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Quarantine and Isolation: The View from Across The Pond

One thing that we should all be considering is how we look after our health after an event. We need to make sure that we treat wounds well and keep ourselves healthy.

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Quarantine and Isolation: The View from Across The Pond


One thing that we should all be considering is how we look after our health after an event. We need to make sure that we treat wounds well and keep ourselves healthy.

I’m not a medical expert but the one area I am concerned about is disease rather than physical damage. We can prepare and take precautions for diseases that we can pick up, we can treat our water, keep our work area clean, dispose of waste correctly and do everything right to control disease but with the absence of strong chemicals and sterilising equipment there are bound to be outbreaks of disease in our own community never mind those communities where they won’t be taking the precautions we are either through ignorance or simply because they do not have the capabilities.

So what do we do when someone in our group contracts an unknown illness? Procedure calls for isolation. Isolation is “to separate ill persons who have a communicable disease from those who are healthy.” We should therefore set up an Isolation Area somewhere where we can treat these people or at the very least keep them away from others.

This isn’t going to be easy. The disease may have been passed on before it was identified; at the very least whoever is attending the ill person has had significant contact probably enough to have caught the disease. However, the best we can do is to try and prevent more people becoming ill. I’ll be looking for some remote houses where we can move these people until the disease runs its course. Houses we can burn to the ground when we are finished if it works out to be a fatal disease.

So what about diseases being brought in by others from outside, no matter how careful you are some people will not have your resources or have control over an area and disease may be rife. So what should we do if someone visits our community? Procedure calls for Quarantine. Quarantine “is used to separate and restrict the movement of well persons who may have been exposed to a communicable disease to see if they become ill.” Our Isolation Area can double as a Quarantine Area where we can place visitors we have concerns over, either people that are already ill or people that are from areas of concern.

Obviously we can wait until the disease has run its course for those that are ill but how long for those that are not? My reading seems to suggest 72 Hours is a reasonable time but nothing is certain and some people can be carriers, like Typhoid Mary, and would pass Quarantine then go on to spread disease through your community. Sometimes no matter what you do you lose. Nature tries to kill you every day.

The real question though is; how will you tend to these people? Those that are not too ill can tend to themselves, supply food and water and they can look after themselves. Those that can’t create an issue for us after an event. Currently medical people die from these diseases that they are treating but we cannot afford to lose a valuable medical resource from our community. Hospital staff have a poor sickness record. Of course it won’t be your choice as your medical resource will make that decision but unlike now they won’t be so easily replaced. In fact that medical resource could simply be you with a few years experience of treating people, and probably animals. Or someone related may decide to be the Florence Nightingale of your community.

Make sure you prepare then by having cleaning fluids like bleach, masks, gloves and other protective clothing put aside for this task. Remember that it isn’t going to be a one off. The clothing won’t protect from everything and eventually you will run out of many of these resources, particularly if you end up burning them. Then think about what you will do to decide to isolate people and more importantly when you decide to move people to isolation. How will you do it? Think about how you will handle first contact with new people and quarantine them if you need to.

Invisible killers like disease are rightfully feared and will certainly be after an event when common illnesses that are treated easily now will become killers again. Especially now that these disease, eradicated decades ago in the West are being reintroduced by immigrants.

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Contributed by Skean Dhude of Survival UK.

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