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The best way to prepare for a possible pandemic health crisis is to plan carefully. Planning includes—
The Pandemic Planning Guides and Agency Strategies are designed to assist agencies as they prepare for a possible pandemic health crisis. Some of the planning guides provide suggestions for general preparations, while others provide information for handling specific situations that may arise. We recommend agencies immediately use the checklist formatted guides to assess their current state of readiness. The checklists can also be used in the future to assess progress and overall preparation for dealing with a potential health emergency.
Because the planning guides are general in nature, readers should also review their agency human resources management policies, practices, and guidance to understand specific actions and flexibilities they have available to them during a pandemic health crisis.
The planning activities in these Planning Guides and Agency Strategies supplement existing all-hazard emergency/business contingency planning guidance that can be found by visiting Flu.gov.
We also have distilled the critical roles and responsibilities of agencies, employees, and supervisors in the event of a pandemic health crisis.
Agencies may establish periodic examination or immunization programs to safeguard the health of employees whose work may subject them or others to significant health or safety risks due to occupational or environmental exposure or demands. The new programs are established through written policies or directives. (5 CFR 339.205)
These Pandemic Planning Guides are designed to assist agencies as they prepare for and respond to a pandemic health crisis. The guide is general in nature. For the latest information on contingency planning for a pandemic influenza, see Flu.gov. Readers should also review their agency policies, practices, and guidance prior to taking action.
The President, Congress, and heads of agencies will need to know how a pandemic influenza affects the Government's capacity to carry out its many functions by geographic area. That information will allow leaders to intelligently redeploy resources and adjust the means of performing work. Agencies must follow the specific workforce data collection instructions issued at the time of a pandemic influenza episode. The instructions and documents provided in the navigation to the right must be followed and used only upon notification by OPM.
Since there are major difficulties in collecting accurate data on absences and deaths specifically related to a pandemic influenza, OPM will collect indirect measures based on data sources that are largely automated. Payroll providers will supply information on certain categories of paid and unpaid leave, by agency and State, which will be compared to prior-year baseline data. Agencies will report deaths by any cause, and those numbers will also be compared to baseline data. Agencies will also report on employees who are teleworking from alternative worksites, including their homes. Some agencies are able to capture telework data through their time and attendance systems, while others are taking steps to develop this capability.
OPM will notify agencies if and when this reporting needs to begin and will designate the contact point to which reports should be sent. The Payroll Status Report shows information that will be collected from payroll providers. (In rare cases that will be an in house payroll function.) The Telework and Deaths Status Report shows information that will be collected from agencies through their Chief Human Capital Officer or Human Resources Director.
Preparation and planning for a pandemic health crisis in overseas locations is similar to other emergency planning activities. Whether a Federal employee is employed overseas or is traveling overseas, it is important for the employee to become familiar with the risks and emergency procedures that exist for the area of the stay.
The Department of State emphasizes that, in the event of a pandemic, its ability to assist Americans traveling and residing abroad may be severely limited due to restrictions on local and international movement imposed for public health reasons either by foreign governments and/or the United States. Further, American citizens should take note that the Department of State cannot provide Americans traveling or living abroad with medications or supplies, including supplies needed in the event of a pandemic.
It is likely governments will respond to a pandemic by imposing public health measures that restrict domestic and international movement, further limiting the U.S. Government's ability to assist Americans in these countries. These measures can be implemented very quickly. The Department of State has asked its embassies and consulates to consider preparedness measures that take into consideration the fact that travel into or out of a country may not be possible, safe, or medically advisable during a pandemic. Guidance on how private citizens can prepare for a "stay in place" response, including stockpiling food, water, and medical supplies, is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Website and the main Federal Website.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel information related to avian influenza, including preventive measures, is available at CDC website and Flu.gov.
General country information and Embassy Consulate websites can be obtained from the Department of State's website.