Sunday, May 10, 2009

Swine Flu

Many people are now concerned about the swine flu. In 1918/1919 the United States was hit by a flu pandemic that killed tens of thousands and crippled some cities for short periods. There are many potential disasters that can strike and few areas are not at risk for at least some of them. The preparations for most of them are the same, with a few modifications.

With swine flu agencies may suffer from limited staffing, increased calls for medical service and difficulty getting supplies, such as fuel. As officers get sick, or their families get sick, many officers will stay at home to recover or care for family members. Train officers how to avoid swine flu, wash hands, use gloves and dispose after prisoner handling and so on. Advise officers to try and find alternate sources of family care so they don't have to stay home and care for sick family.

Prioritize calls for service and perhaps even decline to respond to non-violent misdemeanor calls for service. Minor thefts, loud music calls, parking offenses and other minor crimes or nuisance abatement calls could be handled by telephone, or the reporting party can simply be told the agency is not responding to that type of call during the pandemic emergency. This is something that the command staff will have to authorize and the time to plan for this is now when there is time to make decisions. Planning will help to reduce the impact of a swine flu pandemic on local police operations; that's what the SGT Says.

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