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
    Reformation
    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

    Stand

    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



    Isolation


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



    Quarantine


    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 http://www.preparedcitizens.org.




    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.


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Archive for the ‘pandemic’ Category

Vigilance Without Being Vigilantes

Posted by preparedcitizens on November 25, 2008

A health care crisis requires something of us consumers. We are not experiencing just one health related crisis, as most of us are aware we are actually struggling on several levels at once.

Not only dealing with the economic and insurance related matters, we are also combating changes in infectious diseases themselves. This is all swirling into a perfect storm which will have a serious impact on each one of us in the days ahead. We will all be effected and if we do not become vigilant now we may be swallowed up by the storm.

Case in point

Recent surgery that my husband endured brought us up close and personal with a bacterial infection. If we did not recognize the infection right away, if we weren’t aware of the dangers of what we were up against, if we weren’t able to impress upon the various physicians we were dealing with what we were looking at as far as the infection was concerned, things may have turned out very differently than they seem to be now.  And because of the nature of health care right now our vigilance was crucial. An appropriate antibiotic given at just the right time seems to be having a positive effect. A close call was averted because we knew what we were looking at, we knew to be concerned and we knew not to wait until the infection got out of control. We really do have to be wise health care consumers right now. We cannot rely on our health care professionals alone because there may be a time coming when they just will not be available. If we do not have the answers we need to know where to go, who to ask, and how to ask, in order to obtain the answers that we need. Unfortunately, right now there are shortcomings in the system and as consumers we need to pick up the slack.

What I am not saying is that this is the fault of anyone in particular. The dominoes are falling while we watch. Consumers have have had a hand in the situation that we are in.

A litigious society has resulted in insurance rates that have skyrocketed both on the consumer side and the provider side. The behavior of a few, seeking to take advantage for their own gain, may have punished us all. I know of many lawsuits which have resulted in outrageous awards that really should not have even been considered the slightest bit legitimate. We all know stories. To me this is similar to shoplifters seeking their own gain at the expense of the rest of us. And the cost of those few “takers” is passed on to us. We are all paying the cost of not holding each other accountable. Just the other day I confronted three teenagers attempting to steal from a vending machine. Burying our heads in the sand and/or putting the blinders on in denial is how we are not holding each other accountable. We tend to pass things off as someone else’s issue to confront, someone else’s call to make.

For instance, where was the outrage against those bringing these frivolous lawsuits? Where was the restraint on the part of the judicial system? We all have had a hand in this and now we are outraged by the cost of care. Too many lawsuits have even deterred some of our best and brightest from entering the medical field.

To a degree, our own demand for and overuse of antibiotics and antimicrobials have encouraged bacteria and viruses to become resistant to them, and we will suffer the effects of all of these changes too unless we ourselves make changes. We have allowed others to control an aspect of our lives that we ourselves should be in control of, our own care plans. It is so much easier to allow others to have charge over us rather than take responsibility for educating ourselves for our own good.

Now the current trend is to blame vaccines for illnesses in our children when as parents we expose them to many of the same chemicals every day of their lives. It is too easy to blame others and look for the fault in what others do rather than change what we ourselves do to contribute to the failure of the entire system. The products that we use every single day may have more of an negative effect on us than we care to admit because to give up what we enjoy or what brings us pleasure, comfort, or convenience, is too much of a sacrifice.

Even the plastic bottles that we drink from may carry some danger. Some ingredients that we should be considering or thinking twice about: Propylene glycol – found in baby wipes and other products may have severe adverse health effects. Deafness, kidney damage, liver problems and skin damage at the cellular level has been demonstrated in many studies, aluminum (oxy)hydroxide (found in vaccines, some toothpaste, some antacids, etc.), sodium laureth sulfate (makes the bubbles that convince us that a product is working, found in shampoo, thought to be safe but so are vaccines), toluene (found in some moisturizing creams, nail products, laundry products etc.), triethanolamine (shampoos, skin products etc.), triclosan (toothpaste, mouthwashes, bedding, socks, etc.), formaldehyde (found in the plastics widely in use, plywood and carpeting in our homes, facial tissues), Diethanolamine DEA (found in shampoos, lotions, creams, cosmetics), the list goes on and on, point being every day use of the products that contain these ingredients may have more of a negative impact on our children than the lifesaving vaccines that we inject them with. Skin allows these chemicals to be absorbed by the body just as much as an injection and we use these products on our children every day for years. We do not want to think that our own behavior while pregnant, our own product use then or on our infants and children may have had a negative impact on them. It is easier and safer to blame vaccines because we do not directly inject them.

Contrast the above ingredients with the following…

The most common vaccine adjuvants in use today are aluminium hydroxide, aluminium phosphate (a leavening agent found in cake mixes and some baking powders) and calcium phosphate (found in dental products, is a nutritional supplement and found in cheese products), killed bacteria or killed viruses, lipopolysaccharides, and squalene (a naturally occurring product “produced by all higher organisms including humans”, found in many personal care products), thiomersal (also found in eye, ear and nose drops and ointments, antiseptic sprays, topical medications, tincture of Merthiolate, make-up remover, eye shadows, mascaras, eye moisturizers and soap free cleansers).

There is a separate issue regarding third generation vaccines not discussed here, another topic for another day. The point is, we do need to be careful and considerate about everything that we use in our modern world. But we must not “throw out the baby with the bath water”.

I didn’t mean to jump back on the vaccine bandwagon again but the point is vigilance without being vigilantes. Sometimes it seems that we can own a point of view so much that reason and balance leaves us. We cannot afford to do this any longer. More care and careful consideration weighing all aspects is needed because we can no longer afford to rely on others wholeheartedly. This is not fair to them or to us. The truth is, we need to put the public back in to public health.

We know that the current trend is to keep people out of hospitals and into home based care. This truly is for our own benefit. Gone are the days of long hospital stays, and good riddance as long as we know how to care for ourselves and our loved ones (and we have access to the tools that we will need like antibiotics and antivirals). But it does require us to be more involved, more aware, and more responsible for our own care and the care of our loved ones.

Thinking ahead to an infectious disease outbreak that will be severe in its far reaching effects and impact on us and combining that knowledge with the understanding that hospitals will close and health care workers will not show up for work due to their own fear or the fact that they themselves will be ill or family members will be ill at home and need to be cared for, we ourselves must be ready to step up to the plate and be responsible caregivers for our loved ones in our own homes. And we will want our loved ones to know what to do if we become ill. Which brings me back to my first point. In order to be vigilant we need to be educated. No one can or will do this work for us. This one is on us and us alone. Learn or perish, that is what we are faced with now.

