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".

  • Recent Comments

    preparedcitizens on Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH…
    bryansail33 on Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH…
    preparedcitizens on Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH…
    bryan on Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH…
    Catherine Mitchell on What Are You Throwing Awa…
  • 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

Posts Tagged ‘Monson MA’

Massachusetts Medical Reserve Corps

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 8, 2008

Hudson MA Medical Reserve Corp is looking for reinforcements.

By Jeff Malachowski/Daily News correspondent

The MetroWest Daily News

Posted Dec 07, 2008 @ 11:13 PM


Two years after organizing the Hudson Medical Reserve Corps, Health Agent Dr. Samuel Wong said the number of town residents who have joined is not enough to assist the health department during a crisis.

The Hudson Medical Reserve Corps, a group of volunteers with medical and non-medical backgrounds, provides assistance to medical personnel in the event of a health emergency or natural disaster.

Wong said the group was formed two years ago, yet only 45 residents have signed up. He wants to see that number climb.

“We’re not even close,” Wong said. “In order to prepare for certain emergencies we need 180 to 200 volunteers. We still have a ways to go in recruiting people.”


read the rest of the Hudson story here.


In Monson our Western Massachusetts Medical Reserve Corps webpage is here.

Welcome to the webpage for MRC Units in Hampden County, MA

There are nine MRC Units in Hampden County including:
City of Springfield HHS
Greater Westfield and Western Hampden County, Inc.
Town of Longmeadow
Town of Monson
West Springfield

Each MRC Unit is currently recruiting new members, please take a few minutes to review information on this website, contact a Unit Coordinator and visit the national MRC website at MRC Units are independent volunteer based and community focused entities working together to build capacity for public health and emergency response.

Mission Statement
The mission of the Medical Reserve Corps Units in Hampden County, Massachusetts is to improve the health and safety of residents and their communities by organizing and utilizing public health, medical, safety and other volunteers. Medical Reserve Corps build the capacity of each community to better respond to natural, man-made or public health emergencies.

Kathleen Conley Norbut has done an amazing job organizing a pandemic response for our area. This woman is a local town hero and we owe her a debt of gratitude. Amazing! Kudos Kathleen.

Check this out…..

Upcoming Events

  • Training: 12/9/2008 – Springfield EDS Drill Review
  • Training: 12/11/2008 – Partner Shelter Training with the Pioneer Valley American Red Cross
  • Meeting: 12/10/2008 – HCMRCMAG Hampden County MRC Advisory Group
  • Meeting: 12/18/2008 – MRC


  • Shelter Training for MRC Volunteers
    Our partner organization the Pioneer Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross has recently expanded coverage to include Hampshire and Franklin Counties. The PV ARC is offering Shelter Training for MRC Volunteers in December 2008.
    Please visit the Calendar to Register.
  • Hampden County Emergency Preparedness Communication Drill
    On November 12, 2008, the Hampden County Health Coalition conducted a communication drill to test systems for public health, emergency response and Medical Reserve Corps volunteers.
    The state HHAN (Health and Homeland Alert Network) was utilized for the drill.

And for the Town of Monson specifically…

Our medical reserve corps is looking for volunteers.

Town of Monson
Unit Coordinator: Lorri McCool
Town of Monson Board of Health
110 Main St.
Monson, MA 01057
Telephone: 413-267-4107
Related Web site: n/a

Lorri McCool has developed brochures for the town and has held many local meetings to increase aware and preparedness in our area. She has been a dedicated and successful health agent of the area towns for many years.

We are in good and capable hands under her leadership.




Posted in Massachusetts, Medical Reserve Corp, Public Health | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

H5N1 News Update and the Latest Innovations

Posted by preparedcitizens on November 12, 2008

The test results came back positive that a fifteen year old Indonesian girl from the city of Semarang in Central Java died from an H5N1 avian influenza infection. Living near a poultry slaughterhouse, the girl became infected after coming in contract with infected poultry.

Hospitalized for 10 days, the girl died on November 7, 2008. Test results for two laboratories confirmed the H5N1 virus was the cause of her death.

