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Crisis Communicable Illness Planning – Pandemic and Epidemic Events

If 45 Percent of Your Employees Couldn’t Work Tomorrow, What Would you Do?

The Firestorm Human Resources Reference Guide is intended to assist organizations in Human Resource planning for a pandemic or communicable illness outbreak.


Unlike the disasters for which most companies plan, a pandemic primarily will not affect equipment and facilities, but rather the people organizations depend on to produce products and services. The current assumptions about a pandemic’s duration push the boundaries of most existing absence-from-work policies. Therefore, organizations must thoroughly examine their human resource management practices and policies, refining and/or implementing policies that address the long timeline of a pandemic event.

One of the greatest threats facing businesses today is communicable illness/pandemic outbreaks. A communicable illness/pandemic has unique impacts on individuals, families, businesses and healthcare providers. The impacts are not lost physical infrastructure. The impacts are lost lives, lost work, lost revenue, lost wages and lost personnel. In a pandemic, everyone feels the impact whether they become infected or not.

It is possible that an organization’s workforce could be depleted by 40 percent or more at any given time during a pandemic. The impact and recovery could last 18 to 24 months. The majority of steps needed to prepare for this risk are operational.

Human Resource issues, such as how employers plan to address screening, monitoring, leave, absenteeism and other processes and policies involving their workforce are critical and have strategic implications. In making plans, employers will confront many federal and state regulatory challenges that must be considered. The Firestorm HR Reference Guide should be considered in conjunction with all guidance given by national, regional and local authorities.

Communicable Illness/Pandemic Planning Tool-Kit: Fast Start

No matter the flu strain, infection or other exposure, a Pandemic or Communicable Illness Plan is a critical component to every Business Continuity Plan today. The Firestorm Expert Council includes health expertise from the doctor who first identified SARS, two former Surgeons General and experts in behavioral health and Post Traumatic Stress.

  • Threats should be addressed as well as other similar, future health risks and communicable diseases. These additions will help improve the overall preparedness and effectiveness of current continuity plans.
  • To augment the Communicable Illness/Pandemic Planning Toolkit, Firestorm can offer a comprehensive approach to preparedness for all communicable illness, where we will conduct a benchmark/gap analysis of a client’s Continuity and Pandemic Plans and review existing documents, policies, and procedures.
  • Firestorm will identify plan activation triggers and monitoring plans.
  • Once a Pandemic Plan is completed, training and testing will be conducted. The training makes all staff aware of their duties under the pandemic plan, will increase everyone’s awareness of preparedness issues and demonstrates where plans require modification. All plans must be tested.

ToolKit Tools

1. Introduction and Overview – Provides background of impacts and emerging events. Can be used as a tool to engage team members and decision makers.

2. ToolKit ‘How to’ Instructional Manual – Step-by-step instructions for use of tools.

3. Communicable Illness/Pandemic Action Plan Template – Provides a Communicable Illness Template that serves as a road map to the process of developing a Pandemic Plan.

4. Communicable Illness/Pandemic Planning Checklists – Provides checklists to identify the activities needed to prepare and implement the plan. Your Company will need to adapt these checklists according to its unique needs and circumstances. Many of the activities identified in these checklists will also help your Company prepare for other kinds of emergencies.

5. Communicable Illness Board Resolution – Provides draft Board Resolution to document Board engagement in decision process.

6. Corporate Communicable Illness Policy – Provides a sample communicable illness policy statement for your Company. This statement can be customized as desired. The policy establishes a framework for your Company’s plan.

7. Action Items to Consider (by Pandemic Stages) – Provides high level sample guidance for departments during various pandemic stages. The pandemic planning team will need to select action items for your Company and add Company specific actions.

8. Monitoring and Triggers – Provides guidance for establishing specific monitoring plans for activation of company pandemic plans. The evolution of pandemic threats vary geographically over time. Knowing current levels and predicting needs are critical to mitigating impacts.

9. Human Resource Reference Guide For Communicable Illness Planning & FAQs – Provides guidance on analyzing human resource policies, benefits, and procedures. Pandemics have a disproportional impact on human assets. There are unique personal, financial, and operational impacts associated with human resources. These decisions need to be made early in the plan development process. The decisions involve significant financial and shareholder value components.

10. Communicable Illness Policies – Provides baseline policies to mitigate impacts and maintain a safe work environment.

11. Stockpiling Personal Protective Equipment & Cleaning Supplies – Provides baseline stockpile information regarding employee personal protection equipment and cleaning supplies. Obtaining the necessary stockpile in advance of need is critical. Shortages are projected during a pandemic.

12. Communicable Illness Crisis Communications Guidelines – Provides basic communications and spokesperson reference material to address pandemic crisis communications needs.

13. Message Maps and Posters – Message Maps provide sample messages targeting specific stakeholders. These message maps need to be customized for your Company and can be edited as needed during a pandemic. Posters are provided to help raise awareness.

14. Communications to Employees – Provides sample letters and emails to employees to be used and edited durinLearn More about plans and programsg the pandemic stages as directed by the pandemic planning team.

15. Communicable Illness Guide for Employees – Provides a sample employee handout for communicating Company pandemic plans. The Guidelines are focused on alerting, not alarming employees.

16. Going Beyond – Global Health Threats – Provides an introduction to other communicable illness threats so that your Company pandemic plan can be adapted, as needed, in the face of emerging threats.

17. Internet Resources and Glossary of Terms – Provides additional linkage to extra planning and response resources along with a glossary of terms used.

Are You Ready? Contact Firestorm for more information.

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