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Reacting to a Contagion

An article by Northern Raider from Preppers UK. This article was originally a comment on this site under Population Reduction by deserved further distribution. Posted with permission of NR.

With the advent of the new movie CONTAGION and as we head back into the winter I thought we could look at preps to minimise the threat from global pandemics, IE what real world practical steps you can take to protect yourself from a worldwide outbreak of a highly contagious disease.

Obviously the greater threat lies to those who insist on living in larger towns and cities and those who use public transport systems, especially to those who continue to shop and work DURING an outbreak. But rural communities can be just as easily infected if refugees or wildlife carrying the virus pass through your community

INTEL GATHERING, if you are to survive a plague be it viral or bacterial you absolutely must have first rate intelligence coming in. You must study multiple media sources to see how the outbreak is progressing, For example an outbreak may be ravaging the European continent but not yet have reach the US or UK, that gives you time to prepare BUT only for a very short time if international air travel is still happening. If planes are coming and going from abroad you know that in seat 32A on the flight into Heathrow or JFK someone is brewing a fever, and that same person is going to use the subway or underground to reach the city centre.

Your best real world defence is SELF RELIANCE & ISOLATION, if you are not exposed to the disease you cannot normally get it unless it is an airborne pathogen. Do not believe the government advice of to ‘not panic and keep working’ because this has more to do with protecting the economy and little to do with caring for the community. It’s amazing how quick the authorities will use the quarantine and isolation cards on individuals but we try and any costs to keep everyone else out and about working, earning and shopping.

If we are on the receiving end of a really nasty virus your best defence is to not become exposed to it until at least a tried and tested inoculation is available. You need to bug in and lock down until the crisis has passed. You will need to stop travelling into cosmopolitan areas or areas with large public transport hubs, you may need to stay away from work, and certainly visits to the Theatre, Movies, Diners and Malls must stop. You may choose to keep your kids away from school especially if the outbreak is claiming lots of lives.

Buses and bus stations, taxis, trains and stations, planes and airports, ferry’s, boats and harbours must be avoided and especially underground rapid transit systems must be avoided.

To achieve this you will need to have a good cache / stockpile of FOOD, WATER, MEDICAL and FUEL supplies, enough at least to sustain you in isolation for a month or more.

You need high quality foods to help keep you as healthy as possible so ensure you have vitamin supplements as well and a broad range of food. It must be able to survive storage for extended periods without refrigeration. Of course there is nothing wrong with consuming the fresh produce from your fridge or freezer at the start of the self-imposed quarantine, far wiser to use it and eat it than to let it go to waste. But in general you must plan on a diet of tinned, freeze dried and basic essentials like flour, rice, pasta, preserves etc to sustain you for the duration. Make sure you have enough formula etc for infants to sustain them for a long period.

You will need lots of clean drinking quality water, both for drinking and for keeping everything as clean as possible, your home / retreat and personal hygiene must be first rate. I keep a full box of 72 tubs of alcohol based hand sanitizer to deploy around the house, bathroom and kitchen, I keep aerosols of Detol and Detox sprays to spray onto work surfaces and crockery. I have gallons of concentrated Flash liquid to keep floors clean and sterile.

ALL WATER regardless of source will be passed through our Berkfield water filter fitted with the silver treated ceramic filter candles.

Each person will have one individual set of coloured pots, pans and eating irons that no one else can use.

If we have to go into LOCK DOWN the family pets are going to have to get used to living outdoors for the duration, we cannot take the risk of them bringing in any disease on their coats or paws.

No Mail or Parcel deliveries will be accepted during the crisis unless the contents and packaging can be sterilised before they are brought into the retreat.

All waste will be sprays with disinfectant and if we are unable to incinerate it in the garden it will be double bagged and stored.

Plastic sheeting, nylon tarps, various plastic bags, roles of duct tape etc will be kept to seal up windows and doors that are not required for ventilation or entry / exit from the retreat, or for wrapping any unfortunate people who pass away during the outbreak.

All clothing that has been outdoors will be treated or washed to kill off any pathogens as will be any tools.

Note that disposable face / dust / particulate masks tend to only be effective against pathogens for about 20 minutes because as soon as your breath makes the cloth moist it loses its protective value. So wear one whilst putting the garbage out in a lock down situation but dont rely on one for any length of time.

A very substantial medical kit is kept with an extra set of all prescription medicines and items such as dentures, eye glasses, insulin pumps and syringes

Anti-viral medications do not always work and viruses can mutate at an alarming rate soon making themselves resistant to AV drugs.

You are going to need enough fuel to heat your home for at least one month independently of the national gas and electricity networks. If the power workers go sick it could be months before the power comes back on. You must have enough fuel to keep your home or retreat warm and lit AND to ensure you can continue to provide plentiful hot water for essential hygiene protocols, cooking and cleaning for the duration of an extended outbreak. Heating oil, coal, firewood, bottled gas etc should be a high priority issue before a pandemic stops normal commerce or drives prices through the roof.