When we have to deal with an infectious disease crisis, the tendency will be to forget all that we know unless we have used what we know in previous crises or have drilled so that we can react on cue. As medical consumers, we have largely not needed to learn any medical treatment skills. We have trusted others to care for us, to make decisions for us, to guide us and those we have grown to rely on may not be available to us in an infectious disease catastrophe which is what a pandemic really is. All over the country experienced all at the same time, professionals will be spread too thin. In order to survive we must be ready. WE must be ready to treat our loved ones in our homes without antibiotics, without respirators, without antivirals, without many, many, tools that we rely on now. There simply may not be anyone else to call or rely on for information and if we ourselves are not ready with the information, and the skill because we have had the foresight to study and drill, we may not survive….and that is what it will all come down to – survival.

The world does not need a whole lot more vigilantes, the world does need a whole lot more people being vigilant, engaged and involved.

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Living Through A Pandemic 2008, 2009, 2010

Posted by preparedcitizens on October 22, 2008

Martial Law

Suspended search and seizure laws

Dr. Grattan Woodson wrote this piece and posted it on FluWiki. I post it here in full because of my obvious political views after this article. My thanks to Dr. Woodson for posting this and all of the other comments and material that he has presented to us over the years.

Civil Rights During and After the Pandemic

by: The Doctor

Fri Dec 08, 2006 at 22:13:53 PM EST

During the pandemic, conditions are likely to result in a loss of the civil rights Americans are accustomed to.  While this will probably be a necessary sacrifice during the emergency, there is a risk that the encumbrances on our freedoms could be inappropriately prolonged after the end of the pandemic. 

It is my opinion that during the pandemic many areas on the US will be governed under martial Law.  The US Congress will invalidate the Posse Comitatus Act that will permit US Armed Forces to be used within the US to enforce quarantines and quell civil disorder.  The citizens living within areas governed under Marshal Law will not have resort to the civil rights provided for in the US Constitution.  This abrogation of rights will be necessary to maintain civil order but will be accompanied by many instances of abuse of power.  While unfortunate, this is the price we will need to pay to prevent the senseless destruction of our nation during the pandemic emergency. 

While I see and support the necessity of these extraordinary changes in civil rights during the emergency, what concerns me is the possibility that after the conclusion of the emergency those in leadership positions could delay the restoration of our civil rights.  Students of history will recall the travails of the Roman Republic when it periodically handed over power to a dictator in order to address a specific threat to the empire.  This strategy was successful in some cases but in the end led to the loss of the Republic. The US is no Rome but our founding fathers were students of history and shaped the country upon the foundation laid by the Roman Republic.  As historians are wont to point out “history repeats itself”.  There is little doubt of the truth of this aphorism. 

Americans have are less free today than ever before.  We have been trading security in exchange for personal freedom for the past 50 years.  In my view, US citizens have gotten very little security but much less freedom in the bargain.  The US Patriot Act is a case in point.  It was to be a temporary abrogation of civil rights demanded by the need to fight terrorism in the wake of the 911 events but has now, with some amendments, become permanent. 

What is important in my opinion is that at the conclusion of the pandemic emergency, citizens must insist upon the restoration of our rights guaranteed by the US Constitution.  Unless we do this, there is a possibility the American experiment with republican democracy could end as happened in Rome 2000 years ago.

Grattan Woodson

To be fair to Dr. Woodson, I do not know his political point of view and am not attempting to put words in his mouth or align him in any way with what I am saying. I am merely pointing to what he is saying and adding my own thoughts to his.

On my standing firm blog I have posted why I have concerns about this upcoming election by quoting another "voice", that of Mr. Huntley Brown, who speaks without holding back any of his concerns.

We should all be so bold. WE SHOULD ALL RESPECTFULLY BE SO BOLD.

I am one citizen, in one little town, who does not want to see the citizens here or anywhere, born or unborn,

trampled by a government or a leader who does not value human life.

Barak Obama clearly does not value all of human life. He supports abortion rights. He supports partial birth abortion. To me that tells me something about the man. But respectfully and with meekness I say…

He does not value human life.

Now, if you will, read Dr. Woodson’s article again thinking that Barak Obama does not value human life according to his own policy statements.

Can it be any clearer than this?

Your own search of “pandemic martial law” may be fruitful. Here is our national strategy. Which we have all been given an opportunity to weigh in on. There have been public hearings on this and other related matters.

National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza

full .pdf document is here.

President’s Letter

My fellow Americans,

Once again, nature has presented us with a daunting challenge: the possibility of an influenza pandemic.

Most of us are accustomed to seasonal influenza, or "the flu," a viral infection that continues to be a significant public health challenge. From time to time, changes in the influenza virus result in a new strain to which people have never been exposed. These new strains have the potential to sweep the globe, causing millions of illnesses, in what is called a pandemic.

A new strain of influenza virus has been found in birds in Asia, and has shown that it can infect humans. If this virus undergoes further change, it could very well result in the next human pandemic.

We have an opportunity to prepare ourselves, our Nation, and our world to fight this potentially devastating outbreak of infectious disease.

The National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza presents our approach to address the threat of pandemic influenza, whether it results from the strain currently in birds in Asia or another influenza virus. It outlines how we intend to prepare, detect, and respond to a pandemic. It also outlines the important roles to be played not only by the Federal government, but also by State and local governments, private industry, our international partners, and most importantly individual citizens, including you and your families.

While your government will do much to prepare for a pandemic, individual action and individual responsibility are necessary for the success of any measures. Not only should you take action to protect yourself and your families, you should also take action to prevent the spread of influenza if you or anyone in your family becomes ill.

Together we will confront this emerging threat and together, as Americans, we will be prepared to protect our families, our communities, this great Nation, and our world.

GEORGE W. BUSH
THE WHITE HOUSE
November 1, 2005

Introduction

Although remarkable advances have been made in science and medicine during the past century, we are constantly reminded that we live in a universe of microbes – viruses, bacteria, protozoa and fungi that are forever changing and adapting themselves to the human host and the defenses that humans create.

Influenza viruses are notable for their resilience and adaptability. While science has been able to develop highly effective vaccines and treatments for many infectious diseases that threaten public health, acquiring these tools is an ongoing challenge with the influenza virus. Changes in the genetic makeup of the virus require us to develop new vaccines on an annual basis and forecast which strains are likely to predominate.

As a result, and despite annual vaccinations, the U.S. faces a burden of influenza that results in approximately 36,000 deaths and more than 200,000 hospitalizations each year. In addition to this human toll, influenza is annually responsible for a total cost of over $10 billion in the U.S.

A pandemic, or worldwide outbreak of a new influenza virus, could dwarf this impact by overwhelming our health and medical capabilities, potentially resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of hospitalizations, and hundreds of billions of dollars in direct and indirect costs. This Strategy will guide our preparedness and response activities to mitigate that impact.

