‘Crazy’ Aussies prepare for coronavirus pandemic

 

Some Australians are adopting increasingly extreme measures to prepare for a coronavirus pandemic, with some referring to their own actions as "crazy" and "panicked".

Stockpiling weapons, hiding in isolated farms and learning bush survival skills - it sounds like the plot line straight out of a Hollywood movie, but this is the reality for some Australians.

One of those Aussies is 32-year-old mother Jemma Reed, from Scenic Rim, Queensland, who has stockpiled enough food and medicine to last a year.

"We have approximately 50 kilos of rice (and) 50 kilos of lentils," Mrs Reed told news.com.au. "All five of our pantries are filled.

"I'm not paranoid, I don't think it (coronavirus) will get really bad.

"But with three children you can never be too safe."

A lot of people are stockpiling food as panic sets in about the coronavirus. This photo was taken in a Sydney Woolworths store. Picture: Alex Turner-Cohen/News.com.au
A lot of people are stockpiling food as panic sets in about the coronavirus. This photo was taken in a Sydney Woolworths store. Picture: Alex Turner-Cohen/News.com.au

Mrs Reed has stockpiled canned food, medication, water filters, camping gear, vegetable seeds, first aid kits, dog food and even weapons.

"Defensive weapons, we also have a lot of them. Legal ones, obviously," she said.

"Mainly swords and axes and stuff like that. Tasers, we have them as well."

With her son suffering from ADHD, Mrs Reed has also been hoarding medications.

"So many companies claim they're from Australia or New Zealand but when you actually look into the companies they do come from China or import from China," she said.

"If they don't open the border soon, then my son won't have any medication.

"So we've stocked up on the bare minimum - 150 packets of Panadol, 150 packets of aspirin, 150 packets of Nurofen, we've stocked up on antibiotics, we've got bandages.

"We've gone a little above and beyond," Mrs Reed said with a laugh as she explained how she has recently bought vegetable seeds.

"We also have three fish tanks that we're breeding fish in."

This is a photo of Mrs Reed’s fish tank. Picture: Jemma Reed/Supplied
This is a photo of Mrs Reed’s fish tank. Picture: Jemma Reed/Supplied

Having watched "all the movies of zombie apocalypses and everything else", Mrs Reed has put a little bit more thought into her preparation than the average Australian.

"It's things that can be traded (that are important)," she said.

"If it ever did go bad, medicine would be something to trade for, for maybe food or something else. Something that can keep a fever down is going to be huge

"Asthma puffers, we've stocked up on them, because let's face it, half of Australia has asthma.

"We've got about 15 pouches of tobacco so far. It's not a lot but it can still be traded for food if need be. Smokers, no matter how crazy it is, will still want to smoke.

"We've also melted down some jewellery, silver and gold, so we have that to trade as well."

That's not all - Mrs Reed and her husband have been researching survival skills.

"We're studying natural healing, we've been googling, got a few books on that.

"My husband has also been looking into blacksmithing and he's been watching videos, getting a little bit of an idea for if he ever needs those skills.

Although she laughed as she outlined her survival plan, she pointed out it "was better to be safe than sorry".

"And at the end of the day," Mrs Reed added, "everything we have can still be used even if nothing happens with the coronavirus."

Another fully stocked pantry of Mrs Reed. Picture: Jemma Reed/Supplied
Another fully stocked pantry of Mrs Reed. Picture: Jemma Reed/Supplied

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'CRAZY' AND 'PANICKED' AUSTRALIANS

Dianne Regan runs a coronavirus Facebook group, and has created a survival guide because she was inundated with questions.

The film director, from Sydney, videoed herself buying a few N95 respirator mask from Bunnings.

Mrs Regan admitted "when I went out and purchased these masks … I did feel a bit crazy … I'm a little more panicked than most people."

Dianne Regan couldn't stop herself from laughing as she bought a heavy-duty respiratory mask which she said looked straight out of a film. A screen grab from Mrs Regan’s video.
Dianne Regan couldn't stop herself from laughing as she bought a heavy-duty respiratory mask which she said looked straight out of a film. A screen grab from Mrs Regan’s video.

"This is the kind of mask you see in the movies and stuff, that's why I was laughing as I was getting it," she said.

"The best thing about the masks is I have a receipt. If it's still in its packaging then we can return it in two months and get our money back."

"We're hoping Australia will be fine but if it's not, we're not risking it because I've got a child with a low immunity," she added.

Mrs Regan has also started growing tomatoes, lettuce, chives, mint, celery, basil and capsicum as a source of fresh vegetables if disaster hits.

"It's funny, we've always wanted a vegie garden," she said.

It looks like the coronavirus outbreak is the incentive they needed.

 

Panic has set in within China as well, with residents stockpiling food as cities go into lock down. Picture: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
Panic has set in within China as well, with residents stockpiling food as cities go into lock down. Picture: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

BUSH SURVIVAL SKILLS

Taryn* from Tasmania is brushing up on her survival skills in case the coronavirus becomes a pandemic.

Having grown up on a farm with no electricity, Taryn is a natural at living self-sufficiently.

"I grew up with no power at all, completely off grid," she told news.com.au. "My mother taught me to cook off a combustion stove."

The coronavirus "has had me a bit worried," Taryn said, and she's been preparing for the worst.

"I'm in a reasonably isolated area and I have all my animals and garden here too.

"My fruit trees are looking good this year and so is the vegie garden. Also have plenty of chickens for eggs and meat. A few sheep too.

"I should have enough supplies for 2-3 months at least.

"I was taught to hunt from a very early age. I've been able to shoot since I was seven years old. I'm used to fishing, getting shellfish, getting kangaroo meat for ourselves and the dogs as well."

 

Taryn has epilepsy and a heart condition, so she's planning to stockpile those medicines.

She said: "To know you're going to survive if something happens is comforting.

"Everyone should watch a bit of Bear Grylls or whatever," she added with a laugh.

Lauchlan Giddy, 66, of NSW, is another rural farmer who thinks he'll be able to outlast a pandemic.

"I live 40km from Guyra (Northern Tablelands) in the middle of nowhere on a farm," he said.

"If worst comes to worst I'll just bunker down here. Just buy up simple food and sit it out. Town once a month. Too easy.

"Cities would be scary places to be as it would hit there first, and panic buying would clear shelves. If I just stayed here I would be safe."

 

Mr Giddy started buying more staple food once he heard of the coronavirus, like pasta and rice. But otherwise he hasn't had to change his lifestyle much.

"In the country you stockpile food, you are 50km from town and anything can happen - tree over road, car won't start, floods and so on.

"Water I have tons of creeks. So a good water filter and limitless supplies. Tank water is fine to drink. I also have pigs and various fowl so meat is easy."

*Taryn asked that her last name be withheld due to privacy concerns.

This is a photo of one of Jemma Reed’s fully stocked pantries. Picture: Jemma Reed/Supplied
This is a photo of one of Jemma Reed’s fully stocked pantries. Picture: Jemma Reed/Supplied