The Plague is Back? What Do You Need to Know?

What comes to mind when you think of “The Plague”? A few months ago you probably thought that it was a long lost, eradicated disease that killed hundreds of thousands of people a long time ago. However, as a resurgence of the disease hit Madagascar in November, we all realized that we are never completely safe from diseases we thought were gone.

Is The Plague truly a threat? And if so, what do you need to know about it?

Is The Plague Truly a Threat?
The easy answer to this question is no, not today. It seems that it’s been contained to Madagascar. While nine other East African countries were threatened due to trade, no cases were found off the island. Also, while over 200 people were killed out of 2300+ people who were affected, that number peaked, leaving new cases pretty minimal today. That’s the short answer.
The long answer is, yes, possibly yes.  Yes, the disease was contained and treated. However, in a time of world travel and world trade, you can never discount the possibility of the spread of any disease. So here’s the information you need.

How Does The Plague Even Start?
The Plague originates from a flea that carries a bacteria called Yersinia pestis from dead animals to live animals or humans. The bacteria enter the bloodstream, causing the infection.

Types of Plague
Bubonic Plague– The infection is localized to the lymph glands and ducts.  Within a week fever, vomiting, and headaches occur as lymph glands swell and become painful. Eventually, extremities develop gangrene due to lack of blood supply. If left untreated by antibiotics, there is a 90% mortality rate.
Pneumonic Plague – The organism infects the lungs. This form is the most dangerous form because it can be spread from human to human. It still has the original source (flea bite), but can be transmitted by microdroplets from breathing, coughing, sneezing or through mucus. This infection causes coughing, eventually coughing up blood and ultimately, respiratory and circulatory failure. There is a 100% mortality rate if left untreated by antibiotics.
Septic Plague– The infection spreads to the blood. This can cause super-infections that can shut down organs, also causing death.

Prevention
Again, there are no known cases outside of Madagascar, so there is no indication that there is a definite threat. However, for precautionary purposes, there are some things you can do to prevent infection.
1- Invest in particulate masks. When traveling keep a mask close by. If you notice extreme coughing, wear the mask. Even if you aren’t concerned about the Plague, other respiratory diseases can easily be transmitted in airplanes, trains, etc.
2-  Check with your doctor/pharmacy to ensure they have easy access to the antibiotics Streptomycin and Tetracycline, which have been proven to treat the infection. If administered within 24 hours of the infection, chances of survival are significantly greater. If a pandemic ever occurs, you need to make sure you have access to the appropriate medications. There is no immunization so treatment is the best option.

Luckily the risk for a Plague pandemic was localized and minimized fairly quickly.  However, it was a good reminder that we are not immune to diseases we thought were eradicated.

Sources:

http://www.who.int/csr/don/27-november-2017-plague-madagascar/en/

http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/13/health/plague-madagascar-decline/index.html

Individual Preparedness

As disasters continue to impact our world, the role of individuals and the importance of engaging all sectors in reducing the impact of disasters have become increasingly evident. Recognizing the need to involve the Nation more fully, Presidential Policy Directive-8 (PPD-8), issued on March 20, 2011, states that “our national preparedness is the shared responsibility of all levels of government, the private and nonprofit sectors, and individual citizens.”

Here are four basic rules to follow in the event of a disaster

• Be Informed: Know local/community risks and community systems and plans, participate in preparedness training, and practice response skills by participating in drills.
• Make a Plan: Develop a household emergency plan and discuss it with household members.
• Build a Kit: Set aside and maintain supplies one may need in disasters.
• Get Involved: Find local opportunities to volunteer for community safety and disaster response and be a part of the community planning process.

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The Lowdown On Water Storage

Water is the most important resource we can have in an emergency situation. It makes up 50% of our bodies, but we need to make sure we are 100% clear how to properly store water.  It is also important to know when and how to treat water for any kind of disastrous situation.

 

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Preparing Through Service

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September is known as National Preparedness Month and this week’s theme is “Preparing Through Service.” After a disaster, communities have rallied together to aid, support, and help each other out. One thing you can do to prepare before the disaster through service is to attend a blood drive and/or donate plasma. You can also help the community by repairing your community’s houses, parks, and rivers.

