Of all the disasters that could happen, one of the most frightening is a deadly pandemic. I used to always say an EMP is the scariest disaster–and it is scary–but now that I’m a father of two small children, a pandemic is particularly frightening.
At least with a widespread EMP (electromagnetic pulse), I could take my kids to a safer location and attempt to defend them from dangerous people. But once they’re infected with a deadly disease, all I can do is wait and hope they live. When my boys have the flu, I feel so helpless. I can only imagine how I’d feel if I thought they might die.
There’s another thing that makes EMP’s different from pandemics. An EMP might never happen. A pandemic is inevitable. They happen almost every decade, and sometimes they get so bad, they kill millions of people.
Even if a natural-occurring pandemic doesn’t happen any time soon, there’s still the threat of terrorists using planes to spread highly infections diseases. Combine that with the fact that the world is not prepared for a pandemic, and you can see why I’m so concerned.
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So what should you do if a deadly disease is spreading through your town? Obviously, you’ll want to keep your hands clean at all times by washing them regularly and/or wearing gloves. You’ll also want to keep your home and personal possessions as clean as possible. And if the disease is airborne, you’ll want to wear a face mask when going out.
But what if you take all those precautions and you or someone in your group/family gets infected anyway? What can you do to make sure they don’t infect anyone else? That is the subject of this article.
What is a Quarantine Room?
A quarantine room is a designated location in your home designed to isolate people who have been exposed to a disease or are otherwise showing the symptoms of an illness. This is to help prevent them from spreading the disease to other people who live in the home.
Though entering and exiting the quarantine room will be unavoidable if you intend to care for the person or people in there, setting up a quarantine room is still a good way to limit the spread of disease as much possible.
Why Quarantine Rooms are Necessary
Putting an ill individual into a quarantine room may seem cruel at first, but consider the fact that even today, hospital rooms serve the same function. In a world where even minor diseases can become a death sentence, preventing the spread of disease is a major priority.
While a person is in a quarantine room, they can still be cared for and given any treatments or medications that you might have available. Isolating them from the rest of your family or group while they are cared for, though, can go a long way towards ensuring that the healthy people in your house stay healthy.
Supplies You Will Need for Setting Up a Quarantine Room
Setting up a quarantine room does not require a ton of supplies, but the supplies that it does require are essential. In order to create an effective quarantine room within your home, you will need:
• Bleach or Steramine Tablets
Sanitization is the primary concern when setting up a quarantine room. Not only will you need to thoroughly sanitize every object that goes in and out of the room, you’ll also need to frequently sanitize the rest of your home. Once the quarantine room has been emptied out, it will need to be sanitized as well.
Stocking up on bleach is one good way to ensure that you are able to sanitize your home and the objects that you take in and out of the quarantine room.
However, Steramine tablets are an even better option. A single tablet allows you to create an entire gallon of cleaning solution, making Steramine tablets a much more affordable and convenient way to ensure that you have plenty of cleaning solution available.
• Plastic Sheeting and Duct Tape
When you’re building a quarantine room, the goal is to isolate the room from the rest of your house as much as possible. While keeping an infected individual in a single room will go a long way toward preventing the spread of germs, sealing the room off with plastic sheeting and duct tape will make your quarantine room much more effective.
Covering your quarantine room with plastic sheeting also makes it somewhat easier to disinfect once it is empty again. While you will still want to wash down every inch of the room, being able to discard the plastic sheeting means that you will be able to simply remove most everything the infected person came in contact with.
• Protective Clothing
Entering and exiting your quarantine room is going to be a necessity if you plan to provide any type of care to the people inside it. But if you don’t take precautions when you enter and exit your quarantine room, the room is going to do little good.
You’ll want to have protective clothing available such as face masks, gloves, goggles and perhaps even a biohazard suit. Wearing this protective clothing while in the quarantine room will allow you to minimize the risk of contamination.
• Supplies for the Patient
Naturally, they will need a wide range of other things as well such as food and water, but these are things you should already have stockpiled, regardless of whether or not you intend to build a quarantine room.
Steps for Setting up a Quarantine Room
Setting up a quarantine room isn’t necessarily a time-consuming or difficult process, but it is important to follow the right procedures. To set up your quarantine room, follow these steps:
Step #1: Choose the Right Location
There are a few things that you will want to consider when deciding which room to designate as your quarantine room.
First, the location will need to be as isolated as possible from the rest of your home. Second, try to choose a location that can be accessed quickly from an entrance to your home; if you have to bring an infected person into your house, you will want to be able to bring them into the quarantine room as quickly as possible.
Step #2: Prep the Room
Start by covering the floor and walls of your quarantine room with plastic sheeting held in place with duct tape. You’ll also want to create sort of a curtain-like entrance over the door using plastic sheeting as well.
Next, bring any supplies that you may need into the room ahead of time. If you store your supplies in the quarantine room ahead of time, it’ll help limit the number of times that you have to go in and out of the room.
Step #3: Develop a Plan for Every Possibility
There are quite a few things that you will have to take into consideration if you plan to use a quarantine room to house an infected person, and you will want to have a plan and a set of procedures in place for every possibility.
Things such as laundry, waste disposal, and bathing all become complicating factors in a quarantine. We’ll talk more about these factors in the next section, but for now, just know that developing a thorough plan is a very important step in setting up a quarantine room.
Important Considerations When Setting up a Quarantine Room
There are several issues you will want to prepare for if you plan to use a quarantine room. These include:
When dealing with the dirty clothes of an infected person, you have two options: cleaning them or burning them. If you choose to wash an infected person’s clothes, make sure that you are wearing protective clothing during the process and keep their clothes separate from the rest of the laundry. In most cases, though, burning the dirty laundry of an infected person is going to be the safest option.
• Waste Disposal
Unless there happens to be a bathroom connected to your quarantine room, you’ll have to set up a DIY waste disposal system. You can use bedpans and/or an urban survival toilet, but these containers will need to be emptied periodically. Wear protective clothing when emptying your makeshift commodes and bury the waste well away from your home.
If the patient in your quarantine room is capable of bathing themselves, all you will have to do is provide them with the right supplies. You could choose to set up a portable shower in your quarantine room, or you may rely on sponge baths.
If a patient is not capable of bathing themselves, though, and you have to give them a sponge bath, be sure to wear protective clothing and burn any items you use such as sponges and washrags.
• Small Children
If you have small children in your home, it is essential that you take precautions to keep them out of the quarantine room. Having a door with a lock is ideal. Lecturing your children about the importance of staying away from the quarantine room may or may not be helpful depending on their age and obedience, but it’s still a good idea as well.
Setting up a quarantine room is something that isn’t often discussed in prepper circles, yet it’s a topic that deserves more attention. Even if a pandemic never occurs, ordinary diseases will become much more dangerous in a post-collapse world that no longer enjoys the benefits of modern medicine.
While dealing with illness in a survival scenario requires a detailed, multi-faceted approach, being able to set up a medical quarantine room is an important first step.