We must not become complacent about H5N1

In June of this year Indonesia’s Health Minister, Siti Fadilah Supari stated that she would no longer announce deaths from H5N1 immediately after that were confirmed promising instead to make the information available “eventually”. Supari’s decision was a source of frustration for many and came after she stopped sharing bird flu samples with global infectious disease experts in January 2008.

Indonesia’s timely announcement is step in the right direction for improving global relations and cooperation on the avian influenza front.

The World Health Organization website H5N1 virus has infected 388 people worldwide, killing 246.

Our federal agencies have not been complacent over this issue. Recently several agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, Department of Transportation, Customs and Border Protection, and state, local departments along with the airline industry, took part in a full-scale exercise at Miami International Airport in order to test the government’s strategy to slow the spread of a novel human to human virus into the US.

Clearly educating the public long before a full fledged pandemic begins would be the best approach.

Innovative thinking like googles flu trends which monitors real time search queries in order to determine if there are outbreaks in areas around the country will be crucial in giving the public the head’s up that we will need in order to make decisions at the local level on when to close schools and implement other mitigation strategies. Having a public that is already aware and ready to jump right in with their own tools and planned approaches is the best strategy of all.

This truly is the first time that the world has had an opportunity to plan ahead for a pandemic…and we aren’t doing a bad job of it at all. But clearly more effort and planning is needed.

Onward and upward!

Posted in Public Health | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Every Once In A While…

Posted by preparedcitizens on November 11, 2008

I just HAVE to point to a post on another blog.

Mike at Avian Flu Diary always does a wonderful job at blogging. But one recent post stands out (but there are so many more).

Please read this one.

Modular Blocks Of Preparedness

“In a disaster such as a pandemic, if we hope to minimize our losses,we must find ways to work together as families, as neighborhoods, and as communities”. ~ Mike Coston – a Fla_Medic

Posted in Public Health | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

So What Are You Doing

Posted by preparedcitizens on October 30, 2008

What if we use this flu season as a drill, as our own personal exercises in preparedness. Let’s learn about non-pharmaceutical techniques like hand washing and covering our coughs and sneezes in the proper way in order to not spread illnesses. What if our employers truly send those who are ill home and trust employees to not “milk the situation” for a few extra days off.

As a hedge against catastrophe via pandemics, bio-attack, nukes, illness, hurricanes, meteors, and things that go bump in the night….what are you doing to make life just a little bit easier when the other shoe drops?

I can tell you what I am doing, what my family is doing.

We listen, we study, we read, we keep current, we pay attention, we are vigilant and constantly preparing in whatever way that we can. We look for information and we dissect it so that we understand about flu and viruses.

Each shopping trip we stock up a little bit more. There will be days ahead when we may not be able to afford what we can afford now. So we forgo the little extras for more basic items. No movies, bowling or skiing outings or paperback books – just sugar, coffee, tea, and canned goods. Boring, yes, for the short term life. But I know that what I stock up on now will not go to waste (as long as I rotate what I buy).

I remember what my parents said about the depression. No sugar, no butter, they had very little. And when they did have these “luxuries” they were so appreciative.

Imagine appreciating sugar and butter so much that you told stories about it 20 and 30 years later. That tells me something. We have no idea today what it is like to not have all these things that we take for granted today.

We are temporarily living in a bubble. One that is allowing us to prepare. And many are squandering this opportunity. They refuse to open their eyes and see all of the evidence stacking up.

But so many more ARE paying attention. So many ARE preparing. I overheard a conversation today among two older women at the grocery store. They we talking about PREPARING.

Sorry, but I couldn’t help myself, I had to pay attention. They were talking about a pandemic – “a very bad flu”! They were talking about the economy. They WERE TALKING TOGETHER and they were older, about in their mid seventies. They were talking about the importance of their gardens and how they are going to keep on gardening until they can’t. They were concerned, very concerned, and I could hear it in their voices. And they have lived through so many world crises already….they know.