You must also keep enough treated and stored fuel to keep your vehicles ready in case you need to bug out if your area becomes too dangerous to remain in.

8 comments to Reacting to a Contagion

  • fred

    I used to keep enough wood for the whole winter and had an open fire inside – could cook on it too. Maybe I should do that again.

  • northern raider

    Fred that is exactly what I am now trying to do, after working for Eon for a while I became certain that the cost of fuel for heating our homes is going to double within ten years just like council tax did. I note also the sale of wood burning stoves has risen by over 70% in 2 years, what does that tell you.

    I have piled scavenged timber in my garage, conservatory and garden store to dry out to under 10% moisture. Scavenged wood is by far the cheapest way to stay warm.

  • Skean Dhude


    Good plan you only lose space for a while.


    A lot of people are looking at this and not just preppers. One of the guys up our street has had a wood burning stove installed. It’s against council rules here but few know and it is a quiet street.

  • northern raider

    Not many people know,INCLUDING many council officers to can now buy CLEAN AIR legal multi fuel and wood burning stoves for No Smoke zones. My own is an Aga Little Wenlock CE. Councils cant object to them on emmision grounds.

    i’ve got a little article on my hunt for stoves I’ll post.

  • northern raider

    Surge in popularity of wood burning stoves

    I have been out this afternoon to quickly have a look at the wood burning stoves on sale around here. B & Q sell them as does Machine Mart and many independent stores.
    I bought mine from a local independent store because I like to help keep local businesses flourishing, and you tend to get better product knowledge and customer service from small ventures.

    In the UK sales of wood burning stoves is increasing by about 30% a year with some company’s models having waiting lists of up to 6 months. In my own area one store reports and increase in sales of over 70% in a year. You can be pretty sure that survivalists, preppers, off-gridders and smallholders are among the main buyers.

    I recently had an AGA Little Wenlock Classic stove fitted in my house, it burns both wood and all sorts of smokless fuels, It cost £585 but you can but reasonable quality CAST IRON stoves from about £250, but you do get what you pay for.

    The better stoves are designed to be very clean burning and fuel efficient with many types being up to 81 % efficient, that’s pretty good going. The better quality ones will also have an air-wash system that really does help keep the glass much cleaner in the door.
    You can buy CAST IRON, Cast Iron and Steel hybrids and all steel stoves. Providing you don’t want it to be portable Cast Iron is the best bet for long term service and durability, plus cast iron stays hot much longer than steel those giving you maximum heat for the fuel you burn. You can also get them that have built in water boilers.
    (If you need a lightweight portable wood burner have a look around for the FRONTIER Stove )

    Installation, In the UK Wood burners have to be installed or inspected and certified by a HETAS installer (The wood stoves version of GAS SAFE/CORGI), or be inspected by the local council. Be careful some councils charge £300 just to look up your chimney.

    Maintenance, it is advised you have your chimney swept about every year to 18 months to prevent chimney fires or blockages in the system gassing you to death.

    On my stove the ash pan needs cleaning out about every 4 days if the stove is used every day, its just a matter of emptying the ashpan into the bin when the contents are cold ( You can use it to melt icy roads or make soap if you are inclined too). And an occasional cleaning of the glass door panel and that’s about it.

    On multi fuel stoves you need a clean griddle for coal to burn best, but if burning wood it prefers to sit atop a layer of ashes or last nights remaining fuel.

    My own wood burner replaces a gas fire and its only being fed salvaged timber from scrap wood, old pallets or pieces of windfall tree limbs, So long as you check the moisture content of the wood is under 20% you wont have any problems, but try not to burn wood that has been painted or chemically treated.

  • northern raider

    Oops silly me I forgot the specs

    The Aga Little Wenlock Classic SE Woodburning Stove is a dedicated Smoke Exempt (SE) version of the best selling Little Wenlock Classic. A perfect blend of old and new, the stove combines cutting edge technology with traditional cast iron style and performance.

    The stove is specifically designed to burn wood and burns it so efficiently it meets the stringent requirements of the Clean Air Act. Due to the low particulate emissions this product is fully approved to burn wood in smoke control zones.


    •Heat output 4.7kW
    •Matt black finish
    •Airwash system for cleaner glass
    •Interchangeable wood burning plate for wood
    •Rotating grate for easy de-ashing
    •Primary and secondary air controls
    •Cool touch black handle

  • Skean Dhude

    Cool. I bet like all modern kit is needs the fuel to meet stringent standards as well.

    • northern raider

      Nup just dry wood or smokeless fuels, I use nowt but scavenged fallen timber I dry out for 3 months.

      Free heat my favourite type 🙂

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