Sunday, May 17, 2009

An Appropriate Level Of Concern



# 3209




It’s question I ask myself every day.  


Just how concerned should the average (insert your nationality here, AFD gets visitors from more than 100 countries) be about this novel H1N1 virus?


It isn’t an easy question to answer. 


Particularly since many people have a bad tendency to either ignore a threat completely, or go overboard in an extreme over-reaction to it.


Right now, what I think is needed is more of a `middle-ground’ approach.


Influenza viruses are completely unpredictable.  No one can tell us with any certainty what this novel A/H1N1 virus will do over the coming months.  


Maybe it fizzlesMaybe not.


But right now it is showing no signs of going away.


Governments are working towards a vaccine, and distributing antiviral stockpiles, and handling the `macro’ issues that are well beyond the individual citizen. 


They can do a lot, but they can’t do it all.


Individuals, families, businesses, and organizations must all do their part to prepare, as well.  And not just here in the United States, but around the world.



This blog, of course, continually reminds its readers of the importance of overall preparedness.   


We live in a dangerous world, where earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods  . . . and even more mundane events like auto accidents, or slips and falls at home  . . . can ruin your entire day.


As a former paramedic, I can’t stress enough the importance of having a good first aid kit at home, and in your car.  And just as important, learning how to properly use one.


Taking a first-aid course, and CPR training, are both investments that could pay off big someday, for you, and for your loved ones. 


And every home should have no less than a 72-hour supply of emergency food and water, for all of its inhabitants.   This is a bare minimum, but is just the starting point. 

Here in the United States, the HHS (along with other agencies) recommend that households work towards having `at least’ 2-weeks worth of food, water, and emergency supplies on hand.


Other agencies and organizations have proposed 30 days, 60 days, and even 3-months as being prudent.  For Americans living overseas, the State Department has urged as much as a 12-week stockpile


Obviously, not everybody can do that.  But anything you do to prepare beats not preparing at all.

As, along with FEMA, and a host of other agencies remind us, we all need to be prepared for emergencies.






If your own, or help run a business, organization, or agency you should also be preparing that entity to deal with any disaster – including a pandemic.



image’s business preparedness site has information to help you prepare to weather many emergencies.  For a a pandemic, however, you need to be doing a bit more.


The HHS has a workplace planning page, that gives checklists and advice on things that can help keep your business operational during a pandemic.


And once our families, and our businesses are taken care of, it is important to think about our neighborhoods and our communities.  


Volunteering with the Red Cross, or CERT, your Neighborhood watch, or just checking on your neighbors is a good place to start.


We are each only as prepared as our neighbors.


And of course, we need to follow the advice of our public health agencies and keep  washing our hands frequently, using alcohol hand sanitizer, covering our coughs, and staying home if ill.




So . . . what is the appropriate level of concern you should have about a possible pandemic?




Well . . . if you’ve followed the advice that has been offered by numerous agencies for the past several years . . .


. . . . and have a good family and business emergency plan . . . and have acquired at least a 2-week supply of emergency supplies . . . and routinely practice good flu hygiene . . . and are looking out for your neighbors . .


. . . . then I think (for now, at least) you can simply keep a wary eye on developments and enjoy your summer. 


Stay informed, of course.  Check back here (and with my fellow bloggers) often.  It is, after all, a fascinating story.  And the situation could change.


But don’t obsess over the possibility of a pandemic.


If a pandemic comes in the fall (or a hurricane, or a flood, or a forest fire . . . ), you will be about as well prepared to deal with it as you can reasonably expect to be.


The point, you see, isn’t to be concerned. 


The point is to be prepared.  Then you can sleep easily at night.


If you haven’t done these things . . .  well, I’d certainly be concerned enough to start working towards raising my level of preparedness.


The appropriate response right now is to stay informed, get prepared, and plan how you and your family or business will deal if a pandemic, or some other disaster, comes along.


Try it. 


You’ll be amazed how good being prepared feels.