The following is a list of actions people can take to prepare for a possible outbreak of avian flu virus and to lessen its effects.
n Make a checklist of items you should stockpile if the following services are disrupted: hospital, health care facilities, banks, restaurants, government offices, schools, telephone and cellular phone companies, post office, transportation companies, fuel suppliers, and hardware, food and other stores.
n Prepare lists of phone numbers and e-mail addresses to access or distribute information if public gatherings such as meetings and worship services are disrupted.
n Plan on restrictions on public gatherings such as at malls and movie theaters.
n Prepare backup plans for taking care of loved ones who are far away.
n Keep a small amount of cash or traveler’s checks in small denominations for easy use in case local ATMs and banks are closed.
n Store at least one or two weeks supply of nonperishable foods that do not require refrigeration, preparation, water or cooking.
n Stockpile pet foods.
n Store two weeks worth of water, one gallon of water per person, per day, in clean plastic containers.
n Have nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including soap or alcohol-based hand wash; medicines for fever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen; a thermometer; anti-diarrhea medications; vitamins.
n Stash garbage bags, manual can opener, portable radio, flashlights, batteries.
n Ask your employer how business will continue during a pandemic. Discuss staggered shifts, working at home, telecommuting possibilities, flexibility in leave policies.
n Plan for possible loss of income.
n Plan for children staying at home for extended periods because school closings would likely happen very early in a pandemic and on short notice. Plan home learning activities and exercises and get materials, educational computer activities and movies.
n Cover nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and throw it away immediately after use.
n Wash hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand cleaner.
n Avoid close contact with sick people.
n Stay home if you get the flu.
n Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth because germs are often spread this way.
n Identify sources for reliable information online, radio, TV and newspapers. Three are: www.pandemicflu.gov; www.maineflu.gov; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hot line 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636.
Source: Oxford County Emergency Management Agency