The Pandemic Threat

Pandemics happen when a novel influenza virus emerges that infects and can be efficiently transmitted between humans. Animals are the most likely reservoir for these emerging viruses; avian viruses played a role in the last three influenza pandemics. Two of these pandemic-causing viruses remain in circulation and are responsible for the majority of influenza cases each year.

Pandemics have occurred intermittently over centuries. The last three pandemics, in 1918, 1957 and 1968, killed approximately 40 million, 2 million and 1 million people worldwide, respectively. Although the timing cannot be predicted, history and science suggest that we will face one or more pandemics in this century.

The current pandemic threat stems from an unprecedented outbreak of avian influenza in Asia and Europe, caused by the H5N1 strain of the Influenza A virus. To date, the virus has infected birds in 16 countries and has resulted in the deaths, through illness and culling, of approximately 200 million birds across Asia. While traditional control measures have been attempted, the virus is now endemic in Southeast Asia, present in long-range migratory birds, and unlikely to be eradicated soon.

A notable and worrisome feature of the H5N1 virus is its ability to infect a wide range of hosts, including birds and humans. As of the date of this document, the virus is known to have infected 121 people in four countries, resulting in 62 deaths over the past two years. Although the virus has not yet shown an ability to transmit efficiently between humans, as is seen with the annual influenza virus, there is concern that it will acquire this capability through genetic mutation or exchange of genetic material with a human influenza virus.

It is impossible to know whether the currently circulating H5N1 virus will cause a human pandemic. The widespread nature of H5N1 in birds and the likelihood of mutations over time raise our concerns that the virus will become transmissible between humans, with potentially catastrophic consequences. If this does not happen with the current H5N1 strain, history suggests that a different influenza virus will emerge and result in the next pandemic.

The National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza

Preparing for a pandemic requires the leveraging of all instruments of national power, and coordinated action by all segments of government and society. Influenza viruses do not respect the distinctions of race, sex, age, profession or nationality, and are not constrained by geographic boundaries. The next pandemic is likely to come in waves, each lasting months, and pass through communities of all size across the nation and world. While a pandemic will not damage power lines, banks or computer networks, it will ultimately threaten all critical infrastructure by removing essential personnel from the workplace for weeks or months.

This makes a pandemic a unique circumstance necessitating a strategy that extends well beyond health and medical boundaries, to include the sustainment of critical infrastructure, private-sector activities, the movement of goods and services across the nation and the globe, and economic and security considerations. The uncertainties associated with influenza viruses require that our Strategy be versatile, to ensure that we are prepared for any virus with pandemic potential, as well as the annual burden of influenza that we know we will face.

The National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza guides our preparedness and response to an influenza pandemic, with the intent of (1) stopping, slowing or otherwise limiting the spread of a pandemic to the United States; (2) limiting the domestic spread of a pandemic, and mitigating disease, suffering and death; and (3) sustaining infrastructure and mitigating impact to the economy and the functioning of society.

The Strategy will provide a framework for future U.S. Government planning efforts that is consistent with The National Security Strategy and the National Strategy for Homeland Security. It recognizes that preparing for and responding to a pandemic cannot be viewed as a purely federal responsibility, and that the nation must have a system of plans at all levels of government and in all sectors outside of government that can be integrated to address the pandemic threat. It is guided by the following principles:

  • The federal government will use all instruments of national power to address the pandemic threat.
  • States and communities should have credible pandemic preparedness plans to respond to an outbreak within their jurisdictions.
  • The private sector should play an integral role in preparedness before a pandemic begins, and should be part of the national response.
  • Individual citizens should be prepared for an influenza pandemic, and be educated about individual responsibility to limit the spread of infection if they or their family members become ill.
  • Global partnerships will be leveraged to address the pandemic threat.

Pillars of the National Strategy

Our Strategy addresses the full spectrum of events that link a farmyard overseas to a living room in America. While the circumstances that connect these environments are very different, our strategic principles remain relevant. The pillars of our Strategy are:

  • Preparedness and Communication: Activities that should be undertaken before a pandemic to ensure preparedness, and the communication of roles and responsibilities to all levels of government, segments of society and individuals.
  • Surveillance and Detection: Domestic and international systems that provide continuous “situational awareness,” to ensure the earliest warning possible to protect the population.
  • Response and Containment: Actions to limit the spread of the outbreak and to mitigate the health, social and economic impacts of a pandemic.

Implementation of the National Strategy

This Strategy reflects the federal government’s approach to the pandemic threat. While it provides strategic direction for the Departments and Agencies of the U.S. Government, it does not attempt to catalogue and assign all federal responsibilities. The implementation of this Strategy and specific responsibilities will be described separately.

Pillar One: Preparedness and Communication

Preparedness is the underpinning of the entire spectrum of activities, including surveillance, detection, containment and response efforts. We will support pandemic planning efforts, and clearly communicate expectations to individuals, communities and governments, whether overseas or in the United States, recognizing that all share the responsibility to limit the spread of infection in order to protect populations beyond their borders.

Planning for a Pandemic

To enhance preparedness, we will:

  • Develop federal implementation plans to support this Strategy, to include all components of the U.S. government and to address the full range of consequences of a pandemic, including human and animal health, security, transportation, economic, trade and infrastructure considerations.
  • Work through multilateral health organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and regional organizations such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, as well as through bilateral and multilateral contacts to:
    • Support the development and exercising of avian and pandemic response plans;
    • Expand in-country medical, veterinary and scientific capacity to respond to an outbreak; and
    • Educate populations at home and abroad about high-risk practices that increase the likelihood of virus transmission between species.
  • Continue to work with states and localities to:
    • Establish and exercise pandemic response plans;
    • Develop medical and veterinary surge capacity plans; and
    • Integrate non-health sectors, including the private sector and critical infrastructure entities, in these planning efforts.
  • Build upon existing domestic mechanisms to rapidly recruit and deploy large numbers of health, medical and veterinary providers within or across jurisdictions to match medical requirements with capabilities.

Communicating Expectations and Responsibilities

A critical element of pandemic planning is ensuring that people and entities not accustomed to responding to health crises understand the actions and priorities required to prepare for and respond to a pandemic. Those groups include political leadership at all levels of government, non-health components of government and members of the private sector. Essential planning also includes the coordination of efforts between human and animal health authorities. In order to accomplish this, we will:

  • Work to ensure clear, effective and coordinated risk communication, domestically and internationally, before and during a pandemic. This includes identifying credible spokespersons at all levels of government to effectively coordinate and communicate helpful, informative messages in a timely manner.
  • Provide guidance to the private sector and critical infrastructure entities on their role in the pandemic response, and considerations necessary to maintain essential services and operations despite significant and sustained worker absenteeism.
  • Provide guidance to individuals on infection control behaviors they should adopt pre-pandemic, and the specific actions they will need to take during a severe influenza season or pandemic, such as self-isolation and protection of others if they themselves contract influenza.
  • Provide guidance and support to poultry, swine and related industries on their role in responding to an outbreak of avian influenza, including ensuring the protection of animal workers and initiating or strengthening public education campaigns to minimize the risks of infection from animal products.