Two older women, in my little town, talking about preparing. This is significant. VERY SIGNIFICANT.

…and it did my heart good.



Technorati Tags: ,

Posted in Prepare, Public Health | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Thinking deep thoughts about our little town of Monson

Posted by preparedcitizens on October 4, 2008

If I could ask my fellow Monsonites a few questions about pandemic preparedness as it relates to our town I would ask the following…

When fire, police, EMS and other departments in town cannot respond because of illness within their departments who will respond in their stead?

When our 3 man water department cannot respond for the same reason who will be on a list that of people who can fill in for them? Fire hydrants must remain operational. Toilets need to be flushed. If there is no electricity our power backup will last about a week. When the system shuts down sewage will back up into homes. Who will be available to shut down the main in the street outside our homes if our 3 water department guys are ill? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Prepare, Public Health | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Why care about pandemic influenza in Monson MA

Posted by preparedcitizens on October 3, 2008

There is a world of difference between what we know today as seasonal influenza and what we will know in the time ahead as pandemic influenza.

The severity of the illness is drastically greater with regards to pandemic influenza. The complications are also more severe. Bacterial pneumonia will be prevalent and so are a host of other complications. The length of the illness and how ill we will become is greater and deaths from the pandemic variety of influenza will be widespread even among those groups not as effected by the seasonal variety — children and young adults with robust immune systems. A pandemic is caused by a novel strain of a virus that humans have not encountered before. We have no antibodies in our system to fend off the virus and it quickly overwhelms our immune systems.

There is no vaccine and there will not be one for many months into a pandemic.

Antivirals may not be of much use to us because some of the strains that are circulating now are becoming resistant to some antivirals. Skilled medical care is needed and it may not be available to us during a pandemic for a variety of reasons.

For our purposes at the local level a pandemic is a series of local epidemics. A pandemic is a collection of epidemics. While it is a global illness, a global superstorm that will strike virtually simultaneously in our much travelled world we have to think very locally if we want to be able to recover.

Spikes of illness in our area that occur with regularity over 18 to 24 months. Because of the severity of the illness and the long term illness that it causes the world as we know it will change for a time. Schools will close. Businesses will close. Services like water, electricity, trash pickup, will all be effected due to  absenteeism. People who have needs for care now may not receive that care during a pandemic. The elderly will not receive some of the services that they have grown reliant on.

Without understanding the illness and the ways that we can avoid becoming ill ourselves we will fear those who are ill, those who will need care. We can avoid this by understanding how the virus is transmitted and how long people are contagious and shedding the virus. We can also know that we can protect ourselves and still care for the sick and those who are grieving the loss of loved ones.

During a pandemic store shelves may sporadically empty not to be filled as regularly as we appreciate now. This is due to the way that we have structured our delivery system. We are set up for what is called “just in time” delivery. Our system is efficient when we are all basically healthy. This system will break down during a pandemic. That is why we are being urged to prepare now. Our shelves need to become those store shelves now. This is crucial to realize. Truckers become ill, warehouse workers will become ill, store employees will become ill, we will become ill, and none of us will be able to venture out only to find empty shelves.

During a pandemic the services that we appreciate now may not be repaired as quickly or easily during a pandemic. With worker absenteeism high, downed power lines due to an accident or a storm for instance, may take weeks to repair  when there are few available workers.

With the amount of people who will be seriously impacted by this increasing our hospitals and medical clinics (link opens powerpoint presentation) will not be able to handle the surge of patients. With “just in time” delivery, supplies will not be restocked and even if that was not an issue, the sheer amount of patients needing ventilators will overwhelm the system as it is today. We will have to care for our loved ones as best we can at home. When we consider how severe pandemic influenza is and how much care is needed it overwhelms the senses to think of caring for loved ones at home even when we ourselves may be ill.

And then we must think of those who already have medical needs which require a high level of care now. With just in time delivery, will needed medications make it to pharmacy shelves, and will there be a pharmacist to dispense the needed medications?

Pandemics are wicked problems.

And there are no easy solutions.

