Ebola, urban survival: Preparing for the worst

DIAMOND VALLEY – More than 100 people turned out at the old Diamond Valley Fire Station Tuesday night to learn how to survive a pandemic. The class was prompted by the recent outbreaks of the Ebola virus in various parts of the world.

Ebola outbreak

According to the World Health Organization website, more than 1,711 confirmed cases of Ebola have resulted in 932 deaths as of Aug. 4.

Prep meeting in Diamond Valley. Diamond Valley Fire House. Aug 12, 2014 | Photo by T.S Romney St. George News
Prep meeting at Diamond Valley Fire House, Diamond Valley, Utah, Aug 12, 2014 | Photo by T.S. Romney St. George News

Ebola virus disease – formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever – is a severe, often fatal illness with a case fatality rate of up to 90 percent. It is one of the world’s most virulent diseases. The infection is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected animals or people.

According to the WHO website:

The outbreak of Ebola virus disease in west Africa continues to evolve in alarming ways, with no immediate end in sight. Many barriers stand in the way of rapid containment. The most severely affected countries, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, have only recently returned to political stability following years of civil war and conflict, which left health systems largely destroyed or severely disabled.

On Aug. 8, WHO declared that the recent Ebola outbreak — the largest and longest in history — is worrisome enough to merit being declared an international health emergency. WHO declared a similar emergency situation for the swine flu outbreak in 2009.

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has already elevated its Ebola response to the highest level and has cautioned against traveling to West Africa. On Aug. 7, CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden stated at a congressional hearing that the current outbreak is set to sicken more people than all previous outbreaks of the disease combined. Frieden also told the congressional panel the U.S. could expect isolated cases, but well-prepared hospitals could prevent a widespread epidemic.

Diamond Valley meeting

Prep meeting in Diamond Valley. Diamond Valley Fire House. Aug 12, 2014 | Photo by T.S Romney St. George News
Prep meeting at Diamond Valley Fire House, Diamond Valley, Utah, Aug 12, 2014 | Photo by T.S. Romney St. George News

Kevin Reeve, with OnPoint Tactical, has been teaching survival for almost 20 years and has been teaching scouting, tracking and urban survival to Navy SEAL teams and Special Forces groups. After what his company witnessed during Hurricane Katrina, it was decided that OnPoint Tactical would expand its services to the civilian market.

“I did not expect over 100 people,” Reeve said at the beginning of the meeting. “I’m happy. This may save your life.”

Reeve began the meeting by stressing that the mortality rate of Ebola is between 60-95 percent. He then contrasted Ebola with the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, which killed between 50 million and 100 million people; Spanish flu only had a mortality rate of between 2.5-5 percent.

“I am trying to scare you a little bit, right up front,” Reeve said. “I am doing that so you will know how serious this is and pay attention on how to survive.”

Reeve said pandemics happen about every 60 years, with the last one being in 1918.

“Ebola is a hemorrhagic fever,” he said. “What that means is this disease causes your internal organs to hemorrhage. Essentially, your internal organs liquefy. Ebola incubation period is 2-21 days, and you are contagious for sure when you are symptomatic.”

Southwest Director of Emergency Preparedness and Response Paulette Valentine, who was also in attendance at the Tuesday night meeting, addressed the crowd, saying:

Currently, if you have traveled to any country and come back to Washington County, you are on a 21-day watch. We already do a good job of protecting and doing what we can right now.

Reeve said he recently read an article that stated in many of the African countries where Ebola virus disease is rampaging, the health care workers, such as doctors and nurses, have died of exposure or have left to avoid dying of exposure. The article also said people who fear they are getting sicker in the hospitals are leaving and spreading it out into the population.

“Based on the average number people come into contact with, they developed the rule of 20,” Reeve said, “that each contagious person will infect 20 more people – then they infect 20. After one iteration, we have 400 people infected; after two iterations, it’s 8,000; three, it’s 160,000; four, it’s 640,000; after five, it’s 128 million people. All from one person infected.”

Reeve said the only sure way to prevent the disease is through isolation, social distancing, or what used to be called self-imposed quarantine.

“The typical thinking is that it takes 90 days for a disease to pass through an area,” Reeve said. “If in the first pass it has not killed everyone that it’s going to, it will make a second pass around day 60, and usually by day 90 it has burned itself out.”

Reeve said the island kingdom of Samoa did not lose a single person or experience a single exposure due to Spanish flu because the residents isolated themselves. They shut down their ports and allowed people to leave the island, but no one was permitted onto the island.

“Social distancing means you lock the doors,” Reeve said. “Don’t have any social contact with anyone for any reason. I would not go outside, because I could randomly run into someone who is infectious. If I stay inside my home for 90 days, I will not get sick.”

Prep meeting in Diamond Valley. Diamond Valley Fire House. Aug 12, 2014 | Photo by T.S Romney St. George News
Prep meeting at Diamond Valley Fire House, Diamond Valley, Utah, Aug 12, 2014 | Photo by T.S. Romney St. George News

Reeve said people need to get ready now and will have to address food, water, medical needs, sanitation and being able to defend themselves for 90 days.

