Pandemic Preparedness without panic
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? Stumble It!