FARMINGTON – County commissioners approved a pandemic flu plan Tuesday that will provide emergency response guidance if an epidemic strikes.

County Emergency Management Director Tim Hardy and Assistant Director Olive Toothaker worked on the plan cooperatively with others.

Toothaker presented it to county commissioners Tuesday along with information sheets that are being passed out at parades and other gatherings in the county.

The sheets outline steps to plan for an emergency, how to build a home disaster supply kit, ways to be informed, a communications plan and safety tips.

The information also give specifics on how to care for yourself and family in a pandemic influenza.

They also define flu terms: seasonal flu – several common strains of flu that go around each year; bird or avian flu, which refers to flu strains that mainly infect poultry and some wild birds and if it evolves in a way to spread to people it would spread easily; and pandemic flu – a new flu strain starts spreading easily and quickly around the world.

“Because there is little natural immunity, the disease can spread easily from person to person,” the information states.

The plan also gives ways to try and prevent germs from spreading.

Toothaker said after the meeting that the plan is an evolving document. She also would like to see towns prepare their own plans.

“If this really hits, the towns need to be prepared,” she said.

Farmington has a plan in place and Temple is working on one.

Hardy and some of the groups involved in preparing plans are going to a Franklin County Municipal Association meeting to let town leaders know what needs to be done, Toothaker said.

The plan is really an emergency response plan and can be used in many ways in a crisis situation, such as the 1998 ice storm, she said.

“What would they do if in the middle of the winter and the public works crew was short?” she asked, in the case workers come down with the flu.

People are advised not to come to work, Toothaker said.

“People should know how to care for themselves,” she said. Towns and residents in those towns should have a plan, she added.

“It’s something they need to do,” she said.

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