In some areas, utilities may remain functional for 90 days; in other areas, they may not, Reeve said, and people need to be prepared for that.

Reeve said if less than 10 percent of the workforce calls in sick, it could crash utility operations and other vital infrastructures.

“The military has what they call standard operating procedure, or SOPs,” Reeve said. “Your family needs to develop one in case of an emergency like this.”

Reeve said his family’s SOP is to move indoors and not have physical contact with anyone. Reeve said he has a border around the perimeter of his home – a chain link fence and a wall. Reeve said he will defend his border by any means necessary.

“If you come over my fence, you will be challenged,” he said.

Reeve said the only exception is family members. If a family member arrives during isolation, you should quarantine them outside for 21 days to make sure they are not infected, then you can allow them into your home.

“There will have to be someone in the family who volunteers to be ‘the outside man,’” Reeve said. “This person resides outside, in the yard between the walls and the fence.”

Reeve said this person’s job is to interact with anyone outside the border without getting close. The “outside man” handles all the logistics. The family puts the trash and waste outside in a “sally port,” or buffer zone, and the outside man takes care of it. He has no contact with the people inside the home. If the people inside the home need or run out of something, the outside man tries to locate it for them.

“The people who volunteer to do this job are heroes,” Reeve said.

These outside people will coordinate with other outside people, without close contact, to ensure the survival of the people inside the home. This way, community members can still interact and survive while in isolation.

“By the time the government makes an official announcement, you are behind,” Reeve said. “Be proactive in monitoring the situation. Start preparing now. If you wait till you hear about an outbreak in Las Vegas to run to the store and get supplies, you may encounter the other hundreds of people who had the same idea.”

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21 Comments

  • patricia johnson August 13, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    I think it is important to let people know what is going on but I think you went overboard with this article.

  • LgBPhDinme August 13, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    This is great. Likely would have been 1000 there if this had been well advertised. Offer it again and advertise it please.

  • Bender August 13, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    “If you come over my fence, you will be challenged” – when I read this I heard it in Dan Aykroyd’s voice.
    .
    Now that you know what the gun nut’s sensationalist take on Ebola is, wander over to:
    .
    http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/guinea/qa.html
    .
    and see what the scientists have to say.

    • Brian August 14, 2014 at 10:30 am

      Actually, the page you linked to has misinformation on it.

      Ebola CAN be transmitted through the air, just in liquid drops. So it isn’t truly airborne, but its false to say it can’t be transmitted through the air. See http://healthmap.org/site/diseasedaily/article/pigs-monkeys-ebola-goes-airborne-112112

      Ebola CAN be transmitted through contaminated food or drinks, because it is transmitted by bodily fluids (like saliva flying through the air, as in the article linked above). If someone that is sick coughs or spits in food or drink, and someone else eats that food or has contact with it, of course they can get sick.

      Additionally, the Ebola virus can survive for hours or even days on a cold, hard surface.

      And there is little comfort in people not being contagious until they have symptoms, because people go to work, church, shopping, movies, etc all the time with headaches, fevers, weakness, etc.

      The CDC and US media are colluding to downplay Ebola, but thinking it can’t come to America is pride, arrogance, and ignorance. If you think we’re beyond the reach of pandemics, you’re nuts.

      • Bender August 14, 2014 at 4:44 pm

        Brian, you are a typical dim-witted hysteric; looking for the sensational and conspiratorial in everything you read. The following is a direct quote from the article you reference:
        .
        “What do these findings mean? First and foremost, Ebola is not suddenly an airborne disease.”
        .
        On a related note, has Obama knocked on your door yet and demanded all of your firearms?

        • Brian August 15, 2014 at 6:51 am

          Read this part slower, see if it sticks: “Ebola CAN be transmitted through the air, just in liquid drops. So it isn’t truly airborne, but its false to say it can’t be transmitted through the air.” The CDC is trying to make people feel safe on airplanes, but the truth is you can easily catch Ebola from someone 5 rows away from a sneeze or a cough. This is not “airborne”, but the virus did travel through the air, not through direct physical contact. That’s the truth, and there is nothing hysterical about it.

          • Bender August 15, 2014 at 10:52 am

            Brian’s floppy intellect is a prime example of why we have people that believe in chemtrails, faked moon landing, ear candling, homeopathy and a foreign born president. Despite language that could not be more clear — “Ebola is not suddenly an airborne disease” — Brian is convinced that he has a deeper understanding of the issue and assures us that, in fact, the opposite it true.

          • EuropeanJoe October 7, 2014 at 4:00 am

            No, at the moment it cannot. The reason is that ebola does not infect the upper respiratory system, there aren’t enough viruses in the throat and lungs to get into the droplets one caughs or sneezes out.

