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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Preparations For Pandemic

Greetings and Salutations to All my Kith and Kin and All the Ships in Outer Space:

The bird flu has now been documented in ninety countries, and it has mutated into an airborne virus that is transmitted directly from human to human.

This is the identical strain of influenza notorious for the global mortality of Nineteen Eighteen.

It killed more American soldiers than combat during the First World War.

Avian influenza, for which there is currently no known preventive vaccine, targets the body's immune system, turning a person's own natural defenses into a weapon that kills him, quickly drowning him as his lungs fill with fluid.

Those who have the weakest immune systems actually have the best chances of survival.

The most effective method of survival is temporary total isolation from all other human beings.

Virus attacks don't last very long, and the virus rapidly dissipates and dies, eventually destroying itself.

The bird flu is not yet a global pandemic, nor, so far as I am aware, even of local epidemic proportions.

The numbers of victims, if reporting is accurate, appears to be relatively small and localized.

Maybe, when the viral pandemic strikes, it won't be avian influenza.

Maybe it'll be some other variety of virus, which will be equally lethal.

The immediate effect of a global pandemic in our contemporary densely populated urban environment will be a disruption of all services and resources.

With so many people sick or dying, and the majority of them young adults at the peak of physical fitness, there won't be enough police, fire, and ambulance personnel to respond to emergencies.

Trucks won't run, because the drivers will be too sick, or too terrified, to enter the affected area.

There will be no fresh groceries to restock store shelves.

There may not be any electricity, telephones, potable water, and the waste disposal facilities may not operate.

Credit cards and ATM cards can't be used, and no one will dare to transact business using contaminated cash money.

Stores will have to lock their doors.

The hospitals, if operating, will be completely full, overwhelmed, and possibly close their doors, due to lack of staff.

It's possible that even local funeral homes will be unable to cope with so many corpses all at once, thus, bodies may lie unattended for many days.

Either way, prudence dictates we take certain measures to prepare ourselves for any possible scenario.

Here at the Ol' Soldiers' Home, I'm urging my fellow residents to begin now to store prepared foods, bottled drinking water, and sufficient alcohol and medication, so that you can remain barricaded inside of your room for at least two weeks.

(Actually, that very suggestion is already published by the administrators of our Soldiers' Home in the ARMED FORCES RETIREMENT HOME'S RESIDENTS EMERGENCY GUIDE, dated 12 June 2007, but most residents and staff apparently are ignorant of it.)

Since we at the Ol' Soldiers' Home are trapped in the very heart of a humongous megalopolis, evacuation would be impractical.

Besides, we would probably be quarantined, and not permitted to leave.

As there might not be any television, radio, or lights, it's a good idea to have plenty of books, puzzles, games, and non-electronic musical instruments handy.

With no heat, you'll need cold weather clothing and a good sleeping bag.

Since weapons and firearms are currently illegal within the District of Columbia, I'll give no advice on that subject.

But, you are already cognizant of what the demographics and mentality of our local neighborhood is, so rely on your invaluable years of military training and experience.

At the first hint that an unusual influenza or norovirus epidemic has begun, retire to your quarters, lock and barricade the door, and do not open the door for any reason.

If you absolutely must leave your room, then wear gloves, goggles, and a mask.

Store liquid disinfectant in your room, and FREQUENTLY wash your hands, especially after touching door knobs, plumbing fixtures, and light switches in public areas.

Under these dire pandemic conditions, many elderly and disabled residents won't survive, because there will be no dependable regular life support, such as oxygen.

So, for at least a couple of weeks, expect the prevailing stench of a multitude of decaying corpses here at the Ol' Soldiers' Home.

Aerosol room deoderants, candles, and incense may help alleviate some of the fetid atmosphere.

(It probably won't be operating anyway, but disconnect your smoke detector before burning candles and incense.)

Likewise, all of you folks out in the big wide World who do not reside here at the Ol' Soldiers' Home should also store food, water, fuel, medicine, winter clothing, bedding, pet supplies, firearms, and munitions, and prepare to survive in total isolation from all other human beings for a couple of weeks, until the virus has left the area.

Yes, I'm pushing the panic button.

No, it ain't here yet.

But, it's a comin'.

Forewarned is forearmed.

Thank you.

John Robert "SAIGON" Mallernee, KB3KWS
Official Bard of Clan Henderson
Armed Forces Retirement Home
Washington, D.C. 20011-8400

NOTE: "My unpopular and controversial personal opinions are independent of my Scottish clan."

1 comment:

Dan said...

Very good analysis and advice but I must add, there will be thousands of people out rioting in each city, breaking into stores and homes to take and destroy what they please to provide food and protection, and even just for fun. You must be prepared for this and even for fire. Plan for several months, not just 2 weeks of isolation. The former head of homeland security said that a pandemic would be like hurricane Katrina hitting every city and town in the country at the same time. A pandemic can last up to 18 months as it continually mutates. With that in mind, make preparations. I'm already set for the long-haul.

Good Luck

Dan