By definition, a pandemic plan is a documented strategy for business continuity in the event of a widespread outbreak of a dangerous infectious disease. In 2003, there were concerns that Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), a new and highly contagious form of atypical pneumonia, might become pandemic. In February 2004, avian influenza (H5N1) virus was detected in birds in Vietnam, increasing fears of the emergence of new variant strains. In the spring of 2009, a new flu virus spread quickly across the United States and the world. The first U.S. case of H1N1 (swine flu) was diagnosed on April 15, 2009. By April 21, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was working to develop a vaccine for this new virus. On April 26, the U.S. government declared H1N1 a public health emergency.
So what does that mean for your business? A pandemic plan should document how an organization will continue to run their business through an undetermined and sustained period of time without your entire workforce. All business continuity plans for a pandemic should include the following components at a minimum:
We all know it’s better to be proactive and prepared when a situation has the potential to damage your business than to react to it and “do the best you can.” Your business is at stake and you can’t ignore the risks.