We need to work at this problem as individuals and collectively in our towns in order to save as many lives as we can possibly save. The government will NOT BAIL US OUT and they have said as much.

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.”

Posted in Public Health | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Local Flu and Pneumonia Shot Clinics continued Rite Aid in Stafford Springs CT

Posted by preparedcitizens on September 30, 2008

Rite Aid Pharmacy in Stafford Ct will be holding a flu and pnuemonia shot clinic. The flu shot locator can be found here.

Flu shots are $30 and pneumonia shots are $45

Located at 88 West Stafford Road Across From McDonald’s Near Big Y

  • Flu Clinic – Flu vaccine will be given from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM on 10/21/2008.
  • Flu Clinic – Flu vaccine will be given from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM on 11/18/2008.

Posted in Public Health | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Local Flu Shot Clinics

Posted by preparedcitizens on September 14, 2008

Seasonal Flu Shots Save Lives!

If you have been exposed to the flu prior to getting the vaccine or for two weeks after receiving the vaccine, you may still come down with the flu. The flu shot contains killed viruses and it will not give you the flu.

Excerpts from the CDC page – Influenza Key Facts:

People who should get vaccinated each year are: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Preparedness, Public Health, Vaccine | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Some Resources in Monson MA

Posted by preparedcitizens on September 14, 2008

You do not know what your life will be like tomorrow.
You are just a vapor that appears for a little while
and then vanishes away.
James 4:14

Things can change so quickly and the world can turn upside down in the briefest of seconds.

Our lives here are truly like vapor, vanishing quickly.

Our little town seems quiet today. I can hear my neighbors off in the distance and the sound of traffic up on High Street. Crickets are chirping and Cicadas are buzzing. My little buddy, the groundhog, is grazing on the cut grass and flowers that have gone by. A quick check of MassLive Forums/Monson indicates that all is pretty quiet around town. A look see of the weekly police log assures me that know serious crime wave is taking place in our quiet little village, pretty much the same old vehicle violations and outdated inspection stickers.

But all this peace could vanish like a vapor too. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Prepare, Public Health | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

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. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Prepare, Public Health | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Stand firm during a pandemic – how

Posted by preparedcitizens on September 11, 2008

Standing firm during a pandemic will require a concerted effort to remember what is right and good and *work* at it even when our fears and hardship drives us to do the opposite.

When we are afraid of the disease that others may carry, someone coming to our door looking for assistance may be threatening to our families and we may want to *react* to that threat. We must remember that those with their hand out are simply those who have reached the end of their resources before we have, we may have our hand outstretched next. How will we want others to respond to us should dictate how we respond to others. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Preparedness, Public Health | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Highlight: Neighborhood Watch

Posted by preparedcitizens on April 8, 2008

Neighborhood Watch Programs


From the website:

Register Your Watch Group in 5 Easy Steps:

  • 1 – Recruit and Organize as many neighbors as possible
  • 2 – Contact your local law enforcement agency and schedule a meeting
  • 3 – Discuss community concerns and develop an action plan
  • 4 – Hold regular meetings and train
  • 5 – Implement a phone tree and take action steps


Volunteer for the Monson Medical Reserve Corps!
Call Monson Board of Health for Information (413)267-4107

Posted in Prepare, Public Health, Public Safety | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Perhaps next year…a New Years Wish

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 20, 2007

 Monson MA

In Monson we have followed the “all-hazards” approach to preparedness, and that model has served us well. It is my hope for the New Year that we can strengthen our health board as much as we have supported our volunteer fire department and emergency services departments. They all do a wonderful job in our community but we need a bit more for the board of health. We also have a local Medical Reserve Corps that will help us through some, possibly, tough times ahead. I hear volunteers are welcome. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Health, Massachusetts | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Prepared Citizens

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 8, 2007

Good folks of Monson, my neighbors and friends…

I just finished participating in a discussion and if you read it you will know more about what this post, in fact this organization, is all about.

Posted in Community Mitigation and Resilience, Massachusetts, Preparedness | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »