Letter Re: Transcript From a Colorado Flu Pandemic Meeting

The June 25, 2009 InfraGard meeting was on the pending pandemic. The speakers were Robin K. Koons, Ph.D., epidemiologist for the Colorado Emergency Preparedness and the Director of FEMA for the State of Colorado. This InfraGard meeting was non-restricted, so these notes may be shared:

[begin transcript]

It is anticipated that 30% of the working population, 42 million people, will become ill. 70% of the working population, 150 million people, will not get ill, and will have to run the country. In 1918 out of the 30% that became ill, 2% died.

Infrastructure may not meet human needs. Supply chain resources (warehousing, trucking, grocery store stocking, fuel deliveries) could break down because of current just-in-time inventories. Grocery and convenience stores may not have product for sale. Police, fire and rescue services might be restricted because of manpower shortages. Hospitals may run out of patient room.

How do you know if you have the H1N1? You wake up with a fever of 102-103 degrees and you do not have the energy to lift yourself up so you can get out of bed. You are horizontally stuck.

Preparedness in general:

* Social distance is six feet. Inside six feet you can receive a droplet from a sick person. Keep your distance!
* Avoid people with coughs.
* Wash hands frequently.
* Have available hand sanitizers, masks, disposable rubber gloves.
* Don’t stick your hands in your eyes, nose or mouth.
* Masks help you not put your hands on your face. Glasses keep your fingers away from your eyes.
* Stay away from humans.
* Everything you touch can kill you (grocery store items, filling station fueling nozzle, building door handles, restroom faucets and doors, customer service pens, credit card machine pens, grocery carts, restaurant menus, arm chairs in the doctor’s office, magazines in customer waiting rooms).
* Establish a family care plan. See www.ready.gov for additional details.
* If you live in a city, arrange for window shade alerts. A specific window shade always pulled down at night, always put up upon arising in the morning. Watch each other’s windows to make sure your neighbors are OK!
* If you live on a ranch, coordinate with multiple neighbors for backup support for feeding. Set up a telephone call system to check on neighbors. Consider GMRS, multiple mile radios (change the default code), for communication in case you can’t get a telephone dial tone. As in any emergency, too many people checking up on each other can overload the phone system.

At work:

* Hold meetings by teleconference instead of face to face.
* Spread workers out. Keep distance between them.
* Quarantine critical workers to keep them away from people.
* Have paper towels available to be used for opening restroom doors. Have a waste basket outside the restroom door so the towel can be thrown away after exiting.
* Have hand sanitizers available.
* Cross-train employees to make sure each task in the business can be done by at least three people.
* Provide for a backup authority for making decisions in case all decision makers are out sick.
* If the influenza comes back in January, decide when you reach the point where you shut down for “X” number of days.
* Companies can expect 25% absenteeism for 4-8 weeks.
* Workers may need time off to take care of themselves or their family. They may be gone for five days more than once.

The influenza could come in waves of 2-3 months and could mutate so you get it a second time.

People who have been exposed to H1N1 are contagious before they are sick. If you have been exposed to H1N1, you may be contagious even though you are not yet sick. If you have been exposed, keep your six foot social distance and watch what and how you touch objects.

Prepare for 30 days of water, fuel, groceries, vitamins, medications. Prepare to survive without help from the outside.

The Pandemic Rule: No one is coming to help.

[end of meeting notes transcript] – John S.