Pandemic Flu and You: Get Informed, Stay Informed
How would your community respond to a flu pandemic or other health emergency? What impact would this have on you and your family? And how can you keep track of the latest developments? Understanding the potential challenges you may face in your community in the event of a flu pandemic can help you to plan and prepare for a variety of possible outcomes.
Get Informed About…
What services may be disrupted
- Services provided by health care facilities - like hospitals, clinics and doctors' offices - may be reduced or unavailable. If you or any family member require ongoing medical treatment through one of these facilities, speak to them about developing a contingency plan. For other health care needs, keep a list of medically related telephone numbers close at hand (e.g. provincial or territorial health information lines, city or municipal public health department contacts).
- Banks may be closed, and cash machines and credit card services may not work, so - if possible - keep some cash at home for necessary purchases.
- Stores (e.g. grocery stores, pharmacies) and restaurants may be closed or have limited supplies, so create an emergency stockpile of food, water and other necessities for your home. You should already have an emergency kit and an emergency plan.
- Childcare facilities and schools may also close, so consider other options for childcare in the event you are required to continue working.
- Transportation services may be disrupted. If you use public transportation to get to work or to travel to others who rely on your care, consider developing a contingency plan to deal with these situations.
Pandemic plans at your workplace
- Find out if your place of employment has a Business Continuity Plan to address how it will operate during an event like a flu pandemic. Read over the plan to familiarize yourself with any potential changes in operations and how they would impact your responsibilities.
- Explore the option of working from home. This may help lessen the spread of the flu in the workplace, as well as help solve childcare and transportation problems.
- If you have people who report to you, gather information you think they will need to know. This could include leave policies, options for working from home, what to do if employees become ill at work, and who to contact if they become ill at home or have to stay home to care for others. Make this information available in a handout, through internal e-mail or post it on the company Intranet site.
What's being done at the local, provincial and national level
In order to determine how your community will take action during a flu pandemic, visit your city or municipal website or call the public health department and ask if a pandemic plan has been established. If one exists, ask for a copy or download it (if applicable). You can do the same at the provincial/territorial level. For a national plan, please consult The Canadian Pandemic Influenza Plan for the Health Sector.
Make a list of sources you can go to for reliable, up-to-date information during a flu pandemic. Follow local and national news casts on radio and/or television and read the newspaper. In addition, each province/territory and municipality will have information posted on their website. Find these sites and bookmark them on your computer for easy access. For national information, go to www.fightflu.ca or call 1-800-454-8302.