Sunday, July 07, 2013

Pandemic Planning For Business

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Credit TFAH It's Not Flu As Usual Brochure

 

 

# 7455

 

Six years ago, before the H1N1 pandemic emerged in 2009, we were carefully monitoring the H5N1 threat while governments, agencies, and businesses actively prepared for a severe pandemic.

 

As States and Federal agencies drilled and prepared, the HHS released guidance to local governments, individuals and businesses on how to prepare for `the next pandemic’.

 

A small sampling includes:

 
Guidance for Employers

 


When the pandemic finally arrived, it turned out to due to a less severe strain of Swine flu; H1N1.   We got `lucky’ in that we ended up with a `Cat 1’ pandemic, not the feared Category 5 event that most plans had envisioned.

 

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Since the end of 2009 - between the prolonged economic downturn and the belief that we’d seen `our pandemic’, and another would not likely occur for decades – pandemic preparedness for many businesses has been put on the back burner. 


Many of the carefully prepared pandemic plans drafted in 2006 or 2007 are now gathering dust in some desk drawer, and have not been reviewed or updated for years.

 

No one can predict when, how severe, or what virus will spark the next pandemic.  But the risks of seeing a severe pandemic have not diminished. With three legitimate pandemic `worries’ out there (H5N1, H7N9, MERS-CoV) – if anything, they’ve escalated

 

Making this an opportune time to drag out, dust off, and take a hard look at your old pandemic plans (or create a new one if need be).

 

One of the nation’s leaders in pandemic and disaster planning is Public Health - Seattle & King County.  In 2008 they produced a 20 minute film called Business Not As Usual, designed to help introduce businesses to the core concepts of pandemic planning.

 

Frankly, this video should be required viewing for every businesses owner, manager, and employee.

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You’ll also find a long list of preparedness resources available on this page as well:

General resources:

Business and government preparedness:

Community Based Organization (CBO) preparedness:

Personal preparedness:

 

While another pandemic may not come for years, if you and your business are well prepared to deal with a Cat 4 or 5 pandemic, you are pretty much ready to deal with any disaster.

 

And as bitter experience has shown, earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, industrial accidents, and even terrorist attacks can, and do happen with some frequency.

 

Often, the difference between a business surviving a disaster – or going bankrupt - boils down to how well their emergency and recovery plans were designed and implemented.

 

For more on  disaster preparedness, I would invite you to visit Ready.gov, FEMA,  or revisit these blogs:

 

In An Emergency, Who Has Your Back?

When 72 Hours Isn’t Enough

The Gift of Preparedness 2012

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