With Ebola having arrived in the U.S. only recently, most Americans haven’t had much reason to fret about the potentially deadly virus until now. But for single mother Daisy Luther, publisher of the website The Organic Prepper, the virus has been on her radar for the better part of a year.
“I’ve been following this outbreak since it became a big deal in the media in March,” Luther said. “But this particular outbreak has defied all previous expectations and rules of an Ebola outbreak. So that has me concerned.”
Despite the rising tide of public concern, if not hysteria, preppers like Luther and Cat Ellis, who publishes the website HerbalPrepper.com, are confident that they’re prepared for even the worst-case scenario.
“Of course, I’m worried for loved ones because I’m a human being, but I’m not in an anxious headspace. And that’s because I prepare,” Ellis said. “I know I have put certain things aside. I have my resources to fall back on. I’ve made plans. And I have certain criteria set in place in case we suddenly have to go somewhere that’s less congested. That’s what prepping is all about.”
Luther and Ellis are not alone. So-called “preppers” and survivalists across the country increasingly are turning their attention to the Ebola virus and how Americans should get ready for whatever threat it might pose. For some, that includes stocking up on food and supplies.
“From reading various blogs and comments in social media, I would say the [prepper] community has a mixed reaction to Ebola, just like the general public,” said Bernie Carr, author of “The Prepper’s Pocket Guide” and the Apartment Prepper website. “On one hand, some are very concerned, while on the other hand some feel that this will soon pass, much like SARS or bird flu.”
Daisy Luther runs The Organic Prepper website.
Nonetheless, Carr said, everyday citizens should “be informed and aware of the developments regarding Ebola” while also making sure they “do their own research on the subject and bear in mind that many news sources may try to spread fear to boost ratings.”
Even though officials maintain Ebola is an extremely minor threat to Americans, here’s what some of the country’s most prominent preppers are saying about their readiness for a potential outbreak.
For several years now, Luther has been prepared for weathering a variety of calamities, which may include everything from natural disasters to the loss of a job. She has several months’ worth of food and water on hand, as well as basic necessities like a first aid kit and sanitation supplies.
But when she found out that Ebola had made its way to the U.S., Luther decided it was time to up the ante on her survival kit.
“When it was evident that Ebola was perhaps a little more contagious than the CDC assumed, I did go out and purchase some additional protective clothing and better-quality masks than what I had on hand,” Luther said. “But I didn’t have to add a lot of stuff. Because when you’re well prepared, your supplies can be used in a lot of different situations.”
Dr. James Hubbard urges caution in sifting through information about Ebola.
For those who may never have given a thought to this level of preparedness, Cat Ellis said the most important consideration is food and water.
“The most extreme preppers will tell you that you need to have a year’s worth of food on hand, but that’s probably a little too daunting for most people,” said Ellis, who publishes the website HerbalPrepper.com. “I would say to aim for a six-week supply of food and water. But start doing that now, because the time to prepare for something like this is not when you hear about 10 Ebola cases in your town.”
Dr. James Hubbard, a Colorado physician whose survival guides and TheSurvivalDoctor.com website promote first aid preparedness, also recommends storing medical supplies in a safe, easy-to-access location. In addition to the typical stuff like gauze, bandages, finger splints and adhesive tape, supplies should include a blood pressure cuff, sutures and an oximeter, which measures pulse and blood oxygen levels.
“And if you’re on any medications, make sure you get them filled at least a few days early so you don’t risk running out,” Hubbard said. “And with something like Ebola you might want to consider having some non-latex gloves and duct tape in supply.”
According to Dr. Joe Alton, a spokesman for the American Preppers Network and author of “The Survival Medicine Handbook,” the most productive step people can take is to stay up to date on new developments concerning Ebola in the U.S.
Dr. Joe Alton is author of “The Survival Medicine Handbook.”
“Ebola and hurricanes have one thing in common, and that’s the warnings we get before they reach our communities,” Alton said. “Everyone should keep a close eye on reports of where Ebola cases are popping up in different parts of the country. This will be very important. The more knowledge you have of the risks out there, the better prepared you will be.”
Hubbard said it’s equally important to consider the source of your information and to do your own research.
“If someone starts mentioning a bunch of facts about Ebola, go to the source and find those facts on your own. Don’t take anyone’s word for anything, because that’s how panic starts,” Hubbard said. “And if someone says, ‘I know something no one else is telling you,’ I would be very wary of that.”
Making a Plan
Even though she has little concern that an Ebola outbreak will force her family to pack up and head for more secluded environs, Ellis said she has just such a plan in place if the occasion were to arise.
“We live in a city of about 80,000 people, so we have a contingency in place if we need to leave,” Ellis said. “I would encourage people to reach out to a relative or friend who may live somewhere that’s a little less congested and set up a plan like this. But make sure you talk about this before hand. Don’t just show up at their door one day. Now is the time to think of a plan, while you’re in a calm state of mind.”
To read more about preppers’ storage needs, visit blog.sparefoot.com/5457-doomsday-prepping-storage.