H1N1 Virus Highlights Pandemic Preparedness

Sunday, 17 May 2009

The recent outbreak of the H1N1 Virus (swine flu) has refocused attention on the importance of flu and pandemic preparedness. Managing an outbreak requires effort and participation from everyone to help prevent the spread of disease and to ensure communities and families are prepared in the event of a crisis situation.

The U.S. Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, which includes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have led the federal effort to coordinate the nation’s response to the H1N1 Virus. Staying informed and having a plan are essential in dealing with a possible pandemic. Be sure to take the proper precautions such as practicing good hygiene, recognizing possible signs and symptoms, and familiarizing yourself with local plans and recommendations for dealing with a potential disease outbreak in your community. Discuss the situation with your family and make sure a plan is in place to handle a potential outbreak. Additionally, local Citizen Corps Councils are a great resource for identifying community response plans, personal preparedness tips, and ways to get involved with community preparedness and response activities.

Fire Corps volunteers also play a pivotal role in assisting with community preparedness, education, and awareness. Fire Corps programs can provide much needed support to the fire and emergency services by educating communities about how to prevent, prepare for, and respond to an outbreak. Volunteers can also fulfill the non-emergency roles in the department while firefighters and emergency medical personnel are out in the field responding to the critical, life-threatening situations during a pandemic influenza outbreak. Visit the Fire Corps Pandemic Influenza Resource Center to access resources outlining preparedness and ways to engage your Fire Corps program.

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