Making Sure You Are Ready For a Pandemic

We've heard all the concerns about the bird flu and a possible pandemic.

But if the worst happens, will you and your community be prepared?

There is something you can do right now to get started.

After a relative had his care compromised at a hospital, Kelly Culiver started a company that aims to improve the lines of communication in medical facilities.

She then carried that over to pandemic preparedness, the simple idea that clear, open communication can saves lives.

A pandemic response emergency preparedness kit is designed for a medical facility, but it has applications for virtually anywhere.

Kelly Culiver of Strategic Solutions, Inc. says,  "We're trying to give, whether it's a business, whether it's a health care facility, a staged response plan, a basic plan that they can grow from and it boils down to communication."

Strategic Solutions, Inc. has designed pamphlets to hand out to the public, warning signs that say who should enter a facility, what level of risk is inside and what kind of precautions need to be taken.

Besides products, the company offers training with specific goals.

Culiver says the training teaches to make knowledge power. Go through and assist a facility in coming up with their own preparedness plan as a business. Preserve the core functions of that business so that business can continue to operate in a prolonged event crisis.

In the event of a bird flu pandemic, it's estimated that one third of the nation's workforce won't be showing up for work.

Business owners need to ask themselves the following ahead of time:

What are your essential functions? How many staff members do you need? Do you have sick leave policies and how are you going maintain with lower staff for an extended period of time?

Public Health Coordinator Maddison Seib says any kind of kit that gets people thinking about such things is a good idea.

But for those people who can't afford it, the government offers checklists and other information for free.

Seib says we're going to be on our own. We cannot expect any federal help to come in and bail us out.  We have to be prepared to be self-sufficient.

Strategic Solutions, Inc. says the cost of the kits and training seminars starts at around 4-thousand dollars, but depends on the size of the business.

These kits are being sold all over Indiana and the rest of the country, and they're manufactured right here in Evansville by the company Flair.