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Two Overlooked Survival Prep Considerations: Asbestos Exposure and Illness Planning

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

Camping in the wilderness

Introduction to the Survival Prep Considerations

Disasters can happen anytime, anywhere, and to anyone. From natural calamities such as floods, storms, and earthquakes to man-made crises like riots and terrorism, emergencies have become a part of our modern lives. That's why survival prep has become an essential practice for many people. Survival preppers understand the importance of being prepared for any eventualities. They stock up on food, water, and other supplies. They practice self-defense techniques, and they map out escape routes. While such prepping tactics are crucial, there are some overlooked areas that need to be taken into account. Two of these overlooked areas are asbestos exposure and illness planning.

Although air is an essential element for survival, what most don't realize is that it can also carry harmful substances, like asbestos, that can have detrimental effects on our health. Asbestos exposure can lead to severe respiratory conditions and even cancer, making it a critical factor to consider in your prepping.

Furthermore, major illnesses such as cancer require specialized care and supplies, which can become scarce during emergencies. This is where illness planning comes into the picture. Having an illness plan means not only having a stockpile of necessary medications but also preparing strategies for obtaining medical care in crisis situations. By integrating asbestos exposure prevention and illness planning into your survival prepping plan, you're adding an important layer of protection against often overlooked threats.

Asbestos and Illnesses are Important Survival Prep Considerations

I have to admit, before I was approached by a reader of one of my other survival prep blog posts on avoiding panic buying, I hadn't considered asbestos or major illnesses in prepping. It might seem strange to overlook such crucial considerations, but in the hustle and bustle of ensuring we have our food, water, and shelter sorted, it's easy to neglect things that don't appear to be particularly relevant to you. To the best of my knowledge, I don't have cancer and am not around much asbestos.

However, these factors are potentially very important factors to survival plans. If we're not careful, we can inadvertently expose ourselves to harmful asbestos particles, or we might find ourselves ill-equipped to handle a medical emergency. It's a sobering thought, but it underscores the importance of thoroughness and foresight in our prepping endeavors. Let's delve deeper into these issues and explore how we can integrate them into our survival strategies.


Danger Asbestos Dust Hazard Tape on Fence

Let's start with asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a mineral that was widely used in construction materials, such as insulation, roofing, and fire-proofing materials. It was commonly used from the 1940s to the 1980s. The potential hazard of asbestos comes mainly from when it is damaged. When damaged, there are little fibers that can enter the air and be inhaled by people. These fibers can cause serious and fatal lung diseases, including lung cancer and mesothelioma. Because of these health risks, it was partially banned in the United States in 1989. This limited its manufacture, import, distribution, and processing. Additionally, the partial ban applied to new uses of the material.

This pretty much amounts to some asbestos being left behind in some buildings if it was in a safe form and condition, and new structures being made free of the material. That said, If a natural disaster strikes, it's essential to know that many buildings that may contain asbestos can be damaged, which can release harmful forms and quantities into the air. For preppers, this means that they need to be aware of the potential risk of asbestos exposure in their disaster response plan.

Adopting universal precautions can indeed be a proactive approach toward potential asbestos exposure, similar to the way we handle bloodborne pathogens. When it comes to buildings in your vicinity, it is safer to assume that any municipal, school, industrial, or commercial structure may be old enough to harbor asbestos-containing materials. In the wake of a disaster, the damage could release harmful asbestos into the air. It is therefore imperative to anticipate these risks and strategize accordingly. Planning includes getting equipped with protective gear such as N95 respirators and goggles, to safeguard your lungs and eyes, respectively, from asbestos exposure.

Cancer or Other Serious Illness

Woman taking cancer pills

Now, let's talk about the second often overlooked area of survival prepping - illness planning. People with major illnesses, such as cancer, need to plan differently than those who don't have such conditions. If you are a cancer patient, you need to ensure that your medications, supplies, and resources are accounted for in case of an emergency. You should have enough medication to last for several weeks if not months. You should also have backup supplies for medical equipment and medical personnel who can help you administer treatments in a disaster scenario. Communication tools such as cell phones or two-way radios should be on hand so that you can stay in contact with healthcare workers and loved ones. A good resource to aid in planning if you have cancer can be found here.

In addition to planning for medications and supplies, cancer patients should also consider the emotional and mental toll of a potential disaster. It's essential to have coping strategies in place, such as stress-relieving activities or routines that help you feel calmer and more in control. You can also create a support system of family, friends, or a local cancer support group to help you through the process. By including these elements of preparation, you can ensure that you're ready to face any emergency that comes your way.

In my opinion, it is highly prudent to integrate trusted individuals into any survival preparation. The adage "strength in numbers" holds especially true when planning for circumstances involving major illnesses like cancer. Depending on where you are in its progression, or your recovery, you may not be as capable of taking care of your needs as a healthier individual would be. Society's foundations are built on the principles of cooperation and mutual support, and this becomes even more crucial in times of serious health challenges. Self-reliance is commendable, no doubt, but having a dependable network of support can provide invaluable aid in a potentially daunting scenario, such as navigating a natural disaster while battling a serious illness.


Picture with calculator, coffee, pin, and other office items with a solved label

Survival prepping is not just about stockpiling food, water, and other supplies. It involves looking at how to be prepared in many difficult situations, and includes how to produce the things you need as well as having a supply on hand. It also includes being aware of the overlooked areas that pose unique risks for different individuals. Asbestos exposure and illness planning are two important areas that require special attention. When preparing for a potential emergency, preppers should learn where they may reasonably expect to find asbestos coming from if a major disaster damaged buildings or caught them on fire. In addition, cancer patients should plan differently, accounting for their medications, supplies, emotional and mental well-being, and support network. Prepping for these overlooked areas is not always glamorous or exciting, but it is crucial to ensure your safety and survival in a disaster scenario.

Furthermore, contemplating these two elements has encouraged me to step outside my usual box of considerations. Even though I may not personally be battling cancer, the advent of a disaster situation could heighten my vulnerability, or that of others, to contract illnesses that we would normally be shielded against. Countless scenarios could potentially unfold, and while it's impossible to prepare for every single one, it's crucial to broaden our scope and tackle the aspects that lie within our control. When survival is at stake, having a comprehensive preparation plan that extends beyond the obvious and contemplates the overlooked or less glamorous aspects can make all the difference. Be it managing the risk of asbestos exposure or accommodating unique health conditions in a crisis, proper planning can be a literal lifesaver.

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