Since this week’s revelation of America’s own Patient Zero having been diagnosed with the Ebola virus, many of us have become either glued, unglued, or both. Americans by the tens of millions have become glued to their computers, radios, televisions and cell phones for the latest developments, and sometimes unglued by falling headlong into “NOOOOOOO! It’s the end of the wooooooorld!” hysterics.
Both approaches are understandable to a point, but both are dangerous, and they are dangerous because they act in direct opposition to the Spirit we are to embrace and cultivate by the grace of God as Christians.
Of course, that sounds nice and looks sweet in print, but is much easier said than done.
With that in mind, Faith, Courage, and Hope in the Face of Ebola was posted here on Wednesday and was followed up earlier today with What does the Gospel and Great Commission have to do with Ebola? so that folks (myself included) might be reminded of the beauty and purpose of everything that is happening now.
Before even beginning to contemplate how we tackle and navigate something like the threat of Ebola on a practical, hands-on level, we have to keep it in its proper context. We have to keep our eyes on Christ – His nature as revealed in His Word – as we look into the face of this beast, lest we fall prey to any of the many distractions of the world what would lead us to denial or despair by leading us away from the Master of all things in His creation (including Ebola).
Having confirmed that necessary foundation, we are then, as diligent, obedient, and confident ambassadors of the King, called to act in a manner consistent with His nature, which means that we are to lead the way and set an example for others to follow where wise stewardship and preparations are concerned.
That said, let’s be clear about one important thing: We do not put our faith or our hope in our preparations, but in Him who has called us to prepare.
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We also do not prepare out of fear of anything or anyone in this world. We know who is in complete control here. We can and should trust and rest in Him completely.
Faux Faith Fueled Apathy and Laziness
Far too often, professed believers shirk their duty to acknowledge, much less engage, any number of clear and present threats in the name of “faith”, when all that they are doing in truth is justifying their own laziness and apathy by wrapping it in a false humility and Christian terminology that is divorced from the true nature of Christ the King as revealed in His Word.
Ignoring a problem is not an “act of faith”…at least an act of faith in the God of Christianity.
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Shirking responsibility, ignoring clear signs, and pretending that reality is something other than what it is – these are each manifestations of unbelief…no matter how much churchy lingo one attaches to them.
With that understood, I’d like to begin a series of posts dedicated to hands-on preparation with some general suggestions.
These suggestions are general in the sense that they do not take into account any particular geographic, logistic, or health concerns that may apply to many folks. They are meant to represent a normal starting point from which individuals and families can work and modify to suit their individual needs.
As I roll through these presentations, I want to make plain that I make no claim to expertise here and am very much learning as I go. With that in mind, I strongly encourage anyone with solid information to share it in the comments feed attached to this post. Lord willing, we will al learn, grow, and prepare better as a result of what we share and consider here.
And on to the first general suggestions for preparation in the face of Ebola…
FearlesPreparedness.com recently posted an excellent article entitled Crash Course on Ebola Preparedness. I highly recommend giving it a look.
As for a list of essential or near-essential basics that we should all strive to have on hand in our homes, Crash Course provides some very affordable and practical suggestions.
Any preparation list is likely to begin with food and water, of course. The following food items (taken from the article mentioned above) should be both A) likely to be acquired for around $150 when purchased in bulk, and B) provide a family of four with a daily diet of around 3,000 calories per person for one month.
A 3,000 calorie count is solid for an active adult, and one month’s supply should be the bare minimum that is kept on hand. Obviously, you can adjust these amounts based on the size of your family and the daily calorie count desired (though dipping below 2,000 calories per person per day is probably a bad idea). That said, here’s an example list of suggested foods that are both economical and practical to feed a family of four for one full month:
- 50 pounds of dry beans and/or lentils
- 50 pounds of rice
- 12.5 pounds of oats
- 12.5 pounds of split peas
- 12.5 pounds of pasta
- 6 pounds of popcorn
- 6 pounds of peanut butter
- 4.6 lbs (a little over half a gallon) of coconut oil and/or olive oil
- 6 pounds of sweetener of your choice (sugar, sucanat, honey, etc.)
