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This checklist provides guidance for law enforcement agencies in developing and improving influenza pandemic response and preparation plans. Please note that these steps are not listed in chronological order.

An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges that people have little or no immunity to and for which there may be no vaccine. The disease spreads easily through person-to-person contact and causes serious illness or death. It can sweep across the country and around the world very quickly. However, there is concern that it may mutate to become easily spread person-to-person. At that point, it could become a pandemic flu.

In the event of a global disease outbreak, law enforcement agencies will play a critical role in ensuring secure transportation of medical supplies, smooth operation of mass vaccination clinics and assistance in enforcing disease containment orders.

1. Plan for the impact of a pandemic on your organization and its mission

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Review the organization's mission to determine what organizational functions would have to be altered in the event of a pandemic.
Determine the potential impact of a pandemic on outside resources your organization depends on (vehicle towing, jail capacity, hospital services).
Outline the organizational structure to be used during a pandemic when staffing is reduced, including key contacts with multiple back-ups and clarity regarding an alternative chain of command.
Test your response and coordination using a drill or exercise.
Review the authority granted to law enforcement to take action during a health emergency.
Develop templates and messages for the PIO and other spokespeople to use during the outbreak to provide information to the public in a timely and accurate manner regarding security and other issues; coordinate messages with Public Health - Seattle & King County (Public Health).

2. Communicate with and educate your staff and persons in the communities you serve

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Invite Public Health to provide an introductory briefing to command staff on influenza pandemics and avian flu.
Work with your local health department to educate staff and their families on pandemic influenza and avian flu, including prevention and treatment information.
Provide individual and family preparedness guidance and information to staff to be self-sustaining during an emergency.
Educate and inform residents through crime watch groups, neighborhood councils, websites, community workshops and other mechanisms about the situation, the need for personal and family readiness and principles of self-care.
Encourage local businesses to prepare for a pandemic flu outbreak.

3. Plan for the impact of a pandemic on your staff and the communities you serve

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Establish mechanisms to cover essential tasks if 30% of your sworn staff were ill or caring for their seriously ill family members.
Establish a list of critical priorities to be covered and determine alternative mechanisms or work-arounds for addressing vital tasks such as dispatch.
Work with Public Health to clarify first responder priority vaccination and antiviral policies in the event of an outbreak.
Review potential labor issues and consult with union representatives on emergency plans and policies.

4. Set up/review/clarify policies and protocols to follow during a pandemic

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Review local and state mutual aid agreements.
Establish/review written policies related to enforcement of quarantine orders and other restrictions and the escalation of force and use of lethal force to accomplish containment of diseases.
Consider vulnerable targets for crimes of opportunity and fraudulent schemes (e.g., vacated schools, office complexes etc) and special population groups (e.g., elderly) and develop a training bulletin to insure all patrol staff are aware of those issues.
Consider the use of light duty for employees no longer infectious but still recovering from the effects of the illness.
Establish policies and practices for preventing the spread of influenza at the worksite (e.g., requiring respiratory hygiene in places and situations with public interaction).
Establish policies and thresholds for mandatory sick leave use to prevent the spread of influenza.
Review policies to establish flexible return-to-work requirements that reflect shortage of primary care physicians to certify fitness for duty.
Provide for sufficient and accessible infection control supplies such as alcohol hand gel and tissues at convenient locations for staff
Enhance communications and information technology needed to support employee telecommuting where possible.

5. Coordinate with external organizations

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Work with Public Health, hospitals, and local emergency management to establish clear coordination related to security of health and medical sites and operations during a pandemic, including storage of the Strategic National Stockpile of medication and supplies, if requested.
Coordinate with the King County Medical Examiner regarding the security needs involved with storage and disposition of a large number of dead.

These checklists were adapted with permission from the Contra Costa (CA) Health Services