According to FEMA, you can learn more about Preparing Through Service by visiting these websites:

Essentials for a DIY Bug-Out Bag (Infographic)

September is National Preparedness Month. With this being said, it is always important to be prepared for any emergency that may occur. One of the easiest things a person can do start preparing is to have a bug-out bag.

A bug-out bag is full of food, water, and emergency essentials. Every prepper has their own idea for emergency essentials, as well as every location has a different need for emergency essentials. The most common emergency essentials are a change of clothes, matches, a flashlight, a basic first aid kit, something to put food in, a radio, and a utility knife.

To help each of our Preparedness Members start a bug-out bag, we’ve designed an infographic to help guide you through the process. It is a list of essential items to use for your “Do it yourself bug-out bag.”

DIY Bug Out Bag

 

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Are you missing some of the necessary items?  If so, Food Insurance® has you covered.  Click the links below to see the best emergency supplies available, at the best prices available.

Complete Bug Out Bags
Empty Backpacks
Emergency Food Kits
Water Filtration
Cooking Supplies
First Aid Kits and other Tools

Family Emergency Plan

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All the preparation in the world won’t make a difference if you haven’t explained to the people you love and care about what to do when trouble strikes. For this reason, it is important to have a plan, a backup plan and practice these often, in case there is an emergency.

The first step in creating a plan is to talk about different responses to various emergencies and situations that can arise. Every person that’s a part of the plan needs to know what it is. It is probably wise to refer to this plan regularly as plans can be forgotten if they’re only mentioned once. Once this is done, you may want to take the next step of practicing.

Practicing and drilling responses for emergencies can help solidify the plan in the minds of those who are part of the equation. This will also help identify potential pitfalls and correct them before real disaster strikes. Practicing walk through plans often can make it a fun exercise for the kids. In doing this, it will help them to remember and make you feel more comfortable when a problem happens. It is the exact reason that schools have mandatory fire drills, earthquake drills, tornado drills, and other location appropriate practice runs.

It is best to have a designated meeting place where everyone should know to meet if something were to separate people in the group. In some disaster situations, this meeting place might not be safe to get to or stay at.  In that case, you should have a secondary location. This location shouldn’t be susceptible to the same concerns that the initial location you picked is. So look for somewhere at least a short distance away from your first meeting spot with different geography and accessibility where possible.

No situation is perfect, but if you can create a simple plan that will help everyone in your group know where to meet and what to do in the event of an emergency, it will help out in the long run.

September is National Preparedness Month

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If you’re like most of us, you are experiencing a bit of awe that August escaped so quickly, and we find autumn just around the corner. September; that time of year when the summer fun winds down, schools start up again, and life seems to get “back to normal.”

For some parts of the country, “normal” seems to be flooding and the threat of late summer hurricanes. Other regions experience wildfires, volcanos, or tornados, or the ever present danger of living on a fault line, never quite knowing when the “big one” will come. Rather than living with stress and fear, it is better to be prepared. Thus, since its inception in 2004, September is recognized as National Preparedness Month in the United States and sponsored by FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Association.

Where does one start? No matter where you are on your path to preparedness, the FEMA website offers a slew of resources to help you, your family, and your community gets, and stay, prepared. The site includes helpful information, including:

  • Hazards that may affect your community, including active shooters, earthquake, flood, hurricane, tornado, wildfire, and winter storms.
  • A list of ten ways to participate in America’s PrepareAthon on September 30, 2016.
  • Resources to help you prepare and promote preparedness activities.
  • News and stories about how America prepares!

We too want you to succeed on your road to preparedness. How can we help?

  • Visit our blog and join the discussion. Discover articles and ideas to help you and your family prepare. From family emergency plans to DIY ideas and preparedness resource lists, you’ll find plenty of “food for thought,” and action.
  • Start small if you need to. Check out our one-month and three-month food supplies.
  • Check our website often, and visit the “Special Buys” section to see what deals you can take advantage of.

Most importantly, just do something. Take inventory of your situation and take that next step, no matter how small. Peace of mind is invaluable. You owe that to yourself and your family.

