I don’t often go into the larger scale issues like nuclear fall-out in your area or a regional or national pandemic. Today, however, it is time to turn on your thinking caps. Time to think outside the box and inside your shop-vac.
When I prepare for scenarios, like nuclear radiation, I will typically plan on a bug-out. I think if there is ANY amount of time to get out of the house before contaminants show up, then DO IT. But what about those scenarios that may occur without much notice? What about pandemics that you cannot get away from?
I typically explain the rule of 3s to people, which states, “You can survive 3 weeks without food, 3 days without water, and 3 minutes without air.” In a pandemic where you are forced to bug-in, the most valuable commodity that your body needs to survive is the very thing that is probably going to deliver the virus.
It is CDC protocol that you quarantine off your house using plastic sheets and duct-tape (aluminum tape or adhesive caulking for more difficult surfaces) to cover all openings and remove all contact to the outside air when there is a contamination concern. Well, the one problem with this is that people use oxygen and create carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is toxic to us, but before we get poisoned by it, we will get hypoxia from lack of oxygen.
In a situation like this, we need to provide ourselves with air, but it needs to be void of contaminants.
On top of this we need to put a positive pressure environment in our quarantine space. This will keep contaminants from getting in anywhere in our home except from our supply point. This is a typical hospital setup in flow rooms designed for cancer patients with compromised immune systems.
How will we do all of this? Your Shop-Vac! After you seal up your home, you will need your shop-vac sealed to one of the windows, and somewhere else in the home, you will have a small exhaust point near the floor for carbon dioxide to escape.
So Let’s discuss how we will add a shop-vac positive pressure, air purification system.
First, all you need for the most simple of systems is a shop-vac, a HEPA filter, and some tape/caulking.
Just install a HEPA filter like Vacmaster VCFH Hepa Fine Dust Cartridge Vacuum Filter & Retainer in your shop-vac. Get a Vac from the local hardware/lowes/home depot.
Or you could get the Vacmaster VJ507 Wet/Dry Vacuum, 5 gallon, 3 HP from Amazon, using my affiliate link.
Place the inlet hose out the window to bring in the contaminated air, and let the vacuum place clean, decontaminated air into your space.
It really is that easy, but of course, you will have to seal off all connection points on the window to keep the house sealed up tight.
Another thing to note… whatever pathogen or radioactive particulate is now concentrated in the vacuum. Do not change the filter. You should remove the entire vacuum and place somewhere away from your spaces.
Just replace vacuum with another with a filter. You don’t want viral exposure or to create a point source of radioactive exposure from the collection of particulates. You will have a radiation dose from the vacuum if it is full of this material, so best to get it away from people when swapping them out.
I have ideas for a vortex-pre-filter designed into a 5 gallon bucket that I want to show the build of. That may be a different post though.
As I write tips for your adventures and hear about cool gear, I will let you know all about it!