- 2.5 pounds of salt
- 2.5 pounds of sprouting seeds
- other seasonings/shelf-stable condiments
- canned goods (fish, meat, beans, veggies, etc.)
- shelf-stable snacks of your choice (nuts, dried fruit, pretzels/crackers, bottled juice, chocolate…)
In addition to food, you will want to ensure a safe source of drinking water for your family.
On the subject of water storage and/or filtration, Crash Course offers the following sound advice:
Water Storage Solutions:
I’d avoid re-using milk jugs and other used beverage containers – the plastic breaks down quickly and it’s hard to get them clean and sterile inside. Used buckets from bakeries can be used.
Stored water should be treated with chlorine or H2o2.
The Sawyer .1 water filter is the best inexpensive filter available and it even beats many of the more expensive units – it can filter out bacteria and has a high flow rate. They run from $20-40 on Amazon for different models and have an almost unlimited lifespan. In addition, I would store bleach for water treatment. A few drops of bleach per quart of water will kill viruses within about 15 minutes – the bleach can then be neutralized with Sodium Ascorbate (a kind of Vitamin C powder). Use only non-scented, plain, bleach.
Other items that should be on hand at all times include:
- Basic medical supplies. In the event of a quarantine situation, you and your family are not going to have access to normally available medical care. Bandages, gauze, disinfectants, medical tape, and even Super Glue can be very useful in dealing with many wounds. Having basic medicines on hand (Asprin, Ibuprofin, etc.), and accessories like a Sam Splint, Nitrile Gloves, CPR Mask, Emergency Blanket, Irrigation Syringe, Trauma Shears is also a very good idea. (Again, consult the Crash Course article for more detail.)
- Basic electronic equipment (and batteries!). A battery powered FM radio and flashlight are important to keep handy. And definitely do not forget to keep extra batteries on hand. Walkie-talkies are an excellent idea as well.
- Non-electric cooking/heating unit. There are a variety of options here, many using storable pellets that can heat up food or frozen toes without smoking out a room. (I may try to do detailed reviews of specific options later.) Don’t forget the matches or fire-starting fuels needed here.
- Basic tools. A shovel, an axe, a knife, and a machete are all good to have around. It also might be a good idea to keep a can opener set aside with your canned prep foods, if you have a lot of them stored in a particular place.
- Fire extinguisher.
- Fuel for cooking.
- At least one weapon-grade firearm and plenty of ammunition.
One other item covered in Crash Course is some sort of biological protection gear:
I would recommend some form of N95 (or better) mask or respirator, rubber gloves (not disposable, with a large cuff), and eye protection. If you are at higher risk of exposure to people, consider adding some Tyvek coveralls and duck tape to create your own semi-disposable clean suit. Or, military surplus NBC suits are only about $20.
Bleach is effective in killing Ebola and disinfecting just about anything. A 5% solution is what’s used for washing/disinfecting equipment/suits (30 minute contact time required). 0.5% for washing skin.
Hopefully this information will provide those of us who have not yet prepared with the motivation, information, and encouragement to do so, for the sake of our families as well as for the sake of our testimony as biblically coherent Christians who do not avoid dealing with the challenges posed in this world out of fear, but instead embrace those challenges as opportunities to glorify God and benefit His people through happy, thoughtful obedience to His Word.
Hopefully it will also inspire those of us who have begin to prepare responsibly to test our preparations against the suggestions here and then share with others our own thoughts on this important and timely subject.
Thank you for taking the time to read through and consider these things. Thank you as well for your patience with my lack of expertise, and to FearlesPreparedness.com for providing a good launch point for this conversation.
Lord willing, we will all continue to learn, grow, and stand more effectively for Him as we go along, day by day, week by week, and month by month…right on into our never-ending eternal adventure…by His grace and for His glory.
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