Prepared Citizens

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

  • Previous Posts

  • Michael Osterholm Quotes:

    “What we need to be doing now is the basic planning of how we get our communities through 12 to 18 months of a pandemic.”

    “Ninety-five out of 100 will live. But with the nation in crisis, will we have food and water? Are we going to have police and security? Will people come to work at all?”

    “It's the perfect setup. Then you put air travel in and it could be around the world overnight.”

    “We can predict now 12 to 18 months of stress of watching loved ones die, of wondering if you are going to have food on the table the next day. Those are all things that are going to mean that we are going to have to plan -- unlike any other crisis that we have had in literally the last 80-some years in this country.”

  • US Health and Human Services

    Secretary Michael Leavitt

    "If there is one message on pandemic preparedness that I could leave today that you would remember, it would be this:

    Any community that fails to prepare with the expectation that the federal government or for that matter the state government will be able to step forward and come to their rescue at the final hour will be tragically wrong,

    not because government will lack a will, not because we lack a collective wallet, but because there is no way that you can respond to every hometown in America at the same time."
  • Joseph C. Napoli, MD of Resiliency LLC

    "I think a new meaning is evolving for resiliency and resilience.

    In some contexts the words are being used to mean the strength to resist being impacted by an adverse event rather than either the “capacity to rebound” or “act of rebounding” from adversity.

    Therefore, resiliency and resilience appear to be assuming the meaning of fortitude, that is, “the strength or firmness of mind that enables a person to encounter danger with coolness and courage or to bear pain or adversity without despondency” as defined in the Webster’s Third New International Dictionary.

    If so, we are coming full circle with science accepting a religious moral virtue – fortitude – as written in the Bible’s Book of Wisdom"

  • Faith Based Resources

    John Piper
    Jonathan Edwards
    Pink-Saving Faith
    Pink-Christian Ethics

    "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves"
    (2 Corinthians 13:5).

    Why Faith Groups Must Care

    When the Darkness Will Not Lift by John Piper


    Be Not Afraid
    Overcoming the fear of Death
    by Johann Christoph Arnold

    While I am not a professional journalist, I do embrace the code of ethics put forth by the Society of Professional Journalists and the statement of purpose by the Association of Health Care Journalists and above all else I strive to "do no harm".

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  • Definitions

    from Wikipedia

    Pandemic Influenza

    An influenza pandemic is an epidemic of the influenza virus that spreads on a worldwide scale and infects a large proportion of the human population.

    In contrast to the regular seasonal epidemics of influenza, these pandemics occur irregularly, with the 1918 Spanish flu the most serious pandemic in recent history.

    Pandemics can cause high levels of mortality, with the Spanish influenza being responsible for the deaths of over 50 million people.

    There have been about 3 influenza pandemics in each century for the last 300 years. The most recent ones were the Asian Flu in 1957 and the Hong Kong Flu in 1968.

    Seasonal Influenza

    Flu season is the portion of the year in which there is a regular outbreak in flu cases.

    It occurs during the cold half of the year in each hemisphere.

    Flu activity can sometimes be predicted and even tracked geographically. While the beginning of major flu activity in each season varies by location, in any specific location these minor epidemics usually take about 3 weeks to peak and another 3 weeks to significantly diminish.

    Individual cases of the flu however, usually only last a few days. In some countries such as Japan and China, infected persons sometimes wear a surgical mask out of respect for others.

    Avian (Bird) Flu
    Avian influenza,

    sometimes Avian flu, and commonly Bird flu refers to "influenza caused by viruses adapted to birds."

    "Bird flu" is a phrase similar to "Swine flu", "Dog flu", "Horse flu", or "Human flu" in that it refers to an illness caused by any of many different strains of influenza viruses that have adapted to a specific host.

    All known viruses that cause influenza in birds belong to the species: Influenza A virus.

    All subtypes (but not all strains of all subtypes) of Influenza A virus are adapted to birds, which is why for many purposes avian flu virus is the Influenza A virus (note that the "A" does not stand for "avian").
    Adaptation is non-exclusive.

    Being adapted towards a particular species does not preclude adaptations, or partial adaptations, towards infecting different species.

    In this way strains of influenza viruses are adapted to multiple species, though may be preferential towards a particular host.