Why You Should Watch The Pot

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In light of hurricane season, it is becoming more and more essential that we know how to fend for ourselves and our families.  When it comes to survival, drinkable water should be a number one priority.  Being cut off from an adequate water supply can leave you defenseless against otherwise easily preventable problems such as dehydration and fatigue. People have managed to survive without food for weeks. The same cannot be said for water, however. The most a person can hope to live without water is 3-10 days depending on the circumstances, such as the person is in good health and only exposed to mildly cool temperatures (70 F and below). In an extremely hot climate (120 F), even a healthy individual cannot hope to live longer than two days without water.

There are several methods to combat these problems, one of the most common methods being boiling and evaporation techniques. Boiling is considered the best methods for purifying water. When done correctly, boiling will kill microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, protozoans. Basically, there are a lot of situations that range from unpleasant to unbearable that can be avoided if you take the time to boil your water in emergency situations where there is a possibility of water contamination.

The Right Way to Boil off the Bad:

  • Bring water to a rolling boil for one full minute (three minutes in altitudes > 6,562 feet)
  • Allow to cool to room temperature naturally (do NOT use ice to cool)

Although boiling is probably the most effective way to treat water, it is not always a practical possibility.  In many emergency situations, electricity will not be available. When preparing for any type of emergency situation, it should never be assumed that electricity will be accessible. In fact, in more times than not, that will not be the case. In natural disasters such as a flood, fire starting will also not be an extremely likely option. The odds will not always be in your favor, it is smart to have an alternative solution to treating unsanitary water. Another good option in these situations is water filtration.

Certain kinds of water filters can remove pathogenic organisms and dangerous chemicals from a water supply. However, most portable water filters cannot purge the water of viruses. Thus, the filtration method often requires a two part system. After filtering the water, the water supply can be further disinfected by way of a chemical disinfectant such as iodine. Iodine tablets, or radiation pills, can be used to further rid the water of infecting agents. When using such tablets, you should follow the manufacturer’s included instructions. When the water is cloudy, the tablet dosage doubles. If the water is extremely cold, strides should be taken to heat it as much as possible.

When accessible, boil your water. However long it may take, watch that pot until it boils hard for at least one full minute, and then let it cool. Boiling water is the easiest, most efficient way to treat water. However, you cannot count on your stove to be working in the midst of a natural disaster. Because of this, you should keep a proficient water filter and chemical disinfectants (such as iodine) handy. Your otherwise dehydrated (or extremely ill) future self might thank you someday.

 

Sources:

Home


http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/water-disinfection

Water Purification Methods

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When it comes to purifying possibly contaminated water, there is no such thing as being too careful. Untreated water could contain sewage, bacteria, diseases, viruses, parasites, pesticides, heavy metals, radioactivity, chemicals, or even poison. Without drinking water, death will occur within three to ten days. If a person drinks water that has not yet been purified, they can become mortally ill with dysentery, cholera, typhoid, and other painful or potentially fatal sicknesses. Even water that you’ve stored ahead of time should be treated with some of the most basic ways to purify your water. To truly be prepared, you will need multiple types of water purifiers.

Filters – Before treating your water, pour it through coffee filters, cheesecloth, or paper towels. If you don’t have these supplies on hand, you can even soak a t-shirt in water, then wring it out into a bowl. Professional filters can also be purchased in various emergency preparedness and camping stores. It is recommended that you buy nice filters as well as a type of simple, do-it-yourself filter. Filtering your water first will rid it of any large and obvious sediment, as well as some bacteria and fungi contaminates.

Bleach – Bleach is the most basic emergency preparedness supply for treating your water. Small amounts of bleach will kill many of the organisms living inside of water. Only use bleach that has sodium hypochlorite as the only active ingredient. Avoid colored bleaches or bleaches with fragrances. Bleach also loses its strength the older that it is; make sure you rotate out this supply every year.

Heat – Boiling your water is the next basic way to purify it. Once the water comes to a boil, keep it there for thirty minutes.  The high temperature will rid your water of most bacteria. It is also the safest way to treat your water because you are not adding any extra ingredients that could be harmful if too much is ingested. It does not do away with some chemicals and heavy metals, so combine this method with another type of water that you did not store.

