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Pandemic Flu Update Gary W. Gardner American Gas Association Operating Section Fall Committee Meetings October 9, 2006 Agenda Current World Status Government Initiatives Industry Preparation Current World Status Pandemic Threat – September 2006

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Pandemic Flu Update

Gary W. GardnerAmerican Gas AssociationOperating Section Fall Committee MeetingsOctober 9, 2006

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  • Current World Status

  • Government Initiatives

  • Industry Preparation

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Current World Status

Pandemic Threat – September 2006

  • No evidence of HPAI H5N1 avian influenza in the Americas

  • Still no evidence of human-to-human transmission

  • 251 human cases and 147 (59%) deaths since 2003 (globally)

    World Health Organization

  • Risk remains high despite public “fatigue” with the issue

  • New outbreaks noted in Cambodia, Thailand, and Indonesia

  • Imperative to maintain aggressive sampling and planning

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Annual Flu

Occurs every winter

500k-1 million deaths

Deaths in risk populations

Vaccination available (?) and effective

What Is The Difference?

Pandemic Flu

  • Occurs 3 times/century

  • 50-100 million deaths (1918)

  • Larger risk population

  • Vaccination not available at outset – months later

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A 1918 Pandemic Today

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Government Initiatives

  • Stop, slow, or limit the spread of a pandemic to the U.S.

  • Limit the domestic spread of a pandemic, and mitigate disease, suffering, and death

  • Sustain infrastructure and mitigate impactto the economy and society

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Potential Weapons in the Fight

  • Vaccines and antivirals

  • Transmission interventions

  • Social distancing

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What Does History Teach Us?

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Philadelphia Parade - September 28, 1918

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Mayor closes “theaters, moving picture shows, schools, pool halls, Sunday schools, cabarets, lodges, societies, public funerals, open air meetings, dance halls and conventions until further notice”

Closing order withdrawn

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Conclusions from 1918

“Swift, agile, decisive, and coordinated action based on accurate information and advanced preparedness planning, before the appearance of influenza in the local area, is critical.”

Howard Markel, MD, PhDDefense Threat Reduction Agency Report, January 2006

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National Infrastructure Advisory CouncilPandemic Prioritization Study Group

  • Provide recommendations on critical infrastructure (CI) prioritization in the event of pandemic

  • Assumptions:

    • A severe pandemic can significantly disrupt the CI

    • Medical countermeasures can protect CI but supplies are limited

    • Defining priorities can lead to optimal use of limited resources and best preserve societal function

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Pandemic Prioritization Study GroupSpecific Tasks

  • Establish criteria/principles for prioritization

  • Identify/define priority critical services

  • Identify critical employee groups

  • Recommend communication strategies

  • Identify principles for effective implementation by DHS and HHS

  • WILDCARD – state & local approach

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Public Health Response Challenges

  • “CNN” Effect

  • Communications

  • Authority ambiguity (Who’s in charge?)

  • Number of responders (convergence)

  • Poor use of special resources

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Industry Preparation

  • Business Continuity Planning & Preparation

  • Oil & Natural Gas Sector Coordinating CouncilPlanning, Preparation & Response Reference Guide

  • Working with federal/state/local government and health officials

  • AGA Pandemic “Point of Contact” Group

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Key Questions for Utilities

  • How will you maintain operations when 10-25% of theworkforce falls ill at one time?

  • How will you cope when your suppliers experiencethe same absentee rates?

  • How will you communicate and interact with employees, customers, government, media, and stakeholders?

  • How can existing HR, workforce planning, and travelpolicies be adapted to control the spread?

  • How will you handle field service calls to homes andbusinesses?

  • What regulatory waivers need to be pursued right now?

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Oil and Natural Gas Sector Coordinating CouncilPlanning, Preparation & Response Reference Guide

  • Planning / Preparedness / Response Phases

  • Planning Assumptions:

    - Timing is uncertain

    - Once human-to-human, will spread very rapidly

    - Pandemic could last for 6 months – strike in 2 waves

    - Possibly 25% initially very ill for up to a week

    - 35% absentee rate – healthy stay home with family

    - Not enough antiviral or vaccines will be available

    - Schools and businesses closed

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Oil and Natural Gas Sector Coordinating CouncilPlanning, Preparation & Response Reference Guide

  • Action Elements:

    - Establish roles and responsibilities

    - Prioritize functions and processes

    - Identify essential/critical workers

    - Communicate, monitor, and coordinate

    - Employee AND employee family well-being highest priority

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Global Survey on Pandemic Planning

  • Electronic survey completed May 2006

  • 553 companies participated worldwide

    • 76% US; 15% European; 5% Asia/Pacific; 3% Canadian

  • Interviewed heads of 4 corporate functions

    • Human Resources

    • Business Continuity

    • Risk Management

    • Environment, Health & Safety

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Global Survey on Pandemic Planning - Findings

Assumptions in plans concerning absenteeism

Employees with flu97%

Family members with flu requiring care 95%

Quarantine by public officials80%

Fear of contracting flu from others80%

Closing of schools78%

Limits on public/private transportation62%

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Global Survey on Pandemic Planning - Findings

Measures included in plans

Enhance capabilities to work 72%from home or satellite facility

Actively encourage employees who 79%do not feel well to stay home

Antibacterial cleansers 78%

Stockpile antiretroviral drugs 24%

Restrict travel 80%

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Global Survey on Pandemic Planning - Findings

  • Larger multinational companies are well along in the planning process

  • Critical industries are better prepared – smaller companies unprepared and at risk

  • Asia/Pacific and Europe are better prepared than U.S.

  • Possibly unrealistic assumptions about virtual business environment backup

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“Sometimes you really don’t know what you don’t know. Dealing with new and emerging infections is a very humbling experience. We should not pretend to know what will happen. Will it be severe or mild? Which age groups will be most affected? We just don’t know.”

Dr. Margaret Chan, World Health Organization

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Thank You

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