FLU PANDEMIC PLANNING
What's more important in New York State? Giving illegal aliens state drivers licenses or taking control of the State Senate ....or ...emergency/disaster preparedness?
Northern Berkshire Community Coalition to Hold Forum on Preparing for a Flu Pandemic
Contact: Al Bashevkin or Ed Sedarbaum, 663-7588
The Northern Berkshire Community Coalition urges the public to attend an important community discussion on “Emergency Preparedness: Preparing for a Flu Pandemic.” The forum will be held on Friday, October 12th from 10 a.m. to noon at the First Baptist Church in North Adams, and will include representatives from the Berkshire County Boards of Health Association as well as representatives of the Community Pandemic Planning Team facilitated by Northern Berkshire Healthcare.
Two years ago in September the world watched the devastation of the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina. All of America decried the fact that people — especially people without private resources -- were stranded amidst a communications and public health network that was broken.
Scientists know that every 50 or 60 years, an extremely difficult strain of the flu virus that affects humans takes hold. The Spanish flu pandemic in 1918-19 killed over 500,000 people in the U.S. During the 1957 Asian flu, 70,000 Americans lost their lives. The “bird flu,” as the present flu strain is commonly called, has affected people far from us. If this strain finds an easy means of transmission amongst people, it may be able to travel worldwide, and we may face another pandemic. It’s estimated that up to 40% of our workforce may be either sick or caring for someone and not at work.
The October 12th forum will bring the community together to talk about preparedness for the potential of a flu pandemic. By planning for the worst-case scenario of a pandemic, we will also be better prepared for other emergencies. In case of a flu pandemic or other public health crisis, what can we do to prevent and slow its transmission? What are the community resources we have to care for afflicted people in our community? How do we get official word out about what to do?
Local agencies are working together to prepare for this potential, and we need to ensure that the broader community is engaged. The October 12th Coalition forum is a part of that process. Join us!
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J P Sullivan