COVID-19 Considerations…

We haven’t posted much to the blog recently for obvious reasons…. but I thought it was time to share a few thoughts and observations. First of all, I’m going to try to keep this as germane as possible to the core mission of the blog. But, I’m also going to approach the subject from the biased perspective of a healthcare provider. While most everybody will soon be advised to stay home as states across our nation increasingly shut down everything except essential services, I will continue to go to work full-time as an emergency medical provider. I’m glad I still have a paycheck, but at what potential cost?

For those that still think this situation is being blown out of proportion, I would encourage you to suit up in full PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and climb into my ambulance with an acutely ill and febrile PUI (Person Under Investigation) and contemplate what you may be exposed to and taking home to your family that includes a wife, children, and elderly parent in your home. That, of course, assumes that full PPE is available… in the very near future, it might not be. We’re already reusing disposable masks due to shortages. Is the media complicit in panic, hoarding, and hysteria? Absolutely. Is the threat real? Yes, I think so. I hope I’m wrong, but pandemics are historically proven phenomena. Robert made a profoundly accurate comment to me yesterday as we were discussing the situation. In his words, “I just find it funny how much gun people yell at other gun people to ‘stay in your lane,’ yet how many have suddenly become infectious disease experts.” Amen. Folks, this IS NOT the flu.

With that rant over, I very much agree with a point that ISG (Integrated Skills Group) made recently. Whether or not the response to COVID-19 is justified or not, we’re in it and need to deal with it. To that end, I’m going to try to offer some thoughts and resources below. Note that this information is correct as of 3/24/20. The situation continues to evolve rapidly on a daily, if not hourly, basis.

Let me first address the subject matter that is core to our mission here at the blog. By all accounts, there are a whole lot of new gun owners out there, as well as a lot of people that learned some hard lessons about the gun control laws that they voted (by proxy) to enact. Be kind to those that learned the hard lessons, and help those that are now part of the gun owning public. Two resources that I immediately want to highlight are Claude Werner’s efforts at his new Facebook page New Firearms Owner Information Page and John Correia’s new video project at Active Self Protection Extra. Please share these with new gun owners that you encounter. If you know of a new gun owner, offer to take them to the range. You don’t have to be an instructor to share knowledge and demonstrate safe gun handling. This is an unprecedented opportunity to fundamentally change how some view gun ownership. In many respects, we are witnessing the transition to a new normal.

If you share nothing else with new gun owners, take the time to explain the four cardinal rules of gun safety. Teach them to load and unload their guns, and impress upon them the importance of safe storage… even if it’s just a simple toolbox with a padlock.

There are going to be some long term and wide-ranging consequences from this pandemic. If you’re not already adequately prepared, use this as incentive to begin today! As I write this, the stores are still relatively well stocked. Toilet paper, of all things, is hard to come by. But even for that, there are alternatives! Cleaning and disinfecting agents are hard to find, as are supplements such as Vitamin C and Zinc. Good luck finding cough and cold remedies. The supply of guns and ammunition is largely gone. Stuff can still be found, but at higher prices and with longer delivery times. Many people are facing a financial crisis as they have been forced out of work and onto unemployment. Other retired people are watching their IRAs diminish by the day. Education methods are fundamentally changing.

Unfortunately, if you’ve waited until now to prep, you’re already way behind the curve. In the immediate future, if you’re able, support those around you. If you find yourself in need, look to your family and community for support. Like it our not, we are all in this together. If you’re one of the ones confined to your home, lay out a plan for the day that includes both education and recreation. Do work, whatever needs to be done. In the future (and yes, there will be a future), get your home in order. What does this mean?

If you don’t have a savings account and cash on hand, you need to. Consistent small efforts can yield big results over time. Over time, it might be wise to diversify your investments and income streams.

If you don’t have adequate food stores on hand, follow these strategies. Start buying a little extra of the things you like to eat. Keep some dry storage on hand, and fill your freezer with frozen vegetables and your protein of choice. Buy some heirloom seeds and start a garden, even if its just a container garden. Spring will be here soon. Once the supply chain is restored, start buying Mountain House or other freeze dried meals that you like on a regular basis. Prepare one every once in a while or use them for camping or hunting trips to rotate through your supply (H/T Kevin Estela @estalawilded).

