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Disaster Planning: Epidemics & Pandemics

Epidemics & Pandemics

Master Disaster Checklist

If you want to keep your property, family, pets, and business safe during natural disasters, it’s important to be prepared. This master checklist gives you a good foundation for what to do, what to have, and what to plan for.

  • Secure Contact Information: Make sure you have a printed out copy as the power may be out and you might not have access to your computer or documents. Include names and telephone numbers, as well as out-of-town friends or family who might be able to help you. It’s important to have an out-of-town friend listed because your friends who live in your town might not be able to help you if a disaster affected them, too. Additionally, prearrange a nearby meet-up place after the emergency. It could be the local high school, a relative’s home, or a grocery store.
  • Have a Plan: Make sure that all of your family knows about your disaster plan (escape routes, where the emergency kit is stored, who to contact, and what to do in case of a natural disaster).
    • Identify a Safe Room: Point out which room is the safest room in your home. This should be an interior room without windows, if possible (maybe a closet or a bathroom). This is the place your family should seek shelter when storm warnings are issued.
  • Stay Informed: Make sure that you have a portable radio with fully charged batteries so that you can get the latest up-to-date information about the disaster. If you are in the path of the disaster, go to your pre-designated shelter area immediately.
  • Take Photos/Video of Your Property: If you have an inventory of your valuables and possessions you are likely to be able to claim up to 20% more insurance than if you don’t. Taking photos and videos with your cell phone is an easy way to document your items. Be sure to upload all the images to secure cloud backup and not just store on your property.
  • Charge Electronic Devices: During a disaster, you may lose power. Ensure your cell phone is fully charged, along with other electronic devices like tablets and laptop computers. Also, think about purchasing a solar-powered backup charging device.
  • Get Cash: When the power goes out, ATM machines won’t work. Get plenty of one dollar bills because not many people will have change for twenty and hundred dollar bills. Try to aim for ones, fives, and tens.
  • Fill Up on Gas: Fill your gas tank. When the power goes out, gas pumps won’t work.
  • Disaster Supplies Kit: A disaster supplies kit is essential to keeping you and your family safe. It should include non-perishable food, water, medical supplies, clothes, pet food and supplies, medications, batteries, flashlights, etc. Consider the following list: 
    • Flashlight
    • Batteries
    • First Aid Kits: For $20, you can have medical supply basics — all in one place — and ready to use. Minor as well as major injuries are possible during an earthquake and it’s possible that emergency services will be overwhelmed, so having a first aid kit is essential.
    • Solar Cell Phone Charger: Solar powered charges start in the mid-$20 range and go up from there. The best selling Amazon solar charger is $60 and is fast with “industrial-strength PET polymer faced solar panels sewn into a rugged polyester canvas offer weather-resistant outdoor durability.” If the power goes out, you might have no other way to charge your phone.
    • Crank-Powered Radio: You can pay upwards of $100 for a decent crank radio, but you don’t have to spend that much. The best-selling Amazon crank radio is only $20!
    • Emergency Water Filter: There’s no need for an expensive filtration system. The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter has 5,000 reviews and is only $20! The LifeStraw “removes minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites, and filters to 0.2 microns; surpasses EPA filter standards.”
    • Bottled Water (minimum of three gallons for each member of your family)
    • Battery-Powered Radio
    • Battery-Powered Lantern
    • Emergency Food Supply
    • Can Opener
    • Basic Tools (utility knife, pliers, wrench, tape, compass)
    • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, contact solution, toilet paper)
    • Pencils and Paper
    • Pet Supplies (food, litter)
    • Rain Gear
    • Sleeping Bag
    • Change of Clothes
    • Plastic Garbage Bags
    • Face Masks
    • Gloves
    • Hand Sanitizer
    • Cleaning Wipes
  • Have a “Go Bag”: Having an emergency bag packed with essentials (food, clothes, toiletries, cash, etc.) can save you time in a crisis. P.S. A little bit of toilet paper goes a long way…
  • Gather Your Important Papers: Keep all special papers and photographs in a watertight container or plastic bag. You know, all of those important things like bank account papers, birth certificates, property deeds, medical cards, social security cards, etc. as well as photos and important keepsakes which can never be replaced. During a disaster, they could all be ruined and washed away forever in one whoosh!
    • Identification (copy of driver’s license or passport)
    • Insurance Policies
    • Birth Certificates
    • Marriage Certificates
    • Proof of Residence (copy of lease, mortgage documents)
    • Deeds or Wills
    • Tax Returns
    • Social Security Cards
  • Plan for Your Pets: Many hotels and motels won’t accommodate your pets, so if your plan is to evacuate to a hotel, then you’ll need to find them a safe boarding kennels or cattery which is outside of the disaster’s impact zone. Be sure you have plenty of your pet’s preferred food and whatever medications they might need.
  • Refill Your Medications: Make sure that you have plenty of your prescription medicines on hand. If a disaster hits your area, the last thing you want to worry about is a medical emergency. 
  • Disaster Insurance: Check your insurance coverage as part of your disaster preparedness plan. Many home insurance policies do not cover hazards like flooding caused by hurricanes, for example. If you live in a disaster-prone area, consider getting insurance to cover damages.
  • Have a Plan for After the Disaster: After a disaster, get out of town until emergency services and law enforcement have gotten control of the situation. Unfortunately, like many other disaster situations, there are people who will try to take advantage of the chaos. It’s best to avoid being in the disaster zone until things are under control.

