According to the CDC, flu activity most commonly peaks in January and February. Click on this URL, http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/WeeklyFluActivityMap.htm, to see the latest summary of flu activity in the United States. As you will see, the flu is currently widespread in many states.
Archive for the ‘Pandemics/Epidemics’ Category
Click here to view an 8:51 screencast that I did of the importance of disaster planning in libraries. The focus of the screencast is on major disasters that can greatly impact library operations.
Every morning, I spend about 20 minutes looking over my RSS news feeds, all related to emergency preparedness. Currently, most of the news is about the just-ended hurricane season, however, I’ve noticed a trend toward a greater concern about the threat of bioterrorism. The two events that seem to have prompted this concern are the release of the progress report by the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism coupled with the amount of time it has taken to distribute the H1N1 vaccine. The Commission’s report warns that “The biological threat is greater than the nuclear; the acquisition of deadly pathogens, and their weaponization and dissemination in aerosol form, would entail fewer technical hurdles than the theft or production of weapons-grade uranium or plutonium and its assembly into an improvised nuclear device.” This warning along with the potential of an accidental incident dealing with harzardous materials should prompt us all to be looking at our shelter-in-place procedures.
Cyber terrorism is also getting a lot of attention, thanks in part by last month’s 60 Minutes report. A potential target, experts warn, is the power grid, so you may want to keep your print core textbooks accessible and up-to-date.
Statistically, December is the month with the fewest tornadoes, so this is a good time to be looking over your tornado response procedures. We’re also seeing a downward trend of H1N1 activity. Hopefully, you all have a solid pandemic plan in place in the event that the virus spikes again in the winter or spring. (If not, check out our Pandemic Planning Resources page.) And if you have a pandemic plan, you are therefore ready for a severe winter storm, as many of the steps you would take in a pandemic (e.g. reduced staffing, work from home) you could also take with a severe winter storm.
Thanks to a grant from the Southeastern/Atlantic Region of the NN/LM, an Emergency Preparedness & Service Continuity meeting was held before the annual meeting of the Alabama Health Libraries Association (ALHeLA) last week in Mobile, Alabama. Featured were Dr. Ronald Franks, Vice President for Health Sciences and Beverly Kellen, Practice Director, Student Health, University of South Alabama, who shared their thoughts on pandemic influenza planning. In addition, Dan Wilson, coordinator, NN/LM Emergency Preparedness & Response Initiative, presented “A 10-Step Approach to Service Continuity Planning,” and Beth Wescott, Network Access Coordinator for SE/A, spoke about services and support offered by the RML.
Much progress was made at the meeting. All participants agreed to complete a service continuity PReP plan for their library and to participate in a future statewide table-top exercise. Thanks to Jie Li, Assistant Director for Collection Management, University of South Alabama Biomedical Library, for organizing the event!