INTRODUCTION TO BUILDING A PANDEMIC RESPONSE PLAN
If you are familiar with Disaster Recovery or Business Continuity planning, you will realize that pandemic planning is slightly different. Pandemic planning requires that people and entities not accustomed to responding to health crises understand the actions and priorities required to prepare for and respond to these potential risks.
Information for pandemic planning comes in part from assumptions about your environment and that which impacts your organization and people. That is not new to ‘planners’ but is a different set of assumptions that deal with susceptibility, transmission, incubation and waves of infection require you to think differently then you might if planning for a earthquake, fire or cyber attack.
The following sections of the Resource Guide will provide several links to resources, plan building and an example timeline. One section contains a Pandemic plan template for your use. Feel free to modify the template to meet your specific needs. The rest of the sections address areas that as a ‘planner’ you see in day to day disaster recovery and business continuity effort, such as business impact, incident command, assessments and personnel skills.
All in all we hope that this section provides an abundance of resources and details all of which assist you in building your plan.
How to build a plan
Building a plan is an effort not to be undertaken lightly; however with a little advance planning it can be done in pieces to achieve the desired goal. Let’s first backup a little bit though to be sure that you have the support or sponsorship of your leadership before embarking on the journey. Without that support, you may quickly run into barriers preventing the accumulation of the necessary data that would go into a plan. The sections that follow this will provide details to consider building in your plan. Look at each as a ‘mini-project’ where you can gather the information for your environment and then apply that to your expected needs during a pandemic. Finally, if you are a long time planner, many of these items will seem very familiar and ones which have a slightly different slant because we planning for a possible pandemic and not disaster events that you have likely planned for in the past.
Timeline for preparations
As stated above in “How to Build a Plan” getting a pandemic plan together can be daunting. Advance planning is necessary in order to make a pandemic plan a valuable piece of the response used within your environment. As a result, the timeline for preparing a plan will vary greatly, depending on the size and scope of the intended plan. A company faces slightly different challenges in maintaining critical operations and supporting customers. A municipality provides services to their residents which may be more basic to one’s well being. Also consider school districts and their particular concern with educating students while meeting various state and local regulations. Each area or ‘environment’ provides a unique set of circumstances that must be considered impacting the draft timeline when preparing a pandemic plan. The best guidance is to understand the environment which the plan is expected to cover. Use that information to develop a timeline that is reasonable with some room for those barriers which you do not currently know about or understand.
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