Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pandemic Part III

We continue the proactive preparations in this, part three of Pandemic.

HEPA Filters

HEPA filters can be set up and used within the structure to gather any possible contaminants that may have found their way inside. If one does find the need to construct an airlock, a HEPA filter may be placed inside to filter contaminants so that they do not enter the structure. HEPA filters are able to remove contaminants 0.3 microns OR SMALLER at a rate of 99.97% efficiency in order to meet the HEPA standard.

If one happens to be trapped in an area where the outbreak of disease happens to be moderate or severe, a HEPA filter can be used to filter outside air in order to remove most contaminants, and thus provide clean, fresh air to a structure.

Obtain extra filters for your HEPA unit ahead of time. Treat used filters as a potential source of contagion.

UV-C Lamps

There are a number of companies selling devices that generate UV light at a frequency of 235 nano-meters. These should not be relied upon a sole source of disinfection. It typically takes approximately twenty seconds of full exposure to UV-C to destroy the DNA of the contagion. UV-C is effective on mold, viruses, and bacteria. They may prove to be appropriate in areas where traditional decontamination chemicals may not be suitable for use.

Each individual will need to evaluate each situation to determine if UV-C lights are appropriate.

Do not look into the light as it may damage your eyes. Read all precautionary statements included with the device.


Obtain several bottles of plain chlorine bleach. A dilute solution of one part bleach to fifty parts water is sufficient to kill viruses, mold and bacteria according to the CDC.

Another recipe advises a mixture of 0ne part bleach, one part white vinegar, and eight parts water. The vinegar must be added to the water, and then the bleach must be added to the water vinegar solution.

OSHA recommends a 15% solution for decontaminating bio/medical labs. Each of these solutions is greater than 15%.

The recommended duration of exposure to the solution is 20 minutes. The second recipe is also valid for Anthrax spores, but the exposure to the solution is 60 minutes. The surfaces must be kept wet with the solutions.


Isopropyl Alcohol is effective against the Influenza virus. 99% pure isopropyl alcohol is available as a thinning agent in the paint department of many home improvement stores. Alcohol can be used to treat the exterior of some clothing before entering your home. Bleach usually has undesired effects on colored clothing even in a dilute solution.

Alcohol is EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE. EXTREME CAUTION must be exercised in deploying this as a virucide. Avoid open flames, sparks, even static discharge as these are all sources of potential ignition.

In an earlier life, I was a crew chief for a race team. I witnessed several alcohol fueled fires. The results were horrendous.

Spray Bottles

Obtain several heavy duty spray bottles to dispense the bleach solution and alcohol.

Garden Sprayer

Heavy duty use for decontamination of an airlock and the person within the airlock.

Latex Exam Gloves

Available in most pharmacies and even big box stores such as Target. If you are allergic to latex, obtain nitrile gloves. Nitrile gloves are more durable than latex gloves.

Gallon Ziploc style bags

Use for containing used masks, etc.

Plastic Garbage Bags

Use for disposing of waste such as the ziploc bags containing used masks, gloves, etc.

Paper Towels

General cleaning. Many people have started using cleaning cloths that are able to be laundered after each use in an effort to improve the environment. It may be wise to be able to discard used cleaning materials if they become heavily soiled.

Fire Extinguishers

If you choose to use alcohol, a CO2 fire extinguisher is recommended. If an accident occurs where a fire breaks out, you may not be able to rely on your local fire department during a pandemic.


Tamiflu has shown some effectiveness in treating the avian flu.

There are homeopathic and natural remedies available. Their effectiveness is open to debate, but some of you may prefer them.

Some people believe that colloidal silver is an appropriate response. Here is a solution of silver that will not turn you blue after continued use.

Over Garments

A Tyvek suit is easily worn over clothing, and can be discarded or decontaminated if activity outside the your area of shelter is required.

This concludes the proactive portion of a response to a pandemic. The next post will deal with the reactive response when a pandemic develops.

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