Disaster/Pandemic preparedness


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indigo girl

Specializes in Too many to list. 5,173 Posts

This is a very powerful piece that offers much to think about. It is unfortunate that this type of planning is actually necessary. This was written in December of 2005. Obviously, the federal govt recognized the threat even back then. It is more urgent now with the changes that H5N1 has made, IMO.

(hat tip PFIF/Retired Paramedic MI)

Don't Rely on Feds to Fight Bird Flu



In a worst-case scenario, dealing with the dead could place a strain on resources. Some predications indicate that fatality rates could increase beyond the ability for local coroners and morticians to handle. Contingency plans for cold storage and body removal need to be discussed among chief officers. One trigger for panic or unrest will be the inability to remove a deceased family member from a home. If this process takes days, the spread of other disease and the psychological impact could increase the toll of the flu, creating unrest. It's generally not the role of the fire service to place a victim in a body bag. However, securing the body in a sealed bag could reduce the effects of having a decaying body in the home. This should be discussed with the local coroner or medical examiner to develop a contingency plan and supply the fire service with body bags.

We can only hope that we will be spared the bird flu pandemic. The key is for the fire and EMS chief to sit down, make plans, brainstorm and build contingencies for worst-case scenarios. This scenario will not play out like other disasters and will create logistical challenges. Local municipalities may be on their own to operate without federal assistance. If federal help does arrive, expect significant delays and shortages until the Department of Health and Human Services receives full funding to prepare the country.

indigo girl

Specializes in Too many to list. 5,173 Posts

Which mask would you feel safer in? Surgical masks are less costly and there are more available. They are also easier to wear. But, will they protect you when in close contact with an avian flu infected patient?

Personally, I think demanding more protection is the better way to go.

It would be nice to know exactly how influenza is spread, but we can not wait around for consensus.


The masks-versus-respirators issue is one of the most sensitive in pandemic planning. N-95 respirators are hard to wear correctly, especially for long periods of time, and respirator manufacturers have conceded that global demand in a pandemic would outstrip their production capacity. Acknowledging those difficulties, the US, Canadian, and British pandemic flu plans all initially recommended surgical masks for health care workers in almost all situations.

But in Canada--where the airborne disease SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) shut down the city of Toronto for several weeks in 2003--the Ontario Nurses Association has threatened work stoppages if its members do not receive N-95 respirators during a pandemic. And in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded its guidance on respirator use last October under pressure from the healthcare industry, and now says using a respirator is "prudent" for any healthcare worker in contact with a known or potentially infected patient.

indigo girl

Specializes in Too many to list. 5,173 Posts

Kiwis Forming Neighborhood Support Groups - Croftsblogs


The threat of a deadly flu pandemic is a key factor driving the largest increase in neighbourhood support groups seen in Christchurch.

About 170 new groups were set up last year, taking the total to over 1900 in Christchurch and Banks Peninsula. Neighbourhood Support coordinator Patrick Creasey said the increase was partly due to concern about crime, civil defence emergencies, and bird flu.

Canterbury University associate history professor Geoffrey Rice said his research into the 1918 flu pandemic in New Zealand showed communities which organised themselves early had the lowest death rates.

Sick people, especially those who lived alone, could have their lives saved by their neighbours, he said.

Never think that the problem is too big to be handled. There is plenty that we can do to prepare for the next pandemic. We should not just wait for this to happen.

First, take a look at what your beliefs are about the possibility of pandemic. Are your beliefs based on facts or opinion? Have you done any research about this?

For more information, you could go here. Feel free to ask if there is anything that you do not understand.


indigo girl

Specializes in Too many to list. 5,173 Posts

I am putting this link in the preparedness thread because we need to think about this scenario, and the solution for it. I do not have the solution.

The essay addresses some possibilities.

It is not a pretty picture so no one is going to want to deal with this, but we have to, unless we have completely given up. I do not think that we have given up. I also think that most feel this would never happen. Yes, it could.

I do not like to post anything that looks at worst case scenarios without providing solutions. The best that I can come up with, is to tell you to start thinking about this, and address this at work. When they laugh at you for asking, ask them in return, "is your opinion based on fact or on the latest research, and what the govt is saying we have to do?" We have a moral obligation to our communities to make sure that they are, in fact preparing.

Think about it. Enough of us could make a difference in saving more lives.

Isn't that what we are supposed to be doing?

Start asking about how many masks have they stockpiled. Are they N95?

Here is the link.


indigo girl

Specializes in Too many to list. 5,173 Posts

Non Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPI), what you could be doing to

prepare now:


Given the scarcity of antivirals, and the nearly non-existence of a vaccine, the primary protection most of us will have during a pandemic will be NPI's, or Non Pharmaceutical Interventions.

All of us would, of course, prefer a shot that would protect us, or a pill that would cure us, but neither are going to be available in any quantity during the first 6 to 12 months of a pandemic.

sanctuary, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in pure and simple psych. Has 45 years experience. 1 Article; 467 Posts

I'm having a hard time getting anybody to listen. My own place of employment has no clue. no prep, nuttin'.

indigo girl

Specializes in Too many to list. 5,173 Posts

Well, so you know now how it is going to be. Better to know now rather than after the first cases hit North America.

You are prepared, but your workplace is not.

If pandemic occurs, they will be opening special facilities just for pandemic cases, most likely in auditoriums and large spaces. These places will be providing PPE. Your help will be solicited.

indigo girl

Specializes in Too many to list. 5,173 Posts

Idaho Homeland Security Advice:http://afludiary.blogspot.com/2007/04/idaho-homeland-security-officials-get.html

Working parents: Imagine the logistics of childcare if schools closed for weeks on end.

Everyone else: Imagine the long-distance truck haulers that daily replenish food supplies...making only sporadic deliveries.

"Nobody is immune from this. Even if you don't get the virus, you will be impacted," Darcus Allen with Central District Health Department said.

If a flu pandemic strikes, Idaho health officials want everyone to consider these very possible scenarios.

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