Annually, the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) assists the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to prepare a plan that meets the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) pandemic influenza grant requirements. The role of Cal EMA is to coordinate and summarize state agencies’ pan flu planning efforts and ensure the plan supplemented and is consistent with the CDPH Pandemic Influenza Response and Recovery Plan. In 2009, the Governor established a Cabinet Pandemic Influenza Working Group which has met monthly to report on H1N1 activity and to review the state’s response. California Health and Human Services (CHHS) and Cal EMA decided to continue the statewide planning effort, initiated to meet CDC grant requirements, as a way to benchmark the level of state agency preparedness and response.
In order to differentiate statewide plan from the CDPH Pandemic Influenza Response and Recovery Plan, this plan was entitled the Statewide Concept of Operations for Pandemic Influenza.
The Statewide Concept of Operations discusses communication and coordination at the local state and federal government levels. At the local level, checklists are included in the Statewide Concept of Operations to assist with local government pandemic influenza preparedness, including alert and warning considerations and suggested response actions. At the state level, the Statewide Concept of Operations includes a discussion of how public health and medical information should flow and how resources should be ordered among the levels of government. At the federal level, the Statewide Concept of Operation describes the established federal role in managing the Strategic National Stockpile, which is vital to pandemic influenza response planning and State Operations Center coordination.
The CDC defines a pandemic as “a global disease outbreak. An influenza pandemic occurs when a new Influenza A virus emerges for which there is little or no immunity in the human population, begins to cause serious illness, and then spreads easily person-to-person worldwide.” In 1918, a novel Influenza A (H1N1) virus called the “Spanish Flu” swept around the globe, taking between 25 and 50 million lives. This pandemic killed over five times the total number of Americans killed during World War I. While the results of a hurricane, earthquake or act of terrorism can be devastating, the impact of a severe pandemic is more comparable to the destruction brought on by world war. A pandemic will spread across the globe over the course of months or longer, possibly in waves, and will affect communities of all sizes and compositions. Response to a pandemic will place egregious demands on resources at every level of society, both public and private.
The emphasis of any pandemic response will be at the local government level. State and federal support to any particular local government, tribal nation, or community will be limited in comparison to the aid mobilized for disasters such as earthquakes or hurricanes, which strike a more confined geographic area over a shorter period of time. The widespread effect of a pandemic, as well as the sheer burden of disease across California and the Nation for months or longer, means that local communities will have to address the medical and non-medical effects of the pandemic with available resources.
This Statewide Concept of Operations for Pandemic Influenza supports the goals of planning and response by providing guidance to state agencies and departments. While the term “pandemic” can refer to any disease outbreak that becomes a worldwide epidemic, this Statewide Concept of Operations uses the terms “pandemic influenza” and “pandemic” interchangeably.
Additional Resources and Information
Preparedness Planning Considerations for Pandemic Flu Virus
Plans and documents
Plans and Documents
CDFA Foreign Animal Disease Response Plan