Producing and Stockpiling Vaccines, Antivirals and Medical Material

In combination with traditional public health measures, vaccines and antiviral drugs form the foundation of our infection control strategy. Vaccination is the most important element of this strategy, but we acknowledge that a two-pronged strategy incorporating both vaccines and antivirals is essential. To establish production capacity and stockpiles in support of our containment and response strategies, we will:

  • Encourage nations to develop production capacity and stockpiles to support their response needs, to include pooling of efforts to create regional capacity.
  • Encourage and subsidize the development of state-based antiviral stockpiles to support response activities.
  • Ensure that our national stockpile and stockpiles based in states and communities are properly configured to respond to the diversity of medical requirements presented by a pandemic, including personal protective equipment, antibiotics and general supplies.
  • Establish domestic production capacity and stockpiles of countermeasures to ensure:
    • Sufficient vaccine to vaccinate front-line personnel and at-risk populations, including military personnel;
    • Sufficient vaccine to vaccinate the entire U.S. population within six months of the emergence of a virus with pandemic potential; and
    • Antiviral treatment for those who contract a pandemic strain of influenza.
  • Facilitate appropriate coordination of efforts across the vaccine manufacturing sector.
  • Address regulatory and other legal barriers to the expansion of our domestic vaccine production capacity.
  • Expand the public health recommendations for domestic seasonal influenza vaccination and encourage the same practice internationally.
  • Expand the domestic supply of avian influenza vaccine to control a domestic outbreak of avian influenza in bird populations.

Establishing Distribution Plans for Vaccines and Antivirals

It is essential that we prioritize the allocation of countermeasures (vaccines and antivirals) that are in limited supply and define effective distribution modalities during a pandemic. We will:

  • Develop credible countermeasure distribution mechanisms for vaccine and antiviral agents prior to and during a pandemic.
  • Prioritize countermeasure allocation before an outbreak, and update this prioritization immediately after the outbreak begins based on the at-risk populations, available supplies and the characteristics of the virus.

Advancing Scientific Knowledge and Accelerating Development

Research and development of vaccines, antivirals, adjuvants and diagnostics represents our best defense against a pandemic. To realize our goal of next-generation countermeasures against influenza, we must make significant and targeted investments in promising technologies. We will:

  • Ensure that there is maximal sharing of scientific information about influenza viruses between governments, scientific entities and the private sector.
  • Work with our international partners to ensure that we are all leveraging the most advanced technological approaches available for vaccine production.
  • Accelerate the development of cell culture technology for influenza vaccine production and establish a domestic production base to support vaccination demands.
  • Use novel investment strategies to advance the development of next-generation influenza diagnostics and countermeasures, including new antivirals, vaccines, adjuvant technologies, and countermeasures that provide protection across multiple strains and seasons of the influenza virus.

Pillar Two: Surveillance and Detection

Early warning of a pandemic and our ability to closely track the spread of avian influenza outbreak is critical to being able to rapidly employ resources to contain the spread of the virus. An effective surveillance and detection system will save lives by allowing us to activate our response plans before the arrival of a pandemic virus to the U.S., activate additional surveillance systems and initiate vaccine production and administration.

Ensuring Rapid Reporting of Outbreaks

To support our need for “situational awareness,” both domestically and internationally, we will:

  • Work through the International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza, as well as through other political and diplomatic channels such as the United Nations and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, to ensure transparency, scientific cooperation and rapid reporting of avian and human influenza cases.
  • Support the development of the proper scientific and epidemiologic expertise in affected regions to ensure early recognition of changes in the pattern of avian or human outbreaks.
  • Support the development and sustainment of sufficient U.S. and host nation laboratory capacity and diagnostic reagents in affected regions and domestically, to provide rapid confirmation of cases in animals or humans.
  • Advance mechanisms for “real-time” clinical surveillance in domestic acute care settings such as emergency departments, intensive care units and laboratories to provide local, state and federal public health officials with continuous awareness of the profile of illness in communities, and leverage all federal medical capabilities, both domestic and international, in support of this objective.
  • Develop and deploy rapid diagnostics with greater sensitivity and reproducibility to allow onsite diagnosis of pandemic strains of influenza at home and abroad, in animals and humans, to facilitate early warning, outbreak control and targeting of antiviral therapy.
  • Expand our domestic livestock and wildlife surveillance activities to ensure early warning of the spread of an outbreak to our shores.

Using Surveillance to Limit Spread

Although influenza does not respect geographic or political borders, entry to and egress from affected areas represent opportunities to control or at the very least slow the spread of infection. In parallel to our containment measures, we will:

  • Develop mechanisms to rapidly share information on travelers who may be carrying or may have been exposed to a pandemic strain of influenza, for the purposes of contact tracing and outbreak investigation.
  • Develop and exercise mechanisms to provide active and passive surveillance during an outbreak, both within and beyond our borders.
  • Expand and enhance mechanisms for screening and monitoring animals that may harbor viruses with pandemic potential.
  • Develop screening and monitoring mechanisms and agreements to appropriately control travel and shipping of potentially infected products to and from affected regions if necessary, and to protect unaffected populations.

Pillar Three: Response and Containment

We recognize that a virus with pandemic potential anywhere represents a risk to populations everywhere. Once health authorities have signaled sustained and efficient human-to-human spread of the virus has occurred, a cascade of response mechanisms will be initiated, from the site of the documented transmission to locations around the globe.

Containing Outbreaks

The most effective way to protect the American population is to contain an outbreak beyond the borders of the U.S. While we work to prevent a pandemic from reaching our shores, we recognize that slowing or limiting the spread of the outbreak is a more realistic outcome and can save many lives. In support of our containment strategy, we will:

  • Work through the International Partnership to develop a coalition of strong partners to coordinate actions to limit the spread of a virus with pandemic potential beyond the location where it is first recognized in order to protect U.S. interests abroad.
  • Where appropriate, offer and coordinate assistance from the United States and other members of the International Partnership.
  • Encourage all levels of government, domestically and globally, to take appropriate and lawful action to contain an outbreak within the borders of their community, province, state or nation.
  • Where appropriate, use governmental authorities to limit non-essential movement of people, goods and services into and out of areas where an outbreak occurs.
  • Provide guidance to all levels of government on the range of options for infection-control and containment, including those circumstances where social distancing measures, limitations on gatherings, or quarantine authority may be an appropriate public health intervention.
  • Emphasize the roles and responsibilities of the individual in preventing the spread of an outbreak, and the risk to others if infection-control practices are not followed.
  • Provide guidance for states, localities and industry on best practices to prevent the spread of avian influenza in commercial, domestic and wild birds, and other animals.