Iodine – Iodine comes in crystals, tablets, and 2% tinctures. The crystals are the most effective, as they will kill algae, bacteria, viruses, and amoebae. Crystals also have the longest shelf life and can treat the largest quantity of water. However, ingesting even one crystal is fatal – you are only supposed to mix it with the water and then filter it out. Crystals can also be difficult to find, but can be available in chemical supply stores and pharmacies. Tablets are a common stable of emergency supplies. Although they are effective, they are quite sensitive to warm temperatures, light, and exposure to air, making them very high-maintenance storage items. Of the three types of iodine, tablets will taste the best. Tablets containing tetra glycine hydro periodide prevent the abortion of some radioactivity into the body, making it an important supply in preparing for nuclear attacks.  2% tincture of iodine is a household item often found in first aid kits. It also needs to be stored in an opaque bottle, and it has a short shelf life.

Activated Carbon/Charcoal – Activated carbon is what you will find in your commercial water filters, such as Brita. Because the charcoal is so absorptive, it removes bad tastes and odors, as well as chlorine, chloroform, hydrogen sulfide, pesticides, chemicals, and heavy metals. It only partially removes bacteria and viruses, and will leave behind fluoride, nitrates, salts, and asbestos fibers. Because of its ability to improve taste and odor, this may be the last step you want to take in purifying your water. Activated carbon/charcoal should absolutely be used along with another purification method.

Halazone Tablets – This method is still sometimes recommended by experts, though it has decreased in popularity. This is because, though effective, halazone tablets have a very short shelf-life. They are commonly used in developing countries. Halazone tablets are made out of chlorine.

Ultraviolet – Ultraviolet lights are recommended because, again, there are no added chemicals. This method is quick and fights against microbes that are resistant to chemical treatments. Ultraviolet lights can be extremely expensive (around $500-1,000 on the higher end, around $100 for smaller water bottles with UV lights). Ultraviolet lights will require either batteries or electricity.

Our extreme filtered water bottle filters out biological contaminate, bacteria and sediment. In addition, the extreme filter will also remove radiological contaminants including Gross Beta, Radon 222, Alpha Radium 226, Plutonium, Uranium, and Cesium 134 & 137. You can buy it here: http://www.foodinsurance.com/water-bottle-filter-extreme

Do It Yourself Lights Out Kit

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What is a Lights Out Kit?

Simply put, a Lights Out Kit is a small container consisting of items that will help aid you in the event of a power outage. This would include candles, oil / solar lamps, matches, lighters, flashlights, and anything else that would provide relief in a no power situation.

Why Should I Build a Lights Out Kit?

There a many situations where power outages can occur (weather related, tree limbs falling, car accidents, construction mistakes, etc.) and 90% of the time they are out of our control. Power outages can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few weeks in some severe cases, but what you can control is how you handle these situations. You might have your Bug Out Bag all prepped for you when you have to ditch out, but do you have a Lights Out Kit?

How to Build a Lights Out Kit

A Lights Out Kits doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Chances are you probably already have most these items lying around the house. How accessible these items are to you in a power outage situation might need to be re-evaluated. We suggest the following items for a basic Lights Out Kit:

  • Flashlights (w/ spare batteries)
  • Candles & Crayons (a crayon will last about 30 min)
  • Glow Sticks (inexpensive and entertaining for the kids)
  • Headlamps (w/ spare batteries)
  • Oil / Solar Lamps
  • Fire Starter (w/ fire starting material)

Here is a suggested kit for under $20:

  • Storage Tub w/Lid – $2.99 (Target)
  • (2) 3.5″ LED Flashlights – $2.99 (Harbor Freight)
  • Headlamp – $4.97 (CostCo)
  • AAA Batteries – $4.99 (Harbor Freight)
  • Light Sticks – $1.97 (Home Depot)
  • (4) Tea Lights – $1.00 (Target)

Where to Put Light Out Kits

We recommend building 4 Lights Out Kits and placing them in strategic locations around you house. Here are two suggestions:

  • Place a Lights Out Kit on every level of your house
  • Place a Lights Out Kit in each major bedroom of your house

If you’re looking for a fun project to do with the family that will add to your preps, build a Lights Out Kit!