    For example, viruses responsible for influenza pandemics are adapted to both humans and birds.

    Recent influenza research into the genes of the Spanish Flu virus shows it to have genes adapted to both birds and humans; with more of its genes from birds than less deadly later pandemic strains.

    H5N1 Strain

    Influenza A virus subtype H5N1, also known as A(H5N1) or simply H5N1, is a subtype of the Influenza A virus which can cause illness in humans and many other animal species.

    A bird-adapted strain of H5N1, called HPAI A(H5N1) for "highly pathogenic avian influenza virus of type A of subtype H5N1", is the causative agent of H5N1 flu, commonly known as "avian influenza" or "bird flu".

    It is enzootic in many bird populations, especially in Southeast Asia. One strain of HPAI A(H5N1) is spreading globally after first appearing in Asia.

    It is epizootic (an epidemic in nonhumans) and panzootic (affecting animals of many species, especially over a wide area), killing tens of millions of birds and spurring the culling of hundreds of millions of others to stem its spread.

    Most references to "bird flu" and H5N1 in the popular media refer to this strain.

    As of the July 25, 2008 FAO Avian Influenza Disease Emergency Situation Update, H5N1 pathogenicity is continuing to gradually rise in wild birds in endemic areas but the avian influenza disease situation in farmed birds is being held in check by vaccination.

    Eleven outbreaks of H5N1 were reported worldwide in June 2008 in five countries (China, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan and Vietnam) compared to 65 outbreaks in June 2006 and 55 in June 2007.

    The "global HPAI situation can be said to have improved markedly in the first half of 2008 [but] cases of HPAI are still underestimated and underreported in many countries because of limitations in country disease surveillance systems".

    Pandemic Severity Index

    The Pandemic Severity Index (PSI) is a proposed classification scale for reporting the severity of influenza pandemics in the United States.

    The PSI was accompanied by a set of guidelines intended to help communicate appropriate actions for communities to follow in potential pandemic situations. [1]

    Released by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on February 1, 2007, the PSI was designed to resemble the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale

    From the Massachusetts Health and Human Services


    refers to separating people who are ill from other people to prevent the spread of a communicable disease.


    refers to separating and restricting the movement of people who have been exposed to a communicable disease and are not yet ill.
  • Additional Information

    Creative Commons License
    Prepared Citizens by Catherine "Jackie" Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
    Based on a work at

    The posts on this site are subject to change. Mostly due to errors in spelling or grammar. I never said I am a professional journalist. I have new appreciation for the job that they do. Also, not all comments made by others will make it onto this site. Comments that advertise a commercial product do not get posted most of the time.

    View blog top tags
  • standingfirm

How – in Monson MA

Posted by preparedcitizens on September 12, 2008

Fear stems, in part, from our unpreparedness. It is a fact that this is a major hurdle that we must get through – we will not be able to hide from this.

A pandemic is coming, it is coming soon (months not years) and It could and most likely will be devastating.

The truth is that unpreparedness will kill many more people beyond what the illness itself will do.

We have been given the intelligence and ability to think and plan for our future. We do this all the time under pleasant circumstances. We plan our vacations, and the good events of our lives sometimes years in advance. We also plan for the inevitable undesirable times by buying insurance, saving money for a “rainy day”, and preparing our homes for the seasons. We do this without concern about what others think because this type of planning is acceptable.

To prepare for disasters and future trouble that is not typical somehow doesn’t seem right. We worry what others will think. We worry that we will waste hard earned money on a problem that may not happen. This type of planning just doesn’t set well with us when our immediate problems, like the electric or oil bill is pressing on us. Our priorities are on the issues that are in the forefront of our minds. I juggle this myself. How can I buy 3 months worth of food when paying my bills means there is less than $200 at the end of the month – or sometimes worse.

In Monson, MA we have quite a few local stores that can help us to prepare. Shop the sales. Use coupons. Store items that have a long shelf life. Instead of one jar of peanut butter, buy two. Purchase less already prepared food and buy more staples that can be used as ingredients. I love ready prepared food. Cooking is not a favorite pasttime of mine. But I have had to change this in order to afford to prepare. I buy a lot less ready made cookies, a lot less soda and juices and buy a lot more drink mixes, flour, sugar and salt.  I forego pop tarts and microwave popcorn, ouch, for nuts, raisins, dried fruit, and canned fruit cocktail. One important thing I learned….just because it is storable doesn’t mean its a good purchase if my family doesn’t like it and won’t eat it anyway.

