black death placqueActually, zombies aren’t that dangerous, since in popular fiction they must make bodily fluid to blood contact in order to infect you. There are already diseases like this; HIV coming to mind. While deadly, it is not easily infectious to the general population.

Which leads to Rule #1. Do not have unprotected sex with a zombie.

TheStandCover6Of more concern is a pandemic that spreads easily. Pandemics have occurred throughout history and will happen again. One curse of our modern world is that a pandemic can spread around the globe rather quickly given air travel. Even travel by cars can spread one quickly, aka the opening of Stephen King’s epic: The Stand. Which leads to Rule #2: Don’t go to Vegas during the pandemic apocalypse. Nothing good awaits.

A pandemic is an epidemic of an infectious disease that spreads through the population across a large region.

How it spreads is critical. There is a key tipping point in the formula for how deadly a pandemic is: how fast does it spread, versus how quickly it kills the host. This is critical to keep in mind, once you start hearing news reports of a possible pandemic.

The Black Death killed an estimated 75 million in the mid-fourteenth century; this is when the entire world’s population was around 450 million, so that’s a big chunk. It was carried by fleas on black rats. While this might seem archaic, we are currently facing the possibility of another pandemic with the Zika virus that is carried by mosquitoes. While the major threat right now is to pregnant women and their newborns, many people don’t remember how bad malaria, also carried by mosquitoes, was—and still is.

Some scientists estimate that half of all humans who ever lived, died from malaria. The Union Army had more casualties from malaria in the Civil War than combat. The same for American forces in the Pacific during World War II. Malaria has not been eradicated and hundreds of thousands die from it every year.

The World Health Organization has a Six Stage influenza program, plus two Periods:

Stage 1 No animal influenza virus circulating among animals have been reported to cause infection in humans.

Stage 2 An animal influenza virus circulating in domesticated or wild animals is known to have caused infection in humans and is therefore considered a specific potential pandemic threat.

Stage 3 An animal or human-animal influenza reassortant virus has caused sporadic cases or small clusters of disease in people, but has not resulted in human-to-human transmission sufficient to sustain community-level outbreaks.

Stage 4 Human-to-human transmission of an animal or human-animal influenza reassortant virus able to sustain community-level outbreaks has been verified.

Stage 5 The same identified virus has caused sustained community level outbreaks in two or more countries in one WHO region.

Phase 6 In addition to the criteria defined in Phase 5, the same virus has caused sustained community level outbreaks in at least one other country in another WHO region. This is The Stand territory.

LOST PEAK PERIOD Levels of pandemic influenza in most countries with adequate surveillance have dropped below peak levels.

POST PANDEMIC PERIOD Levels of influenza activity have returned to the levels seen for seasonal influenza in most countries with adequate surveillance.

This is assuming we get past the Peak Period. And assuming YOU make it past Peak Period.

Rule #3: Even if you survive the pandemic, you still face a big danger from other people, aka Randall Flagg, Trachcan Man, Tom Cruise, Sharks flying through the air, and others.

According to the WHO, if an influenza pandemic were to emerge today, we could expect:

  1. As people today are highly internationally mobile, the pandemic virus would spread rapidly around the world.
  2. Vaccines, antiviral agents, and antibiotics to treat secondary infections would quickly be in short supply.
  3. Several months would be needed before any vaccine became available. This is because some pandemic viruses are new ones.
  4. Medical facilities would be overwhelmed.
  5. There would be sudden and potentially considerable shortages of personnel to provide vital community services as the illness became widespread.

What to do?

Depending on where you live and how much you travel will determine what your chances of getting infected. If you live in an urban setting, the chances are higher. Whether it’s a pandemic or just the flu, here are basic steps to take:

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw it away after use.

Use a mask if you become aware that people are getting sick. You see those people wearing masks on planes and in airports and think they’re foolish? I’m joining their ranks for my next trip. Every time I come home, I’m hacking up something. And then my wife gets it. She’s worse than zombies when she gets sick. So I’m doing it as a pre-emptive for my home survival too. But airports and hospitals are cesspools of infection.

Wash your hands with soap and water. Use disinfection.

Stay away from the sick people. That sounds easy, but what if you’re a first responder or a health care provider?

Stay away from crowds. I’m not a fan of crowds in general.

If it’s a true pandemic, it’s not likely that a hospital is a place to go, as it will quickly become overwhelmed with the sick and dying. And be the place where the pandemic is concentrated.

The bottom line is to stay aware and isolate yourself and your team as quickly as possible.

If the situation is so chaotic and there is no order to evacuate, evaluate things. I believe cities are a poor place to be caught in an extreme emergency, most especially a pandemic, but balance that against the wave of humanity that will be trying to get out of the city. If there is no immediate or pending threat, is it better to wait until the situation has clarified a bit? The key here is whether your hide site is attainable and stocked. To evacuate without a destination is often worse than staying put. Of course, you have a destination because you’re read The Green Beret Survival Guide for the Apocalypse, Zombies, and More and prepared your hide site and your family’s emergency rally point. ERP. Right?

This goes back to always have a plan.

As far as zombies? You’ve apparently got two types. The slow and the fast.

For the slow? Run.

For the fast? Run faster than the person next to you.

And if you’re getting your survival tips from Walking Dead or Fear the Walking Dead?

You’re dead already.

SurvivalFinal_KindleBoardsHere’s the real key: you can’t isolate yourself if you’re not prepared. If you’ve read my other survival blogs, the one thing I keep going back to is PREPARATION. Could you hunker down for a month without having to have contact with other humans? Or longer? Could you stay isolated long enough to let the pandemic burn through? Do you have a hide site that is isolated? Do you have right medical kits already packed? Your grab-n-go bags?

Yep. Get the The Green Beret Survival Guide for the Apocalypse, Zombies & More (vampires are covered too). Or some other survival book, and get prepared.