The War Against Germs; Autoclaves

One thing is certain, when a world changing event happens, people may become migratory.  They may find the need to travel from place to place looking for food and supplies.  Some of these people, you may wish to add them to your community as valued members because of the skills they possess.  Unfortunately, they will also bring with them their regional germs.  It will be just like when you move to a new city and everyone in the family gets sick for the first month.  It will be like that, except a 100 times worse because there will be so many people, traveling from places far and near.  You can’t help but come in contact with them at some point.

Whether the contact be friendly or foe, one thing is for sure, germs will be transmitted in both directions.  If an outbreak occurs within your community, you will need to be able to sterilize your items because throwing them away just may not be an option, and neither may throwing them in the fire.  One can either boil items, or use an autoclave.  Boiling will kill anything that dies at 200° or below.  However, as in canning, you may need to kill germs that die only at higher temperatures.  In that case, you will need the autoclave.

Medical autoclaves are extremely expensive, and usually have a small capacity.  Larger ones can be prohibitively expensive.  There is another option.

Interesting enough, in Spanish, the word “autoclave” is the word they use for pressure canners.  Pressure canners will reach that magic 250 degrees that kills most nearly every living thing.  Perfect for sterilizing your items.  If you choose to use a pressure canner to sterilize items, you must bear in mind that you will not want to use that canner for food production.  It just ins’t good practice.  But, pressure canners are used all over the world to sterilize surgical equipment and other medical devices that can be sterilized by heat.

It is my opinion that pressure canners used as autoclaves should be the type that requires no rubber seal.  These are much better because it is screwed down and there is no wiggle room as there is with the rubber seals.  You will notice the price of the one pictured is not your average cheap pressure canner, and that it looks like a beast.  It is a beast.  It is also the best one for the job.
 It has a gauge so you know how much pressure is actually in there, as well as the weight to make sure you get the right pressure without going over and having it explode.  Don’t get me wrong, it can still explode if you have the heat too high, just like any other pressure canner.  One must always make certain to follow the manufacturers instructions for proper use and cleaning.  It has six screws to hold it firm and comes in a variety of sizes.  To date, I have never found one for a lower price than on Amazon, the link is in the picture.

I prefer the larger one as autoclave, even though it takes quite a while to heat to temperature, but it also will hold the most items so I don’t have to use it so often.

Remember, when handling contaminated items, to always use appropriate protective gloves and other necessary protective items.  Learn and follow appropriate protocols whenever possible to reduce the spread of outbreaks.