An influenza pandemic has the potential to cause more death and illness than any other public health threat presently identified. If a pandemic influenza virus with similar virulence to the 1918 strain emerged today, it is estimated that 1.9 million Americans could die, and almost 10 million could be hospitalized. Current CDC FluSurge modeling run by county emergency management staff estimates that in Berks County alone, we could expect to see upwards of 5,400 fatalities. Although the timing, nature, and severity of the next pandemic cannot be predicted with any certainty, preparedness planning is essential to mitigate the impact of a pandemic. Because of the broad impact of a pandemic event, local, county, state and federal government resources will be expended rapidly. This will create the necessity for public, commercial, and private concerns to deal with the ramifications of the event with limited, or even no assistance, from other entities generally viewed as being a "next line of defense" during major emergencies. In essence, when the emergency is everywhere at once, there is no emergency anywhere.
The Berks County Department of Emergency Services in cooperation and collaboration with the Berks County Pandemic Advisory Council have developed the Community Pandemic Plan to address methods and procedures to implement in order to mitigate against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from a pandemic event which impacts the County of Berks.
This plan and its associated annexes are designed around the functional areas during a disaster. These 22 functions are designated in the plan and an appropriate checklist has been developed for these, highlighting actions that can be taken during a pandemic event. In order to utilize this plan, simply identify which function closely matches your discipline and reference that document. For instance, if you are a transportation provider such as a commercial or public transportation company, you would reference the Transportation Annex, while a community fire department would reference the Firefighting Annex.
Because emergency preparedness begins in the home at the personal level, family and personal preparedness has also been addressed and information can be found in the Personal and Family Preparedness Annex.
Defining every action and every discipline in this plan is virtually impossible, therefore it is also important to utilize other resources from credible agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control, the US Department of Health and Human Services, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
By following these simple steps identified in this plan, and practicing proper hygiene, we as a community can minimize the effects of a pandemic event.
Pandemic Planning Resources and Links
2017 Berks County Pandemic Plan
CDC Flu Toolkit
CDC Flu Facts
American Red Cross Flu Safety
PA Dept of Health Flu Safety