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Canned foods, dried goods, freeze-dried meals, granola bars, jerky, nut butters and two litres of water per person per day. A bare-bones emergency kit starts with durable foodstuffs, according to Public Safety Canada . With global cases of coronavirus on the rise, the time is right for such precautions — health officials are warning Canadians to prepare for a potential pandemic.
“Imagine if someone was ill for a week. What would you need?” Vera Etches, the City of Ottawa’s top health officer, posed to the Ottawa Citizen on Tuesday.
Following Canada’s chief public health officer Theresa Tam’s comments on Monday — advising businesses, governments and individuals to steel for an outbreak or pandemic — Etches recommended stocking up on necessities such as nonperishable food and prescription medications.
“It looks like it is going to be more and more difficult to contain this virus, and it may well evolve into a pandemic,” she said. “That would change the efforts to contain every last case and contact.”
It looks like it is going to be more and more difficult to contain this virus, and it may well evolve into a pandemic
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the fast-evolving COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency of international concern late last month, but says it hasn’t yet reached pandemic status. Before any pandemic starts, you’d be wise to store a two-week supply of water and food (among other essential items), the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency says on its disaster preparedness site, Ready .
Devastating to many, the fallout of novel coronavirus outbreaks has been beneficial to a comparative few. While some of us may be considering cobbling together a survival kit for the first time, disaster preparation is an industry unto itself. Preppers have joined a handful of other fields — including food delivery and news apps, social media and gaming sites — that are doing brisk business not in spite of, but because of COVID-19.
As The Guardian reports, Europe’s largest emergency food supplier, Emergency Food Storage UK, has been inundated with orders in the face of a possible pandemic. The fact that a month’s supply of freeze-dried pasta and rice runs nearly $700 hasn’t hindered orders: The company has reportedly sold as many kits in the past two weeks as it typically would in half a year.
Owner James Blake sees the service he provides as alleviating the strain on supermarkets — an alternative to grocery shopping, if food anxiety leads to stockpiling and stocks start to run low. “You’re protecting the food in the supermarket, by purchasing your supplies from a different point,” Blake told The Guardian , adding that he prefers the term food storage to describe his line of work, rather than prepping or stockpiling.
“If you think about what’s in your kitchen cupboard today,” he said, “it’s a few tins of beans, some manky rice. You might be able to cobble together food for a few days. Imagine a disaster lasting weeks before infrastructure is back up.”
Imagine a disaster lasting weeks before infrastructure is back up
A Brexit-coronavirus confluence of events has left Blake’s warehouse “mostly bare” (a $645 Brexit Box includes 60 meals, a water filter and firestarter), but the outbreak alone has had a similar effect at Emergency Essentials in Salt Lake City, Utah. As NPR reported earlier this month, while solid numbers on the industry are in short supply, four out of five prepping professionals claimed “a coronavirus-related bump.”
John Ramey, founder of theprepared.com , credited interest in COVID-19 for pushing prepping into the mainstream. His site has apparently been experiencing record traffic, and Ramey told NPR he hopes the intrigue outlasts the outbreak: “We think it’s just a responsible part of adulting.” Blake echoed a similar sentiment. “We’re not looking at a zombie apocalypse situation,” he told The Guardian . “Most short-term issues can be resolved in time. (Yet) we should all just be a little more self-reliant.”
Instructions on how to assemble an emergency kit are available on the Public Safety Canada website . Or, naturally, you can source one from an enterprising prepper business.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020