This article by George Hand was originally published by SOFREP
Some of my experience in this field includes live nerve agent decontamination training with the Delta Force and years of platform instruction and field training for First Responders in Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Crisis Response.
It is strongly suggested that if the below procedures are followed when entering and exiting your private residence you will significantly reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19 through the Novel Coronavirus-19. Learn it, live it — make it habitual!
For the sake of this protocol, I happily resort to using the following terms:
- The Hot Zone is EVERYTHING and EVERYWHERE outside of your private dwelling.
- The Warm Zone is the area that is under your control just outside your house, such as your driveway, front yard/fenced-in area, front porch, or even your garage.
- The Cold Zone is inside the environmentally controlled area of your private dwelling; we can also term this the Safe Zone.
Donn/Doff Station: This is a space right at the line that separates the Warm from the Cold Zone where all PPE can be removed allowing you to finally step out of the Warm and into the Cold Zone. In my house, that line of separation between the two zones is the threshold of the access door to my garage.
Clean and Dirty Environments: Typically the clean areas are those which are cleared of all known potential contaminated materials. Your house is hoped to be your clean area. The Warm Zone is a potentially dirty area and must be respected as such. The world beyond your Warm Zone is a dirty environment and must be respected as such!
PPE: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is all that can be worn on one’s person to protect against the targeted threat. These can be:
- Gloves — Any type is fine. I personally use the gloves below because I already had them since I use them in my woodshop. They are Nitrile, fit well, and protect completely against tactile threats. There are 100 to a box — 50 pairs — and not expensive! They are not bulky and permit most operations that require medium to fine manual dexterity.
- Face masks — The mask wars are ongoing as to which are the best and which don’t even work. We have even seen the media deliberately misleading us away from one type of mask to preserve a quantity for persons who are “more important” than the rest of us. Listen, if medical staff wear them in operating rooms they are pretty damned good, so… I happen to have N95 surgical masks because that is what brother Mace F. gifted my First Daughter and myself out of pure visceral generosity.
- Footgear — It should cover the entire foot — no sandals or open-toe anything! Footwear does not have to be high top, but socks are essential to cover that portion of your lower legs above your shoe and below your trousers.
- Clothes — Are we going to be adults or are we going to be hippies? Adults is it? OK, then it would be proper to wear long trousers and even long-sleeve shirts and blouses. Survival is not about comfort. Toilet paper and your favorite frozen pizza at Walmart are NOT survival items — they are comfort items. Dressing for comfort in warm weather is NOT dressing for virus pandemic survival — wear a hat.
Quite rudely and frankly I’ll suggest that coveralls, flight suit, or some other one-piece pull-on/pull-offs are the more conducive garments to this environment. Even rain gear is very desirable — it can be removed and wiped down with our decontamination solution: our 3:1 water/bleach slurry.
- Decontamination solution/slurry — This is the Lysol and other approved solutions that are sanctioned by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as efficacious for COVID-19 mitigation. For a homemade remedy, just mix up a solution of one part household bleach with three parts tap water in a spray bottle.
TRANSITION FROM HOT ZONE THROUGH WARM ZONE TO COLD ZONE
Concept of the Operation:
Coming in from a contaminated environment — Hot Zone — is a critical process. You need to ensure you don’t contaminate your house — Cold Zone — with whatever you bring in from the Hot Zone.
The Warm Zone is a buffer zone between the Hot and Cold Zones. It lets you go from a run-state to a walk-state and then to a crawl-state. The Warm Zone is essentially the transition corridor in your decontamination process. It is where you shed all potentially contaminated items and ultimately step over into the “clean” environment of the Cold Zone.
The Warm Zone is an added-safety area to have, though it is not critical to your transition once you are more adept at making the transition.
Scheme of Maneuver:
(This description specifically references my personal decontamination (decon) protocol and configuration at my private residence.)
I exit my car, which I leave parked out in the driveway. I leave my car outside for two reasons: Firstly, UAV direct light kills Novel Coronavirus-19. Secondly, I use my garage as my Warm Zone so I need the room.
I raise my garage door remotely and enter the garage. I have a cleared path on the left side of my garage as I face it. The path leads directly to my house entry door where my Donn/Doff station is set up.
I lower my garage door and move to the raised concrete step that forms a bit of a porch in front of the house door. I have a doormat there that I stand on to remove my PPE. Standing on the mat I remove my mask and hang it on a hook there on the wall. I pull off any hat and hang it on the wall as well. I pull off any coverall or outer shell prior to entering the house. There is a laundry basket there for those items.
It is just fine to have a chair there to sit in while you untie your shoes if needed. Do that AFTER you have pulled off all of your outer shell “dirty” garments.
There I also have a trash pail lined with a plastic bag. It is primarily for my gloves — the last items of PPE removed— but it can, of course, be used for other refuse suspected of being contaminated.
Most important final steps:
1. I open my house door.
2. I pull off one shoe using the other to assist.
3. Without letting that socked foot touch the ground in the Warm Zone, I lay that foot down on the floor inside the house (Cold Zone).
4. I am now literally straddling the line between the Warm and the Cold Zones.
5. I remove the shoe from my other foot (using the threshold to assist if needed), and again without letting that socked foot touch the ground in the Warm Zone, I step into the Cold Zone now with both feet.
6. I strip off my gloves letting them turn inside out and throw them in the trash receptacle.
7. There is a pair of house shoes/sandals on the doormat in the Warm Zone. Those are used to move back into the garage when needed, primarily to decon the Warm Zone with the bleach slurry or to perform other household purposes.
8. I step from Cold Zone house shoes to Warm Zone house shoes and I spray the decon slurry on the path from the garage door to the house door where I have walked.
9. There is a can of Lysol there to decon shoes and such; don’t forget to spray the soles!
Note: Lysol is used on shoes and garments as bleach will ruin the color. Lysol is also my choice for car seats and such for the same reason.
Note: A virus is essentially nucleic acid — Deoxyribonucleic (DNA), Ribonucleic Acid (RNA), or a combination of both — surrounded by a protein shell and then a lipid (fat) envelop. Most detergents disrupt the lipid shell thereby rendering the virus non-infectious, so normal laundering of garments will suffice.
By Almighty God and with honor,