There is no great mystery to preparing. It is not hard to do when we set our minds to it. We simply must accept that there is a need to prepare – and in this economy and in this current world culture we must live and breath preparedness. I am not talking bomb shelters in the back yard simply the goods that we need and use every day (and having a three months supply of medicines and water too).

I have purchased quite a bit of food at Ocean State. Pasta, rice, sauces, flour, nuts, beans, having all this on hand has been helpful during those tighter than normal weeks where shopping was last on my list of priorities. Clearance clothing at Kmart or Walmart bought off season helps too. Arnolds Meats in East Longmeadow and Chicopee has fantastic sales on meat. Strums in Holyoke does too. Consider shopping for neighbors who cannot travel that far.

I have even bought clothes at Goodwill in Palmer when necessary. Also, passing clothing along to others when we no longer have use of them is a blessing to the recipient. As a young mother on a tight budget I secretly loved those huge trash bags full of hand-me-downs from my sister in law. In turn, I loved filling them up and handing them on to someone else – there is real joy in that.

We can do so much to prepare – it just takes a willingness to do so and some imagination thrown in. All things that we are good at in our country and in our town.

To not utilize all that we have been given, even when we are afraid, is not God honoring. To not prepare now would be as foolhardy as attempting to stare down a hurricane. There are people who get a thrill out of doing these things. There are times though, especially when facing an unknown but something that is thought to be a devastating event, that thumbing your nose at it is beyond foolhardy — in fact, it could be considered detrimental to others as well.

One of the most important tools that we will have at our disposal during a pandemic is the ability to stay away from each other. Social distancing, not coming in contact with those who are ill or exposed, will be important because it stops the spread of pandemic influenza in its tracks. That is why closing schools early and keeping them closed will be important. That is also why shopping for goods and calling for services will not be wise when influenza is in our area. Some things we will be able to do but we will need to know how to do this safely. We will need to not bring items into our homes that have been exposed to people who are ill or infected.

We must stock up what we will need ahead of time. And this is a hard thing to do in this economy. For most of us it takes months. Considering that a pandemic could start at any time, we just don’t know when, we need to start now and we need to rotate what we purchase using the oldest items first.

When schools are closed, and we are sheltering in place, we will need to entertain our well children. Thinking ahead and planning for continuing their education is also important. Forward thinking schools can make plans for this now. Utilizing the internet and phone trees, having the books and papers prepared ahead of time and in the parents hands, education can keep happening. But we need to plan this out. In order to plan this out there must first be an awareness of this problem. Our new school committee in town must have pandemic preparedness as a priority issue if we are to keep the children and families in town out of harms way. Our teachers and administrators must not be exposed if we are to be a resilient town.

Likewise, we must consider personal protection equipment for our law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMS personnel who will be on duty during a pandemic. Local government must also be protected. Each department head must be protected if we desire continuity of government — all necessary for our own personal health and safety.

Losing electricity from any cause during a pandemic will be problematic. With absenteeism it may take a good deal longer for repairs. This is true for any services that we appreciate now. Trash pickup, oil delivery, plumbing issues, deliveries of goods to local stores – these will all slow down or even could become non-existent during local outbreaks of pandemic influenza. Planning and preparing for this now is crucial.

So the “how” of it is – it takes effort. We have to work at this. No one will prepare for us and I don’t believe that we will hear any announcements from local, state, or federal governments until it is too late to prepare. It takes us, the citizens, to tell each other. It takes us, the citizens, to inspire change. It takes us, the citizens, to demonstrate to the local, state, and federal governments that we can handle the truth – whatever that truth is – because honestly, right now, those entities are concerned that telling the truth could be a problem. We have to give them permission to tell us the truth by showing them that we are up to this task.

Allow your fear to prompt you to action. That is it’s function. Fight or flight.

To prepare means that you are ready to fight what is ahead.

Once prepared we can be ready to serve – and that is what will be needed in order for us to survive as communities, as a nation. We are Americans, we can do this because we must.

We have a great community in Monson MA, let’s fight to keep it that way. Prepare now!

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