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Challenges and Preparation -- Individuals and Families

As you plan, it is important to think about the challenges that you might face, particularly if a pandemic is severe. It may take time to find the answers to these challenges. Below are some situations that could be caused by a severe pandemic and possible ways to address them. A checklist and fill-in sheets for family health information and emergency contact information have been prepared to help guide your planning and preparation.

Social Disruption May Be Widespread

Plan for the possibility that usual services may be disrupted. These could include services provided by hospitals and other health care facilities, banks, stores, restaurants, government offices, and post offices. Prepare backup plans in case public gatherings, such as volunteer meetings and worship services, are canceled. Consider how to care for people with special needs in case the services they rely on are not available.
Being Able to Work May Be Difficult or Impossible

Find out if you can work from home. Ask your employer about how business will continue during a pandemic. Plan for the possible reduction or loss of income if you are unable to work or your place of employment is closed. Check with your employer or union about leave policies.

Schools May Be Closed for an Extended Period of Time

Help schools plan for pandemic influenza. Talk to the school nurse or the health center. Talk to your teachers, administrators, and parent-teacher organizations. Plan home learning activities and exercises. Have materials, such as books, on hand. Also plan recreational activities that your children can do at home. Consider childcare needs.

Transportation Services May Be Disrupted

Think about how you can rely less on public transportation during a pandemic. For example, store food and other essential supplies so you can make fewer trips to the store. Prepare backup plans for taking care of loved ones who are far away. Consider other ways to get to work, or, if you can, work at home.

People Will Need Advice and Help at Work and Home

Think about what information the people in your workplace will need if you are a manager. This may include information about insurance, leave policies, working from home, possible loss of income, and when not to come to work if sick. Meet with your colleagues and make lists of things that you will need to know and what actions can be taken. Find volunteers who want to help people in need, such as elderly neighbors, single parents of small children, or people without the resources to get the medical help they will need. Identify other information resources in your community, such as mental health hotlines, public health hotlines, or electronic bulletin boards. Find support systems—people who are thinking about the same issues you are thinking about. Share ideas.
Be Prepared

Stock a supply of water and food. During a pandemic you may not be able to get to a store. Even if you can get to a store, it may be out of supplies. Public waterworks services may also be interrupted. Stocking supplies can be useful in other types of emergencies, such as power outages and disasters.

Store foods that:

* are nonperishable (will keep for a long time) and don’t require refrigeration

* are easy to prepare in case you are unable to cook
* require little or no water, so you can conserve water for drinking

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