            So while you’re right, that viruses that spread via bodily fluids can spread through droplets, ebola infected patients can’t produce such droplets. (BTW, I think all kind of airborne viruses travel trhough droplets.) According to virologists, this capability (to be able to spread through droplets) would be quite a substantial change for a virus and is not likely and also usually doesn’t happen to viruses, esp. if they have another effective way of infection. (Which doesn’t mean that it won’t happen, and the bigger the number of cases, the higher the chance. Another way, besides mutation, for viruses to evolve, is crossing with other viruses present in a patient. But then, this infection method has to be a lot more effective than the present one to spread and become dominant.)

        • EuropeanJoe October 7, 2014 at 4:09 am

          Well, the page you’ve linked doesn’t prove that ebola is easily avoidable in the West, and that self quarantining is stupid. Even if it only spreads through bodily fluids, you can easily get in touch with those in a big city, e.g. through shopping. Even prepackaged products go through the hands of a lot of people, who might indeed come in working for a few days being infectious. (Yes, I know that only symptomatic patients are infectious, but for sure there isn’t a sharp line between being and not being infectious.)

          So you don’t need ebola to be airborne in order to separate yourself from the network that the disease spreads in. (BTW, the less connected the network, the harder the virus spreads, so you are also doing good to the whole society.)

          While the enlisted methods may sound adequate to prevent from getting the disease, they aren’t. You are bound to make a mistake, not do good enough sanitization every now and then. Just think how all those medical workers got infected. E.g. the one in Spain, a nurse in a hospital treating a single infected patient. For sure they knew how to sanitize and what protocols to use to avoid the infection. They had equipment that normal people won’t have easy access to. Still… Of course, the chances getting the infection with proper care is a lot lower than say in Africa, but still one has a lot to lose.

  • x August 14, 2014 at 2:24 am

    Wow… I’ll have to stockpile aluminum foil now so I can make hats to block the brain scanners. I hope they took down the names of the 100 people that went to that seminar and put them on a watch list for mass shooting attacks or general Wacco Texas behaviors.

    • Willis August 14, 2014 at 12:41 pm

      Surely the WACO behavior you speak off was the government murder of numerous men, women and children. People of “interest” could have been arrested OUTSIDE of the compound, but FEDS were lazy, and Janet was crazy.
      .
      Only in America.

  • Ann August 14, 2014 at 8:21 am

    I found this article very interesting. I personally go with “the better safe than sorry” motto. Being prepared for an emergency is a very good idea. If you’re able to go ahead and stockpile enough food, water and whatever else you need to survive for a few months. It’s not like you’ll throw it out if some catastrophe doesn’t happen. Protection of property and self? Seems like a good idea to me.

  • chupacabra August 14, 2014 at 8:48 am

    While it’s great to be self sustaining in the event of catastrophic events, it sounds as if this meeting was more of a scare tactic to get those in fear of the apocalypse to buy supplies from the presenter. Maybe I’m off base, but the rhetoric here seems violent and and intended to incite an unnecessary fight or flight response from attendees.

  • Major Variola August 14, 2014 at 9:49 am

    The West will begin mining the harbors and cratering the airports so
    nothing can leave. They will landmine the jungle. Anything that
    leaves is sunk or shot. Snipers sans Frontieres. Quarantine with
    extreme prejudice.

    Civilization is a choice. Make it. Soon.

    Or don’t, and the population goes back to the under-billion level
    before the West started feeding everyone…

    Ebola… gets rid of african parasites like magic!

    • Bender August 14, 2014 at 4:52 pm

      And the racist hillbilly creep weighs in with his thoughtful insights. Get off the computer VARIOLA, there’s a Here Comes Honey Boo Boo marathon playing on the television — you’ll not want to miss a second.

  • BOBBER August 14, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    THE QUESTION YOU HAVE TO ASK YOURSELF: “DO I HAVE ENOUGH GUNS AND AMMO TO SURVIVE THIS?” OBAMAS COMIN’ TO TAKE OUR GUNS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT’S A MUSLIM SOCIALIST CONSPIRACY!!

    • Bobber's Brain August 14, 2014 at 2:55 pm

      Has anyone seen me?

  • BOBBER August 14, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    AND DON’T FORGET ABOUT BENGHAZI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • conrad August 18, 2014 at 5:31 am

    Interesting, but why not just cure it. the information is out there. try reading about ozone, colloidal silver, electrocuting viruses, herbs and plants, but there is no money in a free cure.

  • Julie A. August 18, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    This article does strike me as much more inflammatory than helpful.

  • EuropeanJoe October 7, 2014 at 4:19 am

    Well, the presenter was horribly wrong with the case of Samoa. According to wikipedia: ” Similarly, in Samoa in November 1918, 20% of the population of 38,000 died within two months.” Also he claimed a 2.5-5% mortality rate, while wikipedia says: “The global mortality rate from the 1918/1919 pandemic is not known, but an estimated 10% to 20% of those who were infected died.” and “With about a third of the world population infected, this case-fatality ratio means 3% to 6% of the entire global population died.” (Note that these claims all have references that can be checked, while the presenter just threw in the numbers.)

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