Leveraging National Medical and Public Health Surge Capacity

Rather than generating a focal point of casualties, the medical burden of a pandemic is likely to be distributed in communities across the nation for an extended period of time. In order to save lives and limit suffering, we will:

  • Implement state and local public health and medical surge plans, and leverage all federal medical facilities, personnel and response capabilities to support the national surge requirement.
  • Activate plans to distribute medical countermeasures, including non-medical equipment and other material, from the Strategic National Stockpile and other distribution centers to federal, state and local authorities.
  • Address barriers to the flow of public health, medical and veterinary personnel across state and local jurisdictions to meet local shortfalls in public health, medical and veterinary capacity.
  • Determine the spectrum of public health, medical and veterinary surge capacity activities that the U.S. military and other government entities may be able to support during a pandemic, contingent upon primary mission requirements, and develop mechanisms to activate them.

Sustaining Infrastructure, Essential Services and the Economy

Movement of essential personnel, goods and services, and maintenance of critical infrastructure are necessary during an event that spans months in any given community. The private sector and critical infrastructure entities must respond in a manner that allows them to maintain the essential elements of their operations for a prolonged period of time, in order to prevent severe disruption of life in our communities. To ensure this, we will:

  • Encourage the development of coordination mechanisms across American industries to support the above activities during a pandemic.
  • Provide guidance to activate contingency plans to ensure that personnel are protected, that the delivery of essential goods and services is maintained, and that sectors remain functional despite significant and sustained worker absenteeism.
  • Determine the spectrum of infrastructure-sustainment activities that the U.S. military and other government entities may be able to support during a pandemic, contingent upon primary mission requirements, and develop mechanisms to activate them.

Ensuring Effective Risk Communication

Effective risk communication is essential to inform the public and mitigate panic. We will:

  • Ensure that timely, clear, coordinated messages are delivered to the American public from trained spokespersons at all levels of government and assist the governments of affected nations to do the same.
  • Work with state and local governments to develop guidelines to assure the public of the safety of the food supply and mitigate the risk of exposure from wildlife.

Roles and Responsibilities

Because of its unique nature, responsibility for preparedness and response to a pandemic extends across all levels of government and all segments of society. No single entity alone can prevent or mitigate the impact of a pandemic.

The Federal Government

While the Federal government plays a critical role in elements of preparedness and response to a pandemic, the success of these measures is predicated on actions taken at the individual level and in states and communities. Federal responsibilities include the following:

  • Advancing international preparedness, surveillance, response and containment activities.
  • Supporting the establishment of countermeasure stockpiles and production capacity by:
    • Facilitating the development of sufficient domestic production capacity for vaccines, antivirals, diagnostics and personal protective equipment to support domestic needs, and encouraging the development of production capacity around the world;
    • Advancing the science necessary to produce effective vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics; and
    • Stockpiling and coordinating the distribution of necessary countermeasures, in concert with states and other entities.
  • Ensuring that federal departments and agencies, including federal health care systems, have developed and exercised preparedness and response plans that take into account the potential impact of a pandemic on the federal workforce, and are configured to support state, local and private sector efforts as appropriate.
  • Facilitating state and local planning through funding and guidance.
  • Providing guidance to the private sector and public on preparedness and response planning, in conjunction with states and communities.

Lead departments have been identified for the medical response (Department of Health and Human Services), veterinary response (Department of Agriculture), international activities (Department of State) and the overall domestic incident management and Federal coordination (Department of Homeland Security). Each department is responsible for coordination of all efforts within its authorized mission, and departments are responsible for developing plans to implement this Strategy.

States and Localities

Our communities are on the front lines of a pandemic and will face many challenges in maintaining continuity of society in the face of widespread illness and increased demand on most essential government services. State and local responsibilities include the following:

  • Ensuring that all reasonable measures are taken to limit the spread of an outbreak within and beyond the community’s borders.
  • Establishing comprehensive and credible preparedness and response plans that are exercised on a regular basis.
  • Integrating non-health entities in the planning for a pandemic, including law enforcement, utilities, city services and political leadership.
  • Establishing state and community-based stockpiles and distribution systems to support a comprehensive pandemic response.
  • Identifying key spokespersons for the community, ensuring that they are educated in risk communication, and have coordinated crisis communications plans.
  • Providing public education campaigns on pandemic influenza and public and private interventions.

The Private Sector and Critical Infrastructure Entities

The private sector represents an essential pillar of our society because of the essential goods and services that it provides. Moreover, it touches the majority of our population on a daily basis, through an employer-employee or vendor-customer relationship. For these reasons, it is essential that the U.S. private sector be engaged in all preparedness and response activities for a pandemic.

Critical infrastructure entities also must be engaged in planning for a pandemic because of our society’s dependence upon their services. Both the private sector and critical infrastructure entities represent essential underpinnings for the functioning of American society. Responsibilities of the U.S. private sector and critical infrastructure entities include the following:

  • Establishing an ethic of infection control in the workplace that is reinforced during the annual influenza season, to include, if possible, options for working offsite while ill, systems to reduce infection transmission, and worker education.
  • Establishing contingency systems to maintain delivery of essential goods and services during times of significant and sustained worker absenteeism.
  • Where possible, establishing mechanisms to allow workers to provide services from home if public health officials advise against non-essential travel outside the home.
  • Establishing partnerships with other members of the sector to provide mutual support and maintenance of essential services during a pandemic.

Individuals and Families

The critical role of individuals and families in controlling a pandemic cannot be overstated. Modeling of the transmission of influenza vividly illustrates the impact of one individual’s behavior on the spread of disease, by showing that an infection carried by one person can be transmitted to tens or hundreds of others. For this reason, individual action is perhaps the most important element of pandemic preparedness and response.

Education on pandemic preparedness for the population should begin before a pandemic, should be provided by all levels of government and the private sector, and should occur in the context of preventing the transmission of any infection, such as the annual influenza or the common cold. Responsibilities of the individual and families include:

  • Taking precautions to prevent the spread of infection to others if an individual or a family member has symptoms of influenza.
  • Being prepared to follow public health guidance that may include limitation of attendance at public gatherings and non-essential travel for several days or weeks.
  • Keeping supplies of materials at home, as recommended by authorities, to support essential needs of the household for several days if necessary.

International Partners

We rely upon our international partnerships, with the United Nations, international organizations and private non-profit organizations, to amplify our efforts, and will engage them on a multilateral and bilateral basis. Our international effort to contain and mitigate the effects of an outbreak of pandemic influenza is a central component of our overall strategy. In many ways, the character and quality of the U.S. response and that of our international partners may play a determining role in the severity of a pandemic.

