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Pandemic flu planning lessons learned from H1N1

What pandemic flu planning lessons can be learned from last year's H1N1 scare?

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In reality, last year's "pandemic" was a non-starter. As such, pandemic planning is a topic that rarely gets any play these days. However, now that flu season is approaching, it may poke its head out for another go, but I haven't heard any media rumblings about a pandemic "event" in 2010 or 2011. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have not issued any warnings or alerts. Having said that, here are some thoughts:

  • When creating your pandemic plan, get informed of your supply chain, who the players are, where they are located and what alternative sources are available.
  • Invest in cross-training of staff to ensure that important functions are not owned exclusively by one person.
  • Be sure that operations manuals and emergency recovery plans are all documented and easily understandable by non-technical persons.
  • Ensure that critical systems and operations can be managed remotely, in case people have to work from home.
  • Become an advocate for succession planning, all the way to the top of the firm.
  • Make sure that all employee contact and personal information (HR files) is current.
  • Keep supplies of face masks and other preventive items in supply at all corporate locations.
  • Arrange for flu shots at the office and encourage staff to get them.

This was first published in August 2010

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