In the past I wrote a couple of articles about emergency preparedness – Being Prepared Is Not Just For Boy Scouts Anymore & September is National Preparedness Month. Both of these articles, which are basically the same, were written to encourage the development of a documented plan to stay safe in the event of a natural disaster.
These types of naturally occurring events are specific to the region of the country in which you live. As these articles suggest, a plan and supplies are the main requirements for emergency preparedness. Everyone in your home needs to understand the plan and practice it to keep it fresh in your mind for when an event occurs.
One thing most don’t consider in emergency preparedness planning, is a pandemic. The definition of a pandemic according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is, “an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area (such as multiple countries or continents) and typically affects a significant proportion of the population”.
Probably the main reason for this is that pandemics don’t occur often, as is the case with natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, tornado’s, earthquakes, etc. The last pandemic, the Spanish Flu, also known as the 1918 flu pandemic, occurred about 100 years ago.
When COVID-19 became known widespread, it had already infected a lot of people in multiple countries. Most did not have plans in place for this type of emergency which may have been the main reason it spread so quickly.
Healthcare professionals were scrambling to learn more about this disease. Hospitals were inundated with patients that were dying before they could be treated because they didn’t understand how to effectively treat them. If only they had an emergency preparedness plan for this type of disaster…a pandemic.
As with any research into a subject or situation, the idea is to learn from past similar situations. Since the 1918 flu is the most recent pandemic, researchers looked into what they did that worked for their situation. Ideas that worked were implemented and research continues to discover an effective vaccine to stop the spread.
The basic requirements for emergency preparedness for natural disasters holds true for a pandemic as well. Create a plan and stock supplies. The plan will include various aspects of your life such as work, school, gatherings, travel, necessary supplies, when & how to use them effectively, etc.
The CDC – Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, has information to learn how to protect yourself and others which is emergency preparedness in real time. Or maybe I should call it emergency protectedness since the pandemic has been around for months, and all of us are trying to protect ourselves and hopefully others from the effects of COVID-19.