The 4 Steps Of Bioterrorism Preparedness

Sesame Street's The Count counting GIF

If you can count to four, you can make a bioterror plan! The stakes are high, so it might seem daunting, but with a little memorization and some cheat sheets, you’ll be miles ahead once disaster strikes. Here are 4 things you can do:

the 4 steps of bioterrorism preparedness
  1. Build an emergency support kit.

If you need to evacuate your home and move to a safe space, an emergency go bag will help you make the move quickly. It will also keep you equipped for surviving without your usual resources, at least for 48 to 72 hours. Once you’ve created your home emergency kit, make sure you have an emergency kit of portable essentials in each vehicle as well, in case you are unable to return to your home.

Including duct tape, plastic sheeting, and ponchos in your kit can help seal your home or car in the event of an aerosol attack. You’ll also want to print out the table below for quick reference in the event of symptoms. Having a good idea of your symptoms and what might have caused them will help you get quicker care. Bonus points for laminating your cheat sheet!

the 4 steps of bioterrorism preparedness
* Incubation periods listed are for naturally occurring outbreaks, which could differ for agents used as weapons.
Data for incubation period, lethality, and persistency from U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases Blue Book, August 2004.
  1. Create a family emergency plan.

No one can plan around a bioterrorism attack, so it may happen when you’re with your family, but it’s just as likely you’ll be apart. That means you’ll need a plan to ensure that everyone remains safe and connected.

As an HCTA pro, you already know you’ll need different strategies for each disaster, so as you create your family emergency plans, create a binder for your home with the detailed plans as well as a bullet point print out for each family member that they can carry for easy reference.

  1. Be up-to-date with immunizations.

It’s tough to get immunized against unknown agents, but do ask your doctor if they’ve uncovered the secrets of time travel and are able to administer some future vaccines. It never hurts to ask!

If they aren’t time lords, your doctors should still be able to ensure you and your family are up to date on all of your temporally relevant and currently available immunizations.

Rule of Thumb

Please let us know if you manage to find a time traveling doctor.

  1. Get HEPA filters.

If you don’t already have them in your house, it’s time to jump on the bandwagon. The good news is that the hype is real. HEPA stands for high efficiency particulate air (filter) and they are designed to remove almost 100% of airborne particles larger than 0.3 microns.

Having HEPA filters on all parts of your HVAC system will help eliminate contaminants from your home in the event of an aerosol bioterrorism event, and give you the added bonus of keeping your indoor air safe if your home is in the path of smoke from a nearby wildfire.

Let’s go over some specifics that will help you hone your emergency kit and your family emergency plan!

About the Authors

It takes a village! We are researching, writing and fact checking as a family. Collaboration is the name of the game, whether we’re running from a zombie horde or finding the best way to turn a complex concept into a deliciously digestible set of bullet points.

Katherine Esperanza is a Los Angeles based writer. When she's not conjuring new queer slice-of-life short stories, she's busy watching the newest films, out at queer shows, supporting queer artists, or just checking out the queer community as a whole.

A former international non-profiteer, small business owner, and co-op'er, Katherine is delighted to help introduce more leftist politics into the disaster preparedness/prepper sphere, which is currently far too right-wing.