The possibility that one day some sort of virus or disease could potentially wipe out a huge chunk of the population is, admittedly, far-fetched. That being said, history has a bad habit of repeating itself. Throughout the last several hundred years there have been several pandemic level outbreaks of deadly viruses that have decimated large areas of the world.
Obviously, major advancements in modern medicine, outbreak prevention and containment procedures have made this threat highly unlikely to ever fully reach a level that would be anything like what you see on the movies. That being said, the threat absolutely is real and is worth preparing for; because even if this type of threat is highly unlikely, preparing for something as disastrous as a pandemic will mean that you are even more prepared for disaster scenarios that are much less catastrophic.
Today we’re going to look at the top 7 threats that you could potentially face when escaping and surviving a wide-spread pandemic scenario and what you can do to make sure you don’t become one it’s many victims.
Beware of the infected!
If a wide-spread, deadly pandemic were to ever strike, your best bet for staying alive is going to be staying indoors and having literally zero interaction with anyone outside the home until the virus has burned itself out. Typically this can last anywhere from 30-90 days.
That being said, a pandemic on this kind of scale would have to result from some sort of highly mutated virus that has not only never been encountered before, but would have to be so resilient, communicable and deadly that even our advances in modern medicine could not contain it. With something like this, all bets are off and there really is no telling how long it would take for something like this to burn itself out.
If a situation was to arise where you would need to be outside, either to procure resources or to get to another location, stay away from anyone that is not in your group. Even someone with no outward symptoms could be an early carrier of the virus and could wipe out your entire group within days of contact. Also, if you do have to travel outside, be sure to wear some sort of breathing protection like a facemask (or even better) a filtered gasmask. It won’t completely protect you from infection, but something is better than nothing.
Beware of the undead!
In the aftermath of a pandemic, hordes undead zombies will be roaming the… just kidding!
Some of the most deadly diseases we know of come from cadavers. If you’ve survived the initial wave of the pandemic and are now going to head for greener pastures, you’re highly likely to encounter enough dead bodies to give you nightmares for the rest of your days.
Although cadavers cannot directly spread infectious diseases (at least the ones we know of), they can be a breeding ground for other, very serious diseases like the bubonic plague and typhoid fever. It should go without saying that you should not be handling a corpse without a very heavy-duty, completely sealed hazmat suit. Since your main goal in the wake of a pandemic is simply to get out and get to somewhere with more resources, just stay clear of cadavers altogether.
“Water is the driving force in nature” – Leonardo da Vinci
It would be virtually impossible for water sources to become directly contaminated by a pandemic-level virus. However, that doesn’t mean that any water you come across will be safe to drink. During a pandemic of this size, the normal safeguards we have in place to make potable water available will be gone. Utilities will obviously be shut off well before the pandemic has burned itself out and store shelves will be emptied within hours of the pandemic’s announcement if not before.
So what are our options for water?
Even though most preppers understand the necessity of having water stockpiled, I’ve found that it is actually one of the most under-prepped items out there. A lot of people think that having filtration and purification methods stocked will ensure clean drinking water indefinitely and so their actual stored water reserves are dangerously low.
In several large-scale disasters, including a major pandemic, filters and purification means aren’t going to help you when you’re stuck in lockdown mode waiting for the virus to burn itself out. This is why it is vitally important to make sure you have just as much water stocked as you do food since going out to procure more will be extremely dangerous.
After the pandemic has burned itself out and you’re on your way to another location water purification methods are going to be vital, which is why you shouldn’t waste them when you’re stuck in lockdown mode.
In a pandemic of this magnitude, water is likely to be contaminated by any number of things like sewage, cadavers and animals. To be safe, any water that isn’t in a sealed container should be filtered or purified and then boiled before drinking to be completely safe.
If you do find a larger body of water near a long-term location site, continue purifying and boiling the water. You could theoretically drink a very small portion of the water from the source and monitor any ill-effects it might have on you, but that’s probably not the safest route to take in this type of scenario.
What’s for dinner?
As preppers, most of us have a good amount of food stockpiled. If push came to shove, we could go into lock-down mode and most likely be perfectly fine weathering any disaster that Man or Mother Nature could potentially throw at us. However, when you delve into the world of long-term, apocalyptic-type disasters like a global pandemic, you’re talking about a whole new ballgame. Even if you’ve got a 10,000 square foot warehouse filled with non-perishable survival food that could last a decade, you’re still only self-sufficient, not self-reliant.
There’s a finite amount of food that you can stock. If at some point you have to leave your location for somewhere safer or with more resources there’s only so much you can take with you. Even if you plan on scavenging the post-apocalyptic wasteland, gathering cans of Spam and MREs as you go, at some point you’re going to have to figure out a plan for procuring food the old-fashioned way.
If you’re a prepper, hunting, fishing, raising livestock and gardening should be skillsets that you’re not only familiar with, but should be things that you’re practicing as much as realistically possible right now. It wouldn’t take a global pandemic to seriously disrupt our modern food supply lines. Any number of disasters could potentially put society back hundreds of years; and if you don’t know how to procure your own food, your lifespan is going to be only as long as your food supplies last.
“Help! The apocalypse came and I can’t get up!” – Anonymous
Our modern society is built of a core group of people that simply cannot take care of themselves. As much as the preparedness community has grown, we’re still outmatched by the unprepared 100 to 1. If a global pandemic ever did strike, the amount of people caught unprepared would be staggering.
