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Flu and pandemic preparedness: Expert insights

Disease outbreaks and pandemics are inevitable.  Over the past 60 years, the number of new diseases has increased fourfold, and the number of large scale outbreaks has more than tripled since 1980. A large scale outbreak or pandemic poses an unusual threat to businesses and agencies as it decreases personnel output and availability rather than compromising physical assets and equipment. While many organizations have plans in place to protect their operations from disasters that may threaten their physical assets, few have sufficient pandemic preparedness aimed to mitigate threats to their human assets. A common disease that may pose the greatest risk of reaching pandemic status is influenza, or the flu. There typically 3 to 4 major influenza pandemics each century, including the Spanish Flu of 1918, the Asian Flu of 1957, the Hong Kong Flu of 1968, and the 1977 Russian Flu. The risk of an outbreak becoming a pandemic is heightened by growing urbanization and globalization of business and travel. Just last year alone there were nearly 4 billion air trips taken across the globe. A major pandemic causes large numbers of personnel from any type of business to miss time due to personal illness, illness within the family, or possibly even death. It can have economic, governmental, and sociological effects as well. In order to mitigate loss due to illnesses, the US department of Homeland Security suggests that a proper pandemic preparedness response plan should contain the following elements:

  • Identification of essential functions and positions
  • A developed emergency staffing plan
  • A developed plan for emergency management
  • And more…

Everbridge recently teamed up with Steven Crimando, Principal, Behavioral Science Applications, to develop a whitepaper that provides a framework for how an organization should create their own customized pandemic preparedness plan. Steven M. Crimando is a subject matter expert and trainer specialized in human factors/behavioral sciences in homeland and corporate security, violence prevention and intervention, as well as emergency and disaster management. Steve is the principal of Behavioral Science Applications and serves as a consultant and trainer for the federal, state and local law enforcement and emergency management agencies, as well as multinational corporations and NGO’s worldwide. To learn more, read the Flu and Pandemic Preparedness whitepaper. Learn more about how Everbridge can help your organization.

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