Save Your Company from Bird Flu:
101 Tips for Preparing for Pandemic Flu

Bird Flu might never strike. But if it does, how well will your company withstand it? By planning now, and by making small changes in your operations and planned activities, you can actually gain market share if a pandemic event occurs.

The H5N1 virus (in gold)
The H5N1 virus (in gold). Photo credit: C. Goldsmith, J. Katz, and S. Zaki. Photo: U.S. Centers for Disease Control

If — or maybe we should say when — a pandemic event occurs, whether from bird flu or another agent, how well will your company perform? What will happen to your operations if 15-35% of your employees (according to an estimate of the US Centers for Disease Control) either do not report for work or fall ill? What will happen to your company afterwards if 5% of your employees die or are permanently disabled?

Most businesses and government agencies have some form of operational continuity plan in place. The typical plan is more than eighteen months old, and it was designed for a natural disaster — a tornado, hurricane, earthquake or fire. Most operational continuity plans are either outmoded or inapplicable to pandemic events.

Organizations that deal with pandemic flu successfully will be those that have done more than produce a plan and file it away.

The three keys to organizational survival in a pandemic event are continuous planning, periodic exercises, and making pandemic awareness a part of normal operations.

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Is your organization fully prepared for pandemic flu? Do you have new products scheduled for release in the next eighteen months? Have you considered what a pandemic event might do to your plans? Does your organization operate one or more centralized data centers? Do you know what will happen if one of those data centers is ordered closed by local health authorities? These are just some of this issues you might have to face if pandemic influenza develops, or if a pandemic emergency is declared. 101 Tips for Preparing for Pandemic Flu gives you tips for planning for, managing and recovering from pandemic flu events.

What you'll learn

101 Tips for Preparing for Pandemic FluRead 101 Tips for Preparing for Pandemic Flu to learn techniques for preparing for and managing pandemic incidents — tips and insights that could take you a lifetime to invent on your own. You'll learn, for example:

  • Novel approaches for adapting your facilities to make them pandemic-resistant
  • What aspects of your own operations to monitor during a pandemic event
  • What to anticipate in terms of legal consequences, from pandemic alert to pandemic aftermath, and how best to prepare for it
  • How to incorporate pandemic response planning into your marketing planning right now
  • What to do to minimize the impact of pandemic events on financing and financial planning
  • Devices and procedures you can put in place today that will make communications far more effective in a pandemic emergency

Who can benefit

This tips book addresses a broad readership:

  • Organizational leaders who want to guide sponsors and leaders of pandemic response planning teams within their organizations
  • Sponsors of pandemic response planning teams who want solid results faster
  • Leaders of pandemic response planning teams who want to adjust their approaches to the latest thinking about what to anticipate during each stage of the pandemic
  • Members of pandemic response planning teams who want to develop plans that will meet the needs of their organizations

What you do with it depends on your role in your organization. Here are just two ideas:

Organizational leaders
If you've chartered a pandemic response planning team, make sure the team lead sees a copy. Have a conversation about the comparison between what the team is producing and what kinds of suggestions you find in the ebook.
Leaders of pandemic response planning teams
Use the ebook as the basis for a conversation or brainstorming session. Explore those ideas that are good fits, and talk about how some others might be modified to fit your needs.

What's in this ebook

This ebook includes a range of suggestions for configuring your organization to survive, and even to thrive, in the pandemic environment. It's packed with tips and techniques for:

  • Developing a Strategy for Pandemic Flu
  • Making Your Facilities Pandemic-Resistant
  • Making Your Operations Pandemic-Resistant
  • What to Do When a Pandemic Is Declared
  • What to Do When the Pandemic Reaches Your Company or Facility
  • Planning for the Aftermath

And it's all packaged in a single, compact ebook. Load it onto your Acrobat-enabled tablet, smartphone, or laptop and carry it with you on your next trip.

Some sample tips

Here are some sample tips.

Document your planning efforts and preparation activities
If your facility is hit especially hard, the stricken and their survivors might feel that the organization and its management contributed in some way to the unusual incidence of disease in your facility. Legal action by those stricken, their survivors, shareholders, customers, vendors or neighbors might follow. Any defense against such action will be more effective if you've maintained a clear record of dedicated effort, management commitment, generous expenditure, and prudent action.
Consider rescheduling securities offerings
New offerings scheduled further out than the immediate future risk appearing in the midst of a pandemic event. Bring them closer in, or push them further out, recognizing that pushing them out will likely put you in a very long queue, if a pandemic materializes. Whether or not rescheduling seems like a good idea right now to you, it will seem so to some; those who act earliest will benefit the most.
Eliminate public pens
Eliminate the pen at building guest sign in, or anyplace where you now provide public pens. Let people use their own pens. If they need pens, give them pens to keep, or provide a drop slot for collecting pens after a single use, and then disinfect them before handing them out again.
Encourage people to use sick leave
The single policy change that will provide the most encouragement to people to actually stay home when they're sick is to increase the days of sick allowance, and to segregate sick leave from vacation and holiday time. In other words, eliminate the use of, or create a less favorable exchange rate for, the use of sick days as vacation time. Second best idea: do not pay for unused sick days in the event of termination or retirement, and don't let them accumulate indefinitely. Cap their accumulation, or let them expire after a decent period.