The International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza stands in support of multinational organizations. Members of the Partnership have agreed that the following 10 principles will guide their efforts:

  1. International cooperation to protect the lives and health of our people;
  2. Timely and sustained high-level global political leadership to combat avian and pandemic influenza;
  3. Transparency in reporting of influenza cases in humans and in animals caused by virus strains that have pandemic potential, to increase understanding and preparedness and especially to ensure rapid and timely response to potential outbreaks;
  4. Immediate sharing of epidemiological data and samples with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the international community to detect and characterize the nature and evolution of any outbreaks as quickly as possible, by utilizing, where appropriate, existing networks and mechanisms;
  5. Rapid reaction to address the first signs of accelerated transmission of H5N1 and other highly pathogenic influenza strains so that appropriate international and national resources can be brought to bear;
  6. Prevent and contain an incipient epidemic through capacity building and in-country collaboration with international partners;
  7. Work in a manner complementary to and supportive of expanded cooperation with and appropriate support of key multilateral organizations (including the WHO, Food and Agriculture Organization and World Organization for Animal Health);
  8. Timely coordination of bilateral and multilateral resource allocations; dedication of domestic resources (human and financial); improvements in public awareness; and development of economic and trade contingency plans;
  9. Increased coordination and harmonization of preparedness, prevention, response and containment activities among nations, complementing domestic and regional preparedness initiatives, and encouraging where appropriate the development of strategic regional initiatives; and
  10. Actions based on the best available science.

Through the Partnership and other bilateral and multilateral initiatives, we will promote these principles and support the development of an international capacity to prepare, detect and respond to an influenza pandemic.

 

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Preparedness for the disabled and other abled

Posted by preparedcitizens on October 8, 2008

Please do not forget the disabled and other abled in your preparedness plans.

Countless times I have watched absolutely wonderful podcasts and informative video presentations of the subject of pandemic influenza preparedness. Many times there is no closed-captioning.

Preparedness becomes even more difficult for those who can least afford more barriers than they already have.

It will be increasingly difficult to fight off the tunnel vision that occurs during any crisis situation. That tunnel vision allows us to see our own needs and not always the needs of others. A typical response to ensuring our own survival but as sentient human beings looking outwardly will be crucial to the survival of our society as a whole.

Thank you for all that you are doing for others!

Onward and upward!

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The Financial Crisis has another lesson for us

Posted by preparedcitizens on September 30, 2008

When those who understand the complexities of an issue do not do a good job educating us in the public about the nuances of any particular crisis and the effects of each reaction, people in turn react with shortsightedness and self protection. Chaos results, vengeful feelings take control and these feelings that govern our thoughts rather than rational thinking and planning govern our actions and reactions.

This is not the proper way to react to any crisis.
Political expedience must not be a factor when making decisions that effect us all. Read the rest of this entry »

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What Would My Great Grandma Say To Me

Posted by preparedcitizens on September 23, 2008

I was adopted into a huge family of good people who really tried hard to be good parents.

It is so easy for us to look back in all of our wisdom and say that we would have done things so differently. On this side of the parenting experience I can say that it is true that I did learn some things about what not to do, but I also learned that my parents and grandparents weren’t so different after all. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posts from around flublogia and an explanation

Posted by preparedcitizens on September 22, 2008

SophiaZoe at A Pandemic Chronicle has always written posts worth reading. She always provides food for thought. The service sector during a pandemic is one of those posts. She also posted a link to an online book at Project Gutenberg written by Daniel DeFoe “A Journal of the Plague Year, written by a citizen who continued all the while in London”. The link is at the bottom of her post. Great post SZ!

FLA_MEDIC is also keeping us up to date with the news at Avian Flu Diary.

_________________________the explanation___________________________

As I was becoming more familiar with this threat and with the information that is on the net I kept wondering if this pandemic had started yet. Read the rest of this entry »

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Will You Take Me In

Posted by preparedcitizens on September 21, 2008

LMWatBullRun and Kobie over at Fluwiki forum posted their thoughts and they inspired this post.

When people ask “will you take me in if I had no food, no water”?

My answer is: I would take every one in with wide-opened arms if I could responsibly “provide” and “care” for them. This “Inn” is never closed and anyone from town is welcome to stop and say “hi” before the pandemic (and from a distance after it starts, unless they are in full PPE :) in case we are contagious.)

For prolong stays you best bring your own supplies. (though I know that I won’t be traveling about if I am infected or contagious so I hope others don’t either).

The Apostle Paul had something to say about our own responsibilities in managing our lives. Read the rest of this entry »

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Its not about how we die, its all about how we live

Posted by preparedcitizens on September 18, 2008

No man has authority to restrain the wind with the wind, or authority over the day of death; and there is no discharge in the time of war, and evil will not deliver those who practice it.” Ecclesiastes 8:8

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”  John 10:10

Christians purchase life insurance. We prepare for rainy days. Read the rest of this entry »

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Attacking Viral Influenza Across Nations Act of 2008

Posted by preparedcitizens on September 17, 2008

Since this bill has been introduced what follow through has there been? What good does it do to introduce a bill and not act on what the heart of it? Public Health measures to prevent the spread… That would include informing the public in a bold way, I would think.

Here again, we have the problem of the digital divide. When I speak to folks in local government, to folks on the street, to people that I personally hand brochures to, the only one that they are hearing the word “prepare” in a way that is bold enough, and strong enough for some to hear is from yours truly. At least in my little town. We are all afraid to say something that will incite too much of response, if it were possible.

I know that there are bold moves on the part of the federal government. And I applaud these efforts. I know how much has gone into the work that has been done. The CDC, HHS, NIH, people have worked hard. Read the rest of this entry »

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How much can you live without – PlanFirst Monson

Posted by preparedcitizens on September 16, 2008

Getting down to the nitty gritty.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst

When it comes right down to it we can all live with a lot less in our lives. We can learn to survive eating mudcakes like some Haitians do already. Our neighbors to the south know how to live a life of deprivation. So many people around the world live lives where every waking minute is devoted to ensuring their survival. Read the rest of this entry »

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No one on that beach died

Posted by preparedcitizens on September 8, 2008

It is like the old nightmare of running from a threat in slow motion or not being able to scream.

Remember 10 year old Tilly Smith from England who remembered her Geography lessons and told her vacationing family in Phuket that dramatically receding waters are a prelude to tsunami. Her warning saved lives. She told her parents and her parents warned everyone on the beach. NO ONE ON THAT BEACH DIED.

And now we watch a viral tsunami

As I read the Indonesia thread on Fluwiki I realize that our precious gift of time to prepare may be running out. We do not know but certainly we have inched closer and closer to the time when the flu virus will spread human to human across the globe.

I was watching an online pandemic flu conference the other day. Julie Gerberding from the CDC, Tommy Thompson, Michael Osterholm and so many others spoke about their concerns.