Take Greg Ellifritz’s Tactical First Aid and System Collapse Medicine class. Have some basic first aid supplies, some pertinent medications, and the training to use them on hand. Take it from someone on the medical front lines today… people are afraid to go to the hospital right now, a lot of doctor’s offices are closed, and in many respects, you just might be on your own or better served to stay and treat at home.

If you were to lose power, do you have a generator and gas for it on hand? Would you be able to have running water? (By way of example, I have a well and a water pump. As long as I have power, I have water.) If your water source was biologically contaminated, do you have clean water storage on hand? People in hurricane country know this drill well.

Do you have a gun and ammunition for it? Do you know how to use it effectively to defend yourself and your family? If not, let this be a call to action. Start buying a little extra ammunition every time you make a purchase, and build up a good supply over time. There are always inevitable shortages, and having a supply to draw from for training or practice is a good thing. Understand that there is NEED to have and NICE to have in terms of guns and ammo. If you want to round out your arsenal, check out this article that I wrote a few years back. Take a training class every year, and practice what you learn. Especially if you’re a new gun owner, use this time that you might be confined at home to dry fire. Make it a habit that continues beyond this current crisis.

Let me share a few other valuable prepping resources. Mike Seeklander and Rich Brown of the American Warrior Society have a great page dedicated to preparing for and understanding this pandemic. In addition, Michael Bane recently got the former hosts of The Best Defense together to have a roundtable discussion about the pandemic. The preceding link takes you to the video available online, and the audio was also featured on The American Warrior Show podcast episode 213.

So basic preps aside, what can you do right now? Stay inside and away from social settings as much as you can. The entire point of social distancing is to avoid shedding the virus if you’re infected but asymptomatic. If you suspect you’re infected, self-quarantine and don’t put others at risk. Wash your hands frequently, and especially before and after using the bathroom and before eating. In as much as possible, don’t touch your face. If you start to have fever AND shortness of breath, seek professional medical evaluation. If you do so by calling 911, please tell the dispatcher your symptoms. By the same token, please don’t exaggerate your symptoms. We have protocols in place to deal with these situations.

If you’re not physically fit, start now. If nothing else, take a daily walk and get some sunshine. The healthier you are, the better you can withstand being sick and avoid getting sick.

Have a plan in place for those that may approach your home. Be wary of visitors and don’t open the door to unknown people. Be circumspect and discreet about your preparations, as there are those that may decide that they want what you have. Desperate people do desperate things, and many police departments are already on record saying that the are not going to respond to property crimes. At the same time, to reduce crowding and disease in correctional facilities, violent criminals are being released back into society.

If you have to leave your home, have a protocol in place for when you get back home. By way of example, if I transport a PUI at work, when I get home, I enter my home through my basement, place my uniform directly into the washing machine, and leave my boots downstairs. Then I go upstairs and directly into the shower. At a bare minimum, I wash my hands before greeting my kids.

I do want to share one disinfecting idea that I haven’t seen widely shared elsewhere… in the interests of full disclosure, this is conjecture on my part! I am not a virologist! I have a Scent Crusher Ozone Gear Bag that my lovely bride purchased for me a few years ago. The idea is to use it to deodorize hunting gear, which is my primary use for it. Some preliminary research reveals that ozone kills SARS. SARS is very similar to the corona virus… my practice now is to put my uniform outerwear, boots, and other accessories into the bag and run it for a cycle when I get home every day. This could conceivably be used as a method to disinfect package deliveries, shoes, clothes, or anything else that is not conducive to being wiped down or washed. Plus, it doesn’t require anything else other than a power source to use. I’ve linked to the version I have above. Be advised, this is an Amazon Affiliate link. Purchasing through that link will benefit us here at the blog at no extra cost to you, and as always, we appreciate the support!

As always, thanks for reading! As always, we welcome questions, comments, and civil discourse. Please follow our work here at the blog either by e-mail or on social media. We are all in this together. Indeed, we have no other choice.

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