Table of contents

Click the folder icons to reveal (or hide) individual chapter content summaries, or:

  • 1Understand what a pandemic is
  • 2Have a pandemic response plan
  • 3Set appropriate goals
  • 4Document your planning efforts and preparation activities
  • 5Establish an advisory review board for public statements
  • 6Know WHO's six phases of pandemic response
  • 7Establish a pandemic reserve
  • 8Assume that vaccines will be unavailable
  • 9Plan for border closures and quarantines
  • 10Plan not for business continuity — plan for business discontinuity
  • 11Intentionally choose to operate less profitably
  • 12Defer relocations that are intended to unite dispersed facilities
  • 13Monitor employee rights
  • 14Suspend your JIT inventory strategy
  • 15Defer image realignment
  • 16Consider rescheduling securities offerings
  • 17Consider rescheduling new product offerings
  • 18Encourage people to use sick leave
  • 19Prepare emergency facilities
  • 20Cooperate with other facilities
  • 21Cooperate with local authorities
  • 22Document, document, document
  • 23Offer home preparedness training
  • 24Exploit opportunities for seasonal facilities
  • 25Suspend some projects now
  • 26Include the pandemic in project risk plans
  • 27Devise a plan for urgent suspension of projects
  • 28Drill, drill, drill
  • 29Know the risks of communications trees
  • 30Re-establish contact with retired or former employees
  • 31Favor solo decision makers over committees
  • 32Designate roles by code name
  • 33Create communication infrastructure for code names
  • 34Report dead birds
  • 35Install excess data center capacity
  • 36Suspend self-service food stations
  • 37Eliminate public pens
  • 38Eliminate bird attractors
  • 39Upgrade bird guards
  • 40Inspect bird guards weekly
  • 41Increase use of fresh air
  • 42Use the overnight to purge used air
  • 43Upgrade the air filtration system
  • 44Increase the refresh rate in elevators
  • 45Use touchless elevator controls
  • 46Use no-contact or low-contact access control technology
  • 47Install thermal scanners
  • 48Use motion sensors to actuate outside doors
  • 49Use touchless technologies in lavatories
  • 50Review supplier agreements
  • 51Reconfigure your supply chain
  • 52Anticipate absenteeism
  • 53Encourage telecommuting
  • 54Replace meetings with conference calls
  • 55Expand network capacity
  • 56Expand facility telephone capacity
  • 57Set priorities for telecommuting and telemeetings
  • 58Prepare to seal some facilities
  • 59Replace scheduled air services with private services
  • 60Replace air travel with virtual travel
  • 61Educate employees about disease transmission
  • 62Ask air travelers to request fresh gloves
  • 63Advise travelers to carry medical kits
  • 64Encourage employees to shop on-line
  • 65Wave, smile, and nod
  • 66Treat coming to work sick as a performance issue
  • 67Ensure access to critical documents
  • 68Ensure access to necessary contact information
  • 69Increase cash and currency reserves
  • 70Increase staff reserves
  • 71Increase inventories of critical supplies
  • 72Review succession planning
  • 73Renew passports
  • 74Have an alternate transport plan
  • 75Have a multi-stage response plan
  • 76Escalate standards in food service safety
  • 77Seal pre-designated facilities
  • 78Invoke pandemic clauses in cleaning services contracts
  • 79Stagger shifts
  • 80Stagger lunchtimes
  • 81Encourage people to eat lunch at their desks or outside
  • 82Encourage employees to avoid public transport
  • 83Recognize that the virus will likely target demographic groups selectively
  • 84Defer face-to-face training in non-critical topics
  • 85Advise employees to defer family gatherings
  • 86Advise employees to defer routine medical treatment
  • 87Encourage employees to defer vacations
  • 88Consider defenses against intentional infection
  • 89Have flexible leave policies
  • 90Plan for grief counseling
  • 91Suspend non-critical activities
  • 92Monitor waste management
  • 93Ensure graceful power-up and power-down
  • 94Consider offering expertise and labor to local authorities
  • 95Have a procedure for dealing with employees who become ill at work
  • 96Announce deaths in batches
  • 97Anticipate an increase in customer service load
  • 98Assume that you'll be one of the few left standing
  • 99Plan for a spike in load on your legal offices
  • 100Remember the fallen
  • 101Recognize heroic efforts

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