** Pandemic Influenza Emergency Planning and Community Preparedness. Edited by Jeffrey R. Ryan, Ph.D.; Published by CRC Press; available from ASIS, item #1820, 703/519-6200 (phone), www.asisonline.org (Web); 243 pages; $69 (ASIS members), $76 (nonmembers).
A year ago, we feared that the first flu pandemic in more than four decades would result from a deadly strain of H5N1 avian influenza that would mutate to pass easily from human to human. Instead, that pandemic has come from a highly contagious, if seldom deadly, strain of the H1N1 swine flu.
Amid that development, Pandemic Influenza Emergency Planning and Community Preparedness, released just last year, may appear dated with its emphasis on the threat posed by H5N1. It is however entirely relevant, since its lessons apply to the pandemic currently circling the globe and to any other large-scale disease outbreak.
This book accomplishes its primary goal of providing the reader with an introduction and understanding of the threat of a pandemic. The contributors lay out a history of past pandemics and their consequences, as well as the science behind the virus and clinical aspects of influenza in general. The text further identifies often-overlooked factors that need to be addressed in planning, ranging from prioritization of critical services to fatality management and religious considerations.
The book’s extensive use of medical terminology, while out of the realm of the everyday security professional, is balanced by clear and concise charts, tables, photos, explanatory diagrams, and historical data from previous pandemics.
While emphasizing the importance of planning at all levels and the need for businesses to participate in the planning process, the book is specifically aimed at public-health professionals, emergency managers, and policy planners. It only superficially addresses business concerns and the decision-making process that business executives and private security professionals must consider when developing plans that best meet their organizational needs.
To its credit, however, the book does identify the impact that such a pandemic can have on businesses in terms of profits, employee health, and continuity of operations. Consequently, anyone with responsibilities to protect people, assets, or our communities themselves will find this book useful as a guide.
Reviewer: Bob Sena, CPP, is a former member of the New York Police Department. He has also developed and implemented emergency preparedness plans for corporate and nonprofit entities. He is a member of ASIS International and is past chair of the Mid Hudson Chapter.