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Pandemic Flu Resources for First Responders

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Swine Influenza

August 31, 2009 The IAFF is advising members to be aware of and take the necessary precautions for responding safely and effectively during to a possibly serious H1N1 flu outbreak this fall and winter.

The 2009 H1N1 (Swine flu) virus has already spread through many countries in the Southern Hemisphere during their winter season, and the United States and Canada is likely to see a resurgence that could infect 30-50 percent of the U.S. population this fall and winter, with symptoms in approximately 20-40 percent of the population more than half of whom will need medical attention.

The H1N1 flu, which could begin its resurgence in early September, is concentrated among children and young adults. But the availability of the H1N1 vaccine isnt expected until mid-October. This potential mismatch in timing could significantly diminish the usefulness of vaccination for minimizing the epidemic and place many at risk of serious disease.

This slow rollout is a similar issue in Canada, where vaccine shipments are being exported from Quebec to other countries, yet Canadians must wait for vaccinations against the H1N1 influenza.

Within the fire service population, if half of the fire fighters and EMS personnel become sick and unable to work coupled with a potential 300 percent increase in call volume there will be significant problems.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is recommending that health care workers get a seasonal flu vaccine and also the H1N1 vaccine when its ready.

IAFF Pandemic: Informational Bulletin for Emergency Responders

The IAFF has issued a bulletin to assist fire fighters and emergency medical personnel prepare for a potential Influenza Pandemic.

World Health Organization Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Pandemic Flu Pandemic Flu

Swine Flu Infections 

Click the map to see the latest infections.


Education Programs

Pandemic Outbreaks

General Information

Several credible entities provide information about pandemic influenza:

The WHO has established a Pandemic Phase Scale to describe the current level of threat, while the U.S. has established a Federal Government Response Stage Scale to provide guidance on actions to be taken in case of an outbreak.

Lessons Learned Information Sharing is the U.S. national network of Lessons Learned and Best Practices for emergency response providers and homeland security officials. Access is restricted to verified emergency response providers and homeland security officials.

Both the CDC and the Public Health Agency of Canada monitor the number and location of confirmed human swine flu cases.


FluAid, created by programmers at the CDC, is designed to assist state and local level planners in preparing for the next influenza pandemic by providing estimates of potential impact specific to their locality.

Flu Information and Resources by State or Territory

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IAFF and Occupational Resources

The IAFF has developed several tools to assist members with the management of a pandemic influenza event:

The IAFF Influenza Checklist will assist departments in creating a plan including planning logistics, infection control, inventory, staff impact, and resource allocation.

The IAFF has issued a bulletin to assist fire fighters and emergency medical personnel prepare for a potential Influenza Pandemic.

National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) provides codes and standards intended to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other risks.

  • NFPA 1600 Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs
  • NFPA 1500 Standard on FD Occupational Safety and Health Program
  • NFPA 1521 Standard for Fire Department Safety Officer
  • NFPA 1561 Standard on Emergency Services Incident Management System
  • NFPA 1581 Fire Department Infection Control Program
  • NFPA 1999 Standard on Protective Clothing for Emergency Medical Operations

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides information on respiratory protection.

Preparedness and Response Guidance
Planning Checklists

Swine Flu

General Information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the World Health Organization (WHO) offer credible, up-to-date information about the evolving situation with the swine flu outbreak.

Situation Updates

The WHO provides updates on the status of the swine flu outbreak.


Several credible organizations have issued frequently asked questions and answers about Swine Flu:

Care and Treatment

The CDC will issue guidance for first responders on management of patients with confirmed or suspected swine influenza infection.

The CDC has issued guidance on providing home care for persons with swine flu.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the emergency use of influenza medicines for the swine flu outbreak in humans.


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