Sunday, June 04, 2006

 

Having the Pandemic Flu Conversation at Work

I went to a networking event the other night. I mentioned to a friend that I was getting vocal again about emergency preparedness. She told me she had been following the news on bird flu and had begun to prepare. A man we know heard us talking and chimed in. He began to laugh and make fun of anyone who would worry about anything so silly.

Perhaps you've been thinking about planning for pandemic flu or bird flu. Maybe you've wanted to have the conversation at work, but are worried about the response you might get. You'll probably get some snide remarks. But remember--before they required it, lots of people didn't have car insurance. Many people just don't make contingency plans of any kind. Ask those who laugh to tell you how they feel about insurance. You may be surprised. They may not believe it's important. Just change the subject and talk about the weather or the movie you saw last weekend. There is no point in talking preparedness with people who only have insurance when it's required by law.

You can have a meaningful conversation with people who think having insurance is a good idea.

Planning and preparing for emergencies is just good, common sense. Whether you are planning for your business or your family, if you begin stocking up on extra supplies now, you will have no difficulty finding what you need. If you buy now, the supply will be increased to meet the demand. Wait until an emergency and it will be too late.

For more information on how to prepare for any emergency, visit Emergency Kitchen

Friday, June 02, 2006

 

Alternative to storing water

Last week, at the Fairfax County Pandemic Flu Summit, a representative of the water department reminded us that if the electricity fails, they cease delivering water. So, if electric company employees don't get sick and if water department employees don't get sick, you will still have power and water. But - if they do get sick, you may need to use your stored water.

It only takes a quick look at how much space a gallon of water takes up to see that water storage is a huge problem. I don't know anyone who has enough water stored at home to make even a dent in how much they might need in an emergency. The rule of thumb is to store 1 gallon of water per person per day. One gallon only covers drinking and minimal washing - no flushing or showers.

One alternate solution is a quality hiking/camping water filter. At least, it's good for those of us who have ponds and streams nearby. I just looked at the specifications for the Katadyn filter I bought a few years ago. It removes cysts, bacteria, algae, but not viruses. I can kill viruses with bleach or boiling. My pocket filter will treat 13,000 gallons of water. You can purchase high quality filters at good sporting goods stores.

Yes - getting water from a stream means going outside, but if you cannot store water, going to a stream may be better than standing in line with hundreds of people to get water from a delivery truck.

To read more about water treatment, go to
Emergency Kitchen Water Paper

Thursday, June 01, 2006

 

Make preparing fun

You see it everywhere. The Red Cross, PandemicFlu.gov, FEMA. They all say, "Store non-perishable food and water." But no one tells you what to store.

I had lunch with my friend, Lisa, today. She told me that, after lunch, she was headed to Costco to stock up. I asked her what she was planning to buy. She said, "Tuna and canned chicken." She was about where I was in December of 1998. I had bought a lot of canned food and I thought we were prepared. Then we had an ice storm that left us without eletricity, water or heat and I implemented our plan. It didn't work! I didn't know what to do with the supplies I had purchased. My family rebelled at eating the gross food I put on their plates. I had just thrown cans in my cart with no thought about what to do with the contents.

Later, after much experimenting and testing, I discovered that some canned food is more edible than others. Since 1998, I've added canned food to our regular menus. I found that canned artichokes are wonderful. Canned crab makes a passable crab cake. Canned carrots are good in carrot cake.

If you want your employees to prepare, help them add non-perishable food to their regular menus. Give them cooking demonstrations and recipes. Make it fun. Have recipe contests with fun prizes.

For more information on how to prepare for any emergency, visit Emergency Kitchen

Monday, May 29, 2006

 

Bird Flu Preparedness for Business

I attended 2 Bird Flu symposiums in the Washington, DC area last week. The first was held at the US Chamber of Commerce just a couple of blocks from the White House. The other was at the Fairfax County, Virginia, Government Center.

Both surprised me. There were high level business and government people at both. I expected to hear pretty much the same message that I heard before Y2K - "Don't worry, we'll take care of you." I didn't hear that message. I heard concern and planning.

They have no idea if or when a pandemic might occur, but they're worried. They are planning how to keep businesses and the government running if a third of their workforce doesn't show up. One theme at both symposiums was telework. Sounds good to me. Stay away from crowds as much as possible to avoid the virus. Keep your workers home and they may be able to continue working. Have only necessary people on site and you will minimize the threat.

The one problem with their plans is that unprepared workers will have to go out into crowds to get supplies. If the employees are not prepared, the business is not prepared.

For more information on how to prepare for any emergency, visit Emergency Kitchen

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