Fall is in the air, and unfortunately, that means the flu is, too. The possibility of a pandemic flu outbreak is very real today. In 2009, the CDC declared a pandemic of the H1N1 flu virus. Now, the H5N1 virus is a similar strain that could spread quickly.
Though it seems far-fetched, it’s important for churches to prepare for the possibility of a pandemic flu outbreak. At Nolan Jackson, a leading Georgia church insurance company, we want to educate our clients and help you put a plan in place in the event of a pandemic.
1. Security and Safety Team
If you don’t already have a security team in place, you should. This team doesn’t just keep your congregation safe; a safety and security team would also prepare for emergencies like flu outbreak.
2. Stay Informed
Make sure you keep informed by following the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Department of Health and Human Services.
In the event of a severe pandemic flu outbreak, you should have plans in place. Georgia church insurance company clients should consider some of these options:
- Consider alternatives to the shared communion cup, passed offering plates, and passed attendance sheets.
- Create a plan for communicating with your congregation. Perhaps telephone trees, email, text messaging, and announcements made on your church facebook page. Be sure to test the methods to find out which is the most effective.
- Talk about how greetings like hand-shaking and hugging could pass disease, and encourage alternatives.
- Teach your congregation about sanition and hygiene, including covering your mouth when sneezing and coughing and proper handwashing methods.
- Ensure that good food practices are followed in your kitchens. Cancel food events during a severe outbreak.
- Shut off communal water fountains.
- Make sure there is plenty of soap, tissues, hand sanitizer, and trash cans throughout your church building. Wear gloves when emptying trash cans and do so frequently.
- Encourage members to stay home if they are sick, and to keep their sick children at home.
- Remind children’s ministry volunteers on proper sanitization methods, and have toys and equipment in the children’s area sanitized regularly.
- Prepare to close the nursery, daycare, and Sunday school programs if there is a pandemic flu outbreak.
- If an outbreak is severe enