In my previous post, I indicated that I was comfortable with where my household preparations are in terms of the threat of an Avian Flu (H5N1) outbreak in the human population. That much IS true. Where I am uncomfortable in that regard is where my city and county governments are in relation to this potential threat.
Fortunately we live in a country where we as citizens have the ears of our governmental decisionmakers.
I was in dialogue this morning again with my city manager. To date, our city has their disaster contingency plans largely rooted in the Y2K build-up. It seems our particular local government is at this point pretty satisfied with their capabilities because of the work they put into that.
However, I have been encouraging them to again be proactive for this very serious threat on the horizon. In fact, I am offering my own time and energy to assist in planning and procurement if they will decide to stay ahead of the curve and not wait till the virus is actually going head to head in the human population ... at which point there will be nothing anyone can do anywhere to make adequate logistical moves. By then, the recent post-hurricane buying frenzies that quickly depleted critical supply lines will seem like a fond memory.
THE Most Important Preparation You Can Make for H5N1
The way I see it, there's not even a close second in terms of preparing for a pandemic ... the most important steps that need to be taken are the ones local government authorities must take to ensure their citizens are adequately provided for in terms of food, water- and heat-utility contingency plans, medical care and emergency response capability, and quarantine enforcement issues, among others.
The time to do all of that is right now. If tomorrow's headline reports H5N1 is spreading human to human in Asia, then it's already too late to do much of any consequence in preparing locally in the U.S.
If your government hasn't done their job in this regard by that point, your local situation is going to be worst-case ... and that is very bad news, regardless of whatever personal preparing you have done.
Ultimately, YOU are responsible for how your government will take on this challenge, if at all. There's not anything you can do that would be more constructive than to contact your local governmental authorities right now. Make sure they know that you expect them to pay attention to the threat. Better yet, volunteer to be of whatever help you can be in planning your local response to a burgeoning pandemic.
The official document: National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza
A relevant link: Story on President Bush's Speech Today on the Likely Pandemic
Another link of interest: Homeland Security Chief Puts the Burden and Responsibility for Being Prepared on People