1948 years ago in AD 63 an earthquake in southern Italy by the gulf of Naples seriously damaged the ancient city of Pompeii causing an undetermined number of deaths and spread out destruction, but the locals went to work rebuilding in the same spot until they were buried by the eruption of the Vesuvius volcano 16 years later in AD 79.
Galveston TX Hurricanes
Average Brushed or hit every 2.94 years Average Direct hit every 8.63 years
The Great Storm of 1900 - Sep 8th 1900 - Pop: 42,000 residents Category 4 @ 135 mph -Great loss of life between 6,000 and 12,000 individuals – officially 8,000
The 1915 Storm, August 17th, Category 4 @ 135 mph 42 people dead in the Galveston area
$60 - 1915 million dollars in damage
Ike Sep 13th 2008 - The third most destructive hurricane to ever make landfall in the United States Final landfall in Galveston Texas as a strong cat 2 with cat 5 equivalent storm surge winds extended 120 miles from the center.
Blamed for at least 195 deaths – 74 in Haiti and 112 in the USA 300 still missing. - Damages estimated at 24 billion (2008) US Dollars
Resulted in the largest evacuation in the state of Texas history and the largest search and rescue operation in US history
Chernobyl, An Experiment Gone Wrong
On Saturday, April 26th, 1986 at 1:23 am, one of the reactors at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded. Ironically, the experiment consisted in testing how the power plant would respond in the event of an accident. The operators at the plant wanted to bring down the power output of the reactor to 25%, but over-confidence, poor training and poor knowledge of how a reactor works caused them to overdo it, and they ended up bringing down the power output to 1%. When they then tried to bring it up to 25%, the reactor overheated and exploded causing the worst nuclear accident in history.
Plan and Prepare
The consequences of being unprepared are self evident and can be potentially catastrophic
Although the early media frenzy had died down, health officials, public and private entities are now confronting the resurgence of the H1N1 swine flu.
The impacts of the flu this season are projected to be high if not critical as the predictable H1N1 virus returns with a vengeance from its destructive voyage around the globe.
Public and private organizations are taking the H1N1 pandemic seriously and beginning to think about what they are going to do if a high percentage of their workforce gets sick this winter.
Pandemic planning requires that every sector of society from federal, state and local government to individuals, families, schools and the workplace understand the actions, activities an priorities required to prepare for and respond to the risk associated with the spread of the H1N1 virus and their participation in containing it.
It is important that your company and/or workplace has an understanding of how the flu can affect your workforce and the businesses you rely on for services.
Large companies with effective contingency planning departments are typically well-prepared to deal with the surge and the medical issues associated with the H1N1’s return.
Smaller companies are the ones that need help in understanding what they need to do to protect their employees from the expected upswing in swine flu cases this year.
The emphasis should be on what businesses can begin to do to protect their employees from the swine flu virus and how to handle cases, as they come up. They need to set up policy as to:
how they are going to handle the situation
communicating with their employees
sick leave and the legal right to send people home
encourage safe health practices
how to monitor cases once they are identified
cross-training employees to perform critical business functions etc...
The initial response during the early stages of the pandemic prompted authorities at every level and companies into action to develop plans and a great deal of knowledge and experience was gained with lessons learned.
Applying these lessons to better prepare for the fall are some of the benefits acquired from the early stages, including:
Investments in pandemic planning paid off
Public health departments did not have enough resources
Providing clear, straightforward information to the public was essential to educate, act and
in containing fears
how to use and leverage emergency notifications to address pandemic concerns
Documented knowledge gained from pandemic communications after it was declared a killer
Practical advice to prepare and defend against the resurgence of the virus must be given
Response plans and coordination must be adaptable consistent and ongoing
Maintaining channels of communication with health agencies was well coordinated
Communication is key
Despite tough economic times, it is imperative to sustain the health of employees and workforce to protect the health the country at large.
Is equally important to talk to your employees and care providers who can supply information and recommend prevention and control actions.
Additionally as part of planning and immediate steps:
Anticipate how the business will function with a significant portion of the workforce absent due to the virus or caring for ill family members
Practice and encourage good health habits and common sense steps to stop the spread of germs
Stay informed about the pandemic and be prepared to respond
Develop a Business Continuity plan (BCP)
The pandemic surge may prove to be, not the potential threat we are expecting, but we all be better off if the contrary happen to be the case for which we’ll be glad we took the actions we must take today, now.
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