If you are waiting for a major official announcement you are waiting for something which may not come.

Listen to the little girl on the beach and her family. They saved lives!!!

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The courage to stand

Posted by preparedcitizens on September 7, 2008

I have been both sinner and saint, much like everyone else who walks the earth today. After living for almost 49 years now I have had many experiences to look back on which help me to discern the right way to go. Lining these experiences up with the Word of God I can see why some were outright disasters and why some have given me some of the greatest joy even though they were the hardest to endure. I am not so special, we all have these events in our lives.

I was a senior in high school for one memorable learning experience. I loved being goalie of our soccer team. I was coming off some rough patches in my life and trying to settle my life down into a pattern the resembled some normalcy. I did not want to make waves OR stand out in a crowd. It must be that there are some folks that will always march to the tune of a different drummer no matter what they think that they want :) Read the rest of this entry »

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GetPandemicReady.org – Spread the word

Posted by preparedcitizens on August 31, 2008

Talk about "grassroots"

Talk about grassroots - It doesn't get any more grassroots than this!

This is the t-shirt!
If anyone is so inclined to wear one in public go for it!
  • Print this getpandemicready.org image onto card stock.
  • Cut out with an exacto knife.
  • Spray paint or stencil onto a t-shirt or elsewhere.
An easy way to spread the word to prepare AND offer solutions at the same time. So in honor of National Preparedness Month put your stamp somewhere today! Let people know!

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God bless those who labor for others…

Posted by preparedcitizens on August 29, 2008

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

When we are bound to Jesus the burden is truly light.

All for His glory,

“Jackie”

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“Walk by faith, not by sight”

Posted by preparedcitizens on August 26, 2008

A pandemic will turn the world upside down.

So many other things are ahead…so many things that will destabilize this world.

When the world turns upside down people look for a navigator who will guide them into calmer waters and set them on the “right course” again. I believe that the One true navigator has already left us with an all-sufficient “chart” which will guide us through any stormy waters no matter the state of the world and its leaders. But to many people this is not enough. They seek new wisdom and a fresher vision. They follow after a feeling. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pandemic Flu Storybook

Posted by preparedcitizens on August 21, 2008

I am in the process of reading each one of these family anecdotes. The loss was tremendous, the courage heartening. All I can say is….prepare, please prepare.

http://www.pandemicflu.gov/storybook/index.html

“Complacency is enemy number one when it comes to preparing for another influenza pandemic,” said CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding. “These stories, told so eloquently by survivors, family members, and friends from past pandemics, serve as a sobering reminder of the devastating impact that influenza can have and reading them is a must for anyone involved in public health preparedness.”

Read the Stories

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On Human Compassion

Posted by preparedcitizens on August 21, 2008

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.  ~Victor Frankl 

One of my greatest regrets in life is that I was not with my mother at her passing. I was not there to hold her hand, to ease her fears, to pray with her, to let her know that she was deeply loved even though we had our differences and problems. But because I was not there for her I have learned one of the most valuable lessons in life – the regret when we fail, for whatever reason, to be compassionate to others. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Parable of the Talents…are you hiding yours?

Posted by preparedcitizens on August 19, 2008

When I asked myself this question recently I found some answers that have eluded me for a very long time. This breath of fresh air that has entered my soul I wanted to share in case others find themselves not able to use their own talents for similar reasons to mine.

The Parable of the Talents

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'”

So much of my life’s hurts and troubles kept me in a state of constantly burying my talents. The “wilderness” I have wandered in has allowed me to work through so many of these issues. But there comes a time when all this self absorption and examination becomes a stumbling block. There is a point in time in our sanctification that we must put all the hurt and pain aside and see it as our old worn out clothing. Read the rest of this entry »

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Do you want to have your ears tickled?

Posted by preparedcitizens on August 18, 2008

I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:1-8

This passage is referring to preaching the Word of God even when doing so is unpopular, dangerous or seemingly futile. Preaching the Word of God today, to those who do not believe it or want to hear it, is all of the three things I named above. The truth is that we just don’t want to have someone reorder our life’s priorities or even attempt to do so. If we have chosen not to believe their “report” it is easy to discard what they have to say. Click the mouse, change the channel, shut it out. We tend set a course for smooth sailing. We don’t want our lives upset or our ‘worldview’ changed.  With dire warnings of dirty bombs, pandemic influenza, peak oil, rising crime, earthquakes, hurricanes, wars and rumors of war, beating at our ears and hearts the urge to bury our head in the sand or to listen to those tickling our ears is very great. It is easy to look at all these things as myths and false warnings….or even throw up our hands in futility. We think that we need less stress in our already stressful lives. We have been taught that stress is bad. Not all stress is bad and not all pressure weakens us. Read the rest of this entry »

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A pandemic is something else altogether

Posted by preparedcitizens on August 15, 2008

While I am out and about doing the pre-surgical stuff with my hubby I am trying to keep up to date with the news coming out of Indonesia and other hot spots. Check out the flu boards listed here to look at the latest news. The newshounds on these boards are excellent as is the commentary. There are some wonderful people who have really helped me to figure out in layman’s terms what is going on.

We seem to be in one of those periods of time, and it has happened before, where I would not be surprised if we started seeing clusters of pandemic influenza in other areas of the world, including here in the US.

This is what makes this so tough, we just don’t know. The flip side to that is that not knowing means it’s not here now and for that I am very thankful. For when it comes we will know and I am dreading this.

So what do we know? Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Bring Faith into a Health Issue?

Posted by preparedcitizens on August 10, 2008

Read the rest of this entry »

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So…the results are in

Posted by preparedcitizens on July 9, 2008

A drill was the best thing to do after all is said and done. Acting on our fears in a positive way.

I found that stocking up is a whole lot harder to do on a strict budget. Food costs are up slightly in our are and fuel is cutting into the budget a lot more. 

Keeping ourselves healthy and following our medication protocols, exercise routines, and eating as healthy as possible with fresh foods is actually a good idea. Stocking up we will mostly be eating starches because that seems to be what we can afford. 

I also discovered that too much energy is expended trying to get back to maintenance level when we become lazy in our routines although it is easier to start up again than it is to begin for the first time. So establishing routines now is a good idea.

Part of my drill was to make sure that what we will need for at least 8 weeks is on-hand. I am not talking living a princesses life. I am talking *survival* for at least 8 weeks. Toilet paper (or even a resourceful alternative), supplies for good hygiene, entertainment (books mostly but other things to occupy active minds), Food, water, and some extra things for exchange or barter with neighbors.

If I had to characterize our state of readiness on some sort of scale I would say that we are at “barely survivable” on our own.