 

Epidemics & Pandemics

Epidemics and pandemics have occurred throughout history, wiping out hundreds of millions of people over the past few millenniums. Even though there have been huge leaps in medical and scientific technologies, either an epidemic or a pandemic can occur at anytime.

In the present day, we might think that we’re invincible. We’re not. A simple glance through the history books should provide real evidence that the next pandemic might be right around the corner.

Click here to learn more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak.

 

What’s the Difference Between an Epidemic and a Pandemic?

Many people are wondering what the differences are between an epidemic and a pandemic. They can be used interchangeably by the media at times but there are differences.

An epidemic is a situation in which a disease is actively spreading in a community, city, or state. Typically, an outbreak is referred to as an epidemic if the disease spreads to a large number of people in a short period of time (two weeks or less). For example, the Ebola outbreak in 2014 is considered an epidemic because it was largely confined to West Africa.

By contrast, a pandemic describes a disease that spreads across a great distances, either over numerous towns and cities or even countries and continents. An example of a pandemic is the 1918 Spanish Flu that spread across the world.

 

 

Historical Epidemics

Epidemics have ravaged human civilizations for thousands of years with varying degrees of lethality. Below is a chart of some of the epidemics that have occurred.

Epidemic NameLocationDeath Toll (approximate)Dates (approximate)Speculated Disease
Cocoliztli EpidemicMexico5-15 million deaths1545-1548Salmonella
Antonine PlagueRoman Empire5-10 million deaths165-180 CESmallpox
Mexican Smallpox EpidemicMexico5-8 million deaths1520Smallpox
Japanese Smallpox EpidemicJapan2 million deaths735-737 CESmallpox
Italian PlagueItaly280,000 deaths1629-1631Plague
Great Plague of MarseilleFrance> 100,000 deaths1720-1722Plague
Great Plague of LondonEngland100,000 deaths1665-1666Plague
Plague of AthensGreece75,000-100,000 deaths429-426 BCETyphoid Fever, Typhus, or Hemorrhagic Fever
Caragea's PlagueRomania60,000 deaths1813Plague
Fiji Measles OutbreakFiji40,000 deaths1875Measles
Typhus EpidemicCanada> 20,000 deaths1847-1848Typhus
Cholera Epidemic of CopenhagenDenmark4,737 deaths1853Cholera
Zimbabwean Cholera OutbreakZimbabwe4,293 deaths2008-2009Cholera
Yemen Cholera OutbreakYemen3,886 deaths2016-2020Cholera
Kivu Ebola EpidemicDemocratic Republic of the Congo & Uganda2,253 deaths2018-2020Ebola
London FluUnited States1,027 deaths1972-1973Influenza (H3N2)

 

Historical Pandemics

Pandemics tend to be much deadlier than epidemics simply because they have continent-wide or worldwide effects, allowing the infection to spread across many more people.

Pandemic NameLocationDeath Toll (approximate)Dates (approximate)Speculated Disease
Black DeathEurope, Asia, and North America50-200 million deaths1331-1353Bubonic Plague
Spanish Flu PandemicWorldwide100 million deaths1918-1920Influenza (H1N1)
Plague of JustinianEurope and West Asia100 million deaths541-542 CEBubonic Plague
Third Pandemic PlagueWorldwide> 22 million deaths1855-1960Bubonic Plague
Coronavirus (COVID-19)Worldwide6,588,592+ deaths (as of October 27, 2022)2019-presentCoronavirus Disease 2019
Encephalitis PandemicWorldwide1.5 million deahs1915-1926Encephalitis Lethargica
Hong Kong FluWorldwide1 million deaths1968-1969Influenza (H3N2)
Flu PandemicWorldwide1 million deaths1889-1890Influenza
Sixth Cholera PandemicEurope, Asia, and Africa> 800,000 deaths1899-1923Cholera
Swine FluWorldwide150,000-575,000 deaths2009H1N1/09 virus
First Cholera PandemicEurope and Asia> 100,000 deaths1816-1826Cholera
Second Cholera PandemicEurope, Asia, and North America> 100,000 deaths1829-1851Cholera
Sweating SicknessEurope> 10,000 deaths1485-1551Hantavirus
MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome)Asia862 deaths2012-2020MERS
SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)Worldwide772 deaths2002-2004SARS
Zika VirusWorldwide53 deaths2015-2016Zika Virus

 

Is YOUR Family Prepared for the Next Epidemic or Pandemic?

The next epidemic or pandemic can strike anywhere and anytime. It’s important that you have a disaster epidemic or pandemic kit as well as a plan to keep you and your family safe. Click here to see an Epidemic or Pandemic Home Safety Kit Checklist.

 


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