In the wake of a pandemic, there will still be a large amount of survivors, many of whom will be running around like a chicken with their head cut off looking for even the smallest amount of authority or someone to just tell them what to do. If you venture outside after a pandemic, it’s very likely that you’re going to encounter other survivors, and they’re likely not going to be your prepper buddy from down the road who’s as prepared as you are.
So how do you plan on dealing with people that want your help?
We could debate the ethical dilemma of helping others until we’re blue in the face. There’s literally dozens of those debates going on right now on various prepper social media sites.
The fact of the matter is that surviving a pandemic means staying away from people until you can be 100% sure the virus has ran its course or that the people you encounter aren’t infected. Even the best of charitable actions could have dire consequences to your group with a virus that is so easily passed between person to person.
Until you are absolutely sure that the virus has burned out, don’t make contact with anyone….at all. This may mean turning your back on people that need help, running away or even defending yourself with lethal force if necessary.
Once time has passed and you’re confident that the virus has run its course and there is no longer a risk of infection, it’s up to you. Personally, if this disaster actually did happen in my lifetime, I’d like to hope that I’d continue to be charitable and help as many people as I could. I’d want to be a part of a community, part of the rebuilding process and I honestly believe that community, charity and working together would be the only way to accomplish that; but who knows, that could be a pretty unrealistic plan if the worst did come. Hopefully we’ll never have to make these choices.
Thieves, Raiders, Marauders and all the other riff-raff out there
I’m a firm believer that only a small part of society are truly evil people. However, I also think that social norms, laws and prisons are the only reason that number stays as low as it is. There are people that, whether they even know it or not, are only upstanding people because there are direct consequences to their actions. In a scenario like a global pandemic, there’s a very large chance that those safeguards will disappear and we truly will have a world without rule of law.
This is where the line between good and evil becomes blurry. Desperation is an extremely dangerous emotion, and desperate people can and will do things they might not ordinarily do. All it takes is a handful of the worst of society to convince others that banding together and using violence to procure what they need is the only way to survive.
There’s only so much you can do to prepare for this scenario. Becoming proficient with weapons, engagement tactics and having the wherewithal to defend yourself with force is just the first step. Truly defending yourself in a world without rule of law means always being aware, never letting your guard down and becoming a master of concealment.
The only guarantee that you’ll survive a dangerous encounter is to not let it happen in the first place. Even a military veteran with decades of experience in real-life combat scenarios is only 1 well-placed shot away from a permanent dirt nap. This is why situational awareness is so important. If you can avoid being seen, you can avoid being killed.
I’m with the government, I’m here to help!
People in power have an extremely hard time letting go of that power. In a global pandemic scenario, it’s very likely that the governments of the world will be scrambling to not only contain and survive the actual outbreak themselves, but will also be struggling to maintain law and order.
This could very well be the biggest threat to deal with during a pandemic.
That doesn’t mean that I believe that soldiers are going to be shooting people on sight or any other nonsense like that, but to think that the government will not do anything they can to maintain power is naïve.
During times of crisis, the government can and has suspended constitutional and basic human rights in the name of public safety. Since our modern world has never faced a disaster as serious as a global pandemic, it is extremely likely that many governments will use any means at their disposal to maintain law and order, even if that means breaking an entire laundry list of laws in the process.
The other big problem here is that governments and soldiers will not be immune to the pandemic any more than a normal citizen will be. If the pandemic truly becomes as widespread and deadly as many fear it will, the most powerful armed force in the history of mankind will likely be operating with very little oversight. This means that tens of thousands of heavily armed soldiers will be out there; realizing that their lifeline of support and resupply will likely soon be gone and they will be on their own.
These soldiers are trained and (in desperate situations), extremely dangerous. Soldiers and governments are not excluded from having a percentage of truly evil people within its ranks, nor people that will band together with these people. Once the veil of law and order has been lifted and these people are on their own to survive basic math dictates that they will be an extremely dangerous force to deal with.
If a massive pandemic were to strike, it’s not unlikely that most dangerous marauders out there will be masquerading as peace keepers and authority figures; when in reality, all they will be looking for is a way to survive. Your supplies may look very tempting to these individuals. You will need to be vigilant, staying far away from any area occupied by these forces if you truly want to stay alive and avoid being another victim.
In truth, the chances that we will see a global pandemic on such a scale that it decimates the human population are extremely low. We have the most sophisticated individuals and technology in the world that work night and day to protect us from these kinds of threats.
In fact, there have been dozens of biological, potentially pandemic-level threats around the world, even in recent years. They make big headlines and some prepper sites blow them so out of proportion that you’d think every flu season marks the beginning of the end of the world as we know it. Yet none of them have ever even come close to reaching a level that could be considered a pandemic.
With that being said, I do believe that one day we absolutely will experience some sort of wide-spread medical disaster that could potentially turn into a full-on global pandemic. It’s simple math. As much as we like to pretend we are, we are not invincible. Deadly pandemics have occurred regularly throughout history, and even though we are far more prepared as a society to combat these threats than we were during the days of the Bubonic Plague and Scarlet Fever, we are still human; and if Mother Nature truly wants to thin the herd, she will, and it will be up to all of us to ensure our own survival.
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