This time around, as far as drills go, I found myself much more able to brainstorm through unexpected events. Losing power, running out of fuel during the winter, no hot water for cooking or cleaning, fire, even some security type issues, I was much more able to think of solutions and even come up with the problems. They seem far less threatening since I have thought through these things.

Treating a life threatening illness in the case of medical system collapse is something that I still struggle with brainstorming through. I know what to do but I still have not wrapped my mind around actually doing this yet. Maybe next drill.

What I do know is that drilling, even if it is running through these checklists mentally, is tremendously helpful. At least it has been for me and mine so I thought that I would pass along this information.

Hope it helps.

Jackie

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To each their own – talent that is

Posted by preparedcitizens on May 7, 2008

Communities are planning for a pandemic – Monson is – but for me it is time to implement what I personally can do to contribute to the health of my community.

Communication, food, and the underserved of any age seem to be who I am most concerned about helping. My mind is churning with how to make this work in my little neighborhood. I love sharing vegetables and flowers with my neighbors. I hate seeing anything go to waste out of a garden. I am not sure if everyone loves getting fresh from the garden vegies but I bet most do. So sticking to my set parameter is it has to start small and build outward… building a neighborhood garden produce swap area may be very helpful to my neighbors with prices going up and up —and encourage them to plant and share what they grow as well. With the help and brilliant thinking of Rob and a friend of the family, Nicole, ideas are building.

I love the energy of young folks. Not that I am that old but years have worn down the old “can do” excitement that I had in my 20’s. Now its thats a good idea BUT…..a good balance but sometimes you just have to jump in with both feet.

A neighborhood garden produce swap area. We can make it inviting by utilizing our outdoor fire pit for a gathering spot, etc…. camraderie, cohesiveness and above all communication.

So we will see where we go from here….start small and build.

I do know that sitting around and not doing what needs to be done is squandering God given preparedness time that some day I will kick myself for wasting. I keep saying everyday “push on”. But now I have to people helping who are capable of leading the whole effort. I am still dogged tired so as they say “more hands make for lighter work”, and I am so thankful for more hands.

All we can do is try, try again, and keep trying — and always learn from our failures.

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Preparing: what we are doing

Posted by preparedcitizens on April 23, 2008

[Posted on May 6th]

Hoarding…As a “prepper” this is the area that I have always had a struggle with in an ethical sense- how much is enough and where is the line drawn when stocking up?  With prices on the rise and paychecks not keeping up we struggle to make ends meet so hoarding is not a concern.

I have to admit that most of my “preparedness” has been spiritual, informational and emotional. Things that you cannot eat, but I have learned of ways to be more self sustaining on the food front. But I know that I am going to have to go a bit further than that in order to ensure that we have the amount we need because even preparing for 3 months isn’t really a solution – I don’t think that we can purchase our way through what is ahead on all fronts….we are going to have to change our behavior — a lot.

So no, even with all this time that I have had to prepare, my shelves are not packed to the ceiling. We have eaten up a lot of what we had stored up. We started late and now its even tougher.

What we are doing….

We are reducing consumption across the board. We truly live on much less. I drive less than 20 miles per week, some weeks less than 10. We turn off lights, tv’s, unplug appliances, etc. and we are seriously attempting to grow some of our own vegetables. Over the years we have acquired a lot of “stuff” I am reusing that “stuff” in novel ways. An old iron swing set has been converted into a giant hanger for upside down tomatoes and cucumbers which will be growing over the sunniest part of our lot – our deck, an upside down “victory garden”. I reused chicken wire to create a potato cylinder for a crop of potatoes etc.

We are saving newspaper, plastic bags, and 5 gallon water containers. In other words, anything we can use twice or better yet three or four times gets stored.

We shred mail and newspaper and keep other clean burnables for winter fire starting. We use wood to heat our house. It warms us three times..stacking it, hauling it in the house and burning it. Even food scraps are being composted in the mulch pile and I am learning about making compost tea. We have generated around 5 yards of nutrient rich topsoil over the years. At $15/yard plus and exorbitant delivery charge we have been rewarded for our efforts. We don’t have a large lot so I can imagine what can be done on an acre or more!

Our clothesline is up too so no more clothes dryer….that should save on our electric bill.

On the neighborhood front we are enjoying getting reacquainted with our neighbors. Most are largely unaware, still, of the pandemic threat. A quick mention here and there is about all that people endure. One favorite neighbor of ours mentioned the newspaper article in November and that it stood out in his mind that I said that I was storing some rice for neighbors. The rice supply is dwindling as we eat up some of what has been stored and I told him so. He offered his services as a hunter and fisherman!!!

My next project is to build a solar dehydrator using found and reused materials. It will be fantastic on our upper deck, which is also sunny and quite hot during the summer. Dehydrating fruits and vegetables while they are plentiful and cheap will help us through the fall and winter months. I am also toying with building a cold storage structure for apples since there is an orchard up the street and apples are cheap in season or for root crops. One project at a time :-)

I do notice that I spend a lot of time off the computer now so my posts may be a little infrequent. I have a renewed respect and admiration for how hard our ancestors worked — and not that many generations ago.

 

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Clinging to faith in rural America with joy in my heart!

Posted by preparedcitizens on April 18, 2008

Yes, I cling to faith and we are familiar with firearms. Um, we even live in a rural area. Bitter? Oh my, not in the least. Full of joy and sense of purpose is how I would describe my life. No bitterness and I don’t know many bitter people.

A Christian perspective…

Read the rest of this entry »

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Springtime, Hope, and Victory Gardens!

Posted by preparedcitizens on April 16, 2008

Go back to simple food, simple clothes, simple pleasures.
Pray hard, work hard, sleep hard and play hard.
Do it all courageously and cheerfully. – Herbert Hoover

Gardner at Fluwiki brought up the subject of Victory Gardens today. This is a subject that we have bantered around flublogia for quite a while. Read the rest of this entry »

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What we do matters

Posted by preparedcitizens on April 8, 2008

Spring warms up and we get out in the sunshine and clean our own environments. We sweep, we burn twigs and branches, we rake leaves and pile them up or haul them away, the street sweeper sends clouds of dust in the air….in other words—we breathe bird droppings. Read the rest of this entry »

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Keeping It All Together

Posted by preparedcitizens on April 6, 2008

A Christian Perspective…

Trials and tribulations define us. Read the rest of this entry »

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“Ask not what your country can do for you…”

Posted by preparedcitizens on April 3, 2008

At one time in our history, leaders were thrust into the helm based on their skills and experience, their ability to inspire us in the here and now, and their vision for the future. We have been blessed in this country to have leaders who have not failed us – every one was the man for his day, they have led, they have inspired, and they have carried us forward. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Extension Disaster Education Network

Posted by preparedcitizens on March 30, 2008

I stumbled upon this website today. Looking over the materials there seems to be some valuable resources to those working in the community. Read the rest of this entry »

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