Swine flu raises the question: Are we prepared?

Disaster It might be time to pull all of those pandemic preparedness manuals off the top shelf and dust them off.

A few years back, paranoid business types pointed to small but frightening outbreaks of a virulent strain of avian flu around the globe and asked, "Are we ready?"

All too often, the answer was, "No." According to a number of studies at the time, businesses were woefully unprepared to address the huge impact a global, deadly flu pandemic would have on business operations -- a frightening thought, since most experts say it's not a case of if such a pandemic will strike, but when.

So we all got a good scare, promised that we had learned a valuable lesson and moved on.

Today, the prospect of a global pandemic is back, thanks to an outbreak of swine flu that has killed scores of people in Mexico, spread to several other countries and sickened at least 20 people in five states in the U.S.

Lots of questions arise when worst-case scenarios start surfacing. What will businesses do when employees can't work, when offices must close, when transportation and other services slow to a crawl, all due to public health concerns?

A long shot? Sure. Extremely long. But when it comes to business continuity, isn't it better to be prepared and have a plan?

Here are some resources that can at least get us started.

How prepared is your business?

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Bill Sheridan