Wednesday, April 29, 2009

And This Little Piggy ...

... was in quarantine.

I have had over 500 emails in my inbox since Saturday morning. The senders vary -- many are from my bosses and colleagues, but many are from local health officials, emergency management officers, and CDC doctors.

Some of these emails contain information that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. It is one of the disadvantages of receiving emails that are not for public posting ... sometimes I think you can have too much information. And I've been soaking up information like a sponge these past five days.

For the last three years, I have been in charge of the Pandemic Flu planning for our school district. It has been challenging, at best. Many of my training classes were full of skeptics and nay-sayers. Many of our Department Heads and Principals hemmed and hawed about having to complete more planning paperwork about a seemingly irrelevant topic instead of focusing on more pressing academic issues.

Since Saturday morning, 15 of my 500 emails were emails from those same cynics saying, "Thank you".

While many people are scrambling and panicking -- and I want to stress that while this outbreak is serious, the sky is NOT falling -- our district is taking this in stride. We have been ready for three years. We have the plans, we have practiced the plans, and we are now putting the plans in action.

Having worked on the Bioterrorism Response Team for the city before coming to the district, I truly trust that everyone is doing what they need to do to keep as many people safe and healthy right now.

"I'm from the government, and I'm here to help."

However, it is going to take more than just the government doing their job. It is going to take all of us doing our job, too.

For years, the government has been telling us to be prepared ... to have an emergency kit ready just in case ... to have family plan. The reason why they have been saying that is because if something does happen, the cavalry ain't coming.

There are 303,850,000 in the United States according to the 2006 census. There is no way the government can provide food/water/medicine for everyone.

Fact: there are only about 50 million doses of Tamiflu stockpiled in the National Strategic Stockpile. So, 1 out of every 6 people can get Tamiflu.

If you haven't made your kit yet, here's a website to get you started:

Some of our friends and family have been been calling or writing me with questions since they know I am getting a little bit more information that the general public. Please know that I cannot release certain information -- I could tell you, but then I'd have to string you up by your toenails.

I'm not saying that you should live your lives in fear over the next several months, but I am saying that you need to adapt to the current situations.

I, for one, am determined to single-handedly help prevent the spread of the Swine Flu by putting bacon on everything I eat!

Mmmmm, bacon ... the forgotten food group!

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