So, you are concerned about how your community will deal with a pandemic, and you want to try to get the word out, but you don't know how to begin . . . .
The good news is, much of the groundwork has already been laid for you. There are `toolkits' specifically designed to help you help your community prepare for a pandemic. Some come from government sources, while others come from private initiatives.
And best of all, they are free for the downloading.
First, we look at the HHS (Department of Health & Human Services) program called Take The Lead, where toolkits are offered so that citizens can help spread the pandemic preparedness message in their own communities.
If you are looking for `authorization' from the government to spread the word, look no further than this page. Not only does the HHS provide numerous `toolkits' for private use, they also give suggestions on how you can encourage personal preparedness in your community.
Sample Newsletter Articles
As you can see, the HHS wants, and is encouraging, community involvement and community action.
The King County-Seattle Health Department has produced a remarkable teaching aid, a 12-page comic book available in 8 languages, on pandemic influenza.
You may download and print out this resource, or you can order copies (outside of Washington State, order from National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)).
To promote pandemic flu preparedness, Public Health - Seattle & King County has developed a 12-page comic book on pandemic flu. Targeting readers of all ages, this story tells the tale of a family’s experience of the 1918 influenza pandemic. It also explains the threat of pandemic flu today, illustrates what to expect during a pandemic (such as school closures), and offers tips to help households prepare.
Due to limited quantities, we can only grant requests for this publication to street addresses in King County, WA State.
- For requests outside of King County and within Washington state, please order through the Washington State Dept. of Health -- available in English and Spanish only. For other languages, please order through NACCHO as described below or print off the PDF versions.
- For requests from other U.S. states, please order through the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) who will handle nationwide requests through their website (limited quantities available. Scroll down their page until you see links for "No Ordinary Flu".)
- You may also download and print the comic books in PDF format for free (see below order form)
One of the private groups I've highlighted in the past, the READYMOMS, have prepared a terrific selection of free, downloadable, toolkits that can help you create a display like the one they use at medical conventions and conferences.
This is a current list of the Readymom's constantly growing array of resources.
ReadyMoms Alliance brochure (pdf trifold, legal size ie 8.5in x 14in)
Posters(All posters in this series are in pdf format, size 30in x 20in)
- Are You Pandemic Ready (1.2M)
- What Happened Before (1.4M)
- What Do We Have in 2008 (1.2M)
- What Will Save Lives (1.1M)
- There Will Be Shortages (0.8M)
- Many People Will Get Sick (1M)
- Schools Will Close Early (1.1M)
- alternate communications
- alternate cooking
- alternate electrical items
- alternate lighting
- alternate sanitation
- cleaning supplies
- food 2 weeks supply
- food 12 weeks supply
- medical supplies general
- medical supplies flu
- water storage
- all tabletop notecards (explanations and instructions for items on display)
- Food - getting started
- Water - getting started
- Food-grade buckets
- 2 weeks food list for families
- 2 weeks food list for college students
- Homecare for pandemic flu (American Red Cross)
- Homemade T-shirt mask
- Homemade oral rehydration solution
- Instructions for putting on and removing surgical gloves
- CDC interim guidance for facemasks and respirators for general public
- CDC interim guidance for community mitigation (for schools)
- CDC interim guidance for community mitigation (for businesses)
- CDC interim guidance for community mitigation (for colleges)
- Children at risk - factsheet for pandemic planners
Longer Handouts and Guidance Documents
- Pandemic flu homecare (Howard County, MD, 4 pages)
- N95 respirator instructions for general public model #8612F (3M, 7 pages)
- N95 respirator instructions for general public model #8670F (3M, 7 pages)
- Stay-At-Home Toolkit (Montgomery County, MD, 32 pages)
- CDC interim guidance for community mitigation (full, 108 pages)
- Pandemic flu - a citizen's guide (INSTEDD, 68 pages)
- Infection control recommendations (San Francisco Dept of Public Health, 13 pages)
ReadyMoms Toolkit - compact version
Posters(These are powerpoint files with high resolution 300dpi images, suitable for printing to the same quality as scientific conference posters. Printed posters will be 48in x 36in.)
The ReadyMoms Alliance brochure (pdf trifold, legal size ie 8.5in x 14in) is a particularly effective handout (screenshots below), and can be reproduced (b/w, double sided,tri-folded) for less than 10 cents apiece in quantity by many commercial printers.
For more information on how the Readymom's work, please visit their pages at the Flu Wiki forum.
Another great resource is GetPandemicReady.Org where you will find dozens of downloadable, easy-to-follow, guides on how to prepare for a pandemic or other disaster.
As you can see, there are plenty of resources available for any private citizen, neighborhood group, business, civic group, school or church to use to get the preparedness word out.
But it won't happen unless citizens in every community take the initiative and spread the word. You don't have to be a doctor, or a scientist, or an elected official . . . you just have to be a responsible and informed citizen.
In a pandemic crisis, you are quite literally only as prepared as the community around you.
It is worth the effort to get involved.