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74, based on your comment about your county’s emergency plan, I went looking for mine but didn’t find anything substantive. They apparently have done many table top exercises and had many meetings of the pertinent emergency response folks from different communities and agencies, and there is an active CERT program but I’m not finding a comprehensive plan. Also, it seems that for the most part they have planned for smaller scale localized events, not a national level SHTF scenario. I did find a booklet from the State advising we all have 3 days worth of food & water etc, so clearly the State suffers from a failure of imagination too.

Back when I lived in Western, MA and was involved in my Town’s pandemic flu and emergency response planning, some of the folks were very aware of what some of the possibilities were. However, we had to walk a very fine line because the State & Federal Emergency Mgt folks that we had to deal with in exchange for getting flu & pneumonia vaccines that we dispensed for free each year as part of our training, and funding for associated supplies very much had a script that we had to follow. One year we had people from the State, FEMA, and the CDC observe our doing a flu clinic, and then critique us afterwards. The manner in which we conducted the clinic was nonsensical from a public health perspective and we had already discussed how we’d dispense vaccines in a real life serious situation, but we kept our mouths shut and followed the script because we wanted to stay on the good list for when the day comes that there is only limited vaccine available. It was the same thing when we did a table top exercise under their observation. I leaned over to the woman in charge of our group and said this is crazy, we’d never do it this way. She said I’m right we won’t do it this way but keep my mouth shut and just go along with what they’re saying. Much of the State & Federal focus is on COG (Continuity of Govt) more than it is on actual public health.

As an aside, my Town subsequently started dispensing vaccines in drive through clinics. It was a novel idea and the State went along with it, and then decided they liked it. People don’t leave their cars which is far safer than having infected people standing in line with non-infected people. Most people get through the entire process in 5 -8 minutes. We do about 600 people in just a couple hours. We set up in a corporate parking lot and have separate lanes for vehicles with little kids being they take longer than vehicles with just adults. We also have the local police there every time so as to get the public used to having the police be part of these events should the day come that we’ve got a real emergency and a lot of stressed out people. I still go down each year to volunteer for this.

A county that has its act together is Nez Perce, Idaho. The guy in charge, Melvin Johnson, is glad to share the work that they have done and answer questions. I had some correspondence with him a couple years ago.