we went on lockdown for six months. I took a deep breath, and then began an inventory. I came up with a list of things we would need. This morning he determined that we would take money out of savings and go shopping to get everything on the list. (We will use everything on this list anyway, so I am not concerned that we are jumping the gun.)
We are good in most areas but we need more acetaminophen. (Walmart was out of the big bottles last time I went shopping.) We have scripts that need to get filled. We need to stop by the local produce store to pick up raw honey. We need to bring our supplies of pet food up to six months. I have gone through all our preps and we need dish soap and napkins, tampons and cat litter.
Well, my dh is back from the gas station. I need to take a shower so we can execute our plans. Now do I think we need to get everything done today? I think we have more time to get our preps in order. But my dh has made up his mind. It is better to be prepared and not need the preps than to need and not have.
Here’s the question for the Pack. If you had 24 hours before H7N9 created a public panic, what would you need to do to fill holes in your preps?
Do you have enough ingredients to make laundry soap? Do you have enough cat litter? Do you have enough feminine hygiene products? Do you have enough prescription medication to last you for six months? What do you need to do today to get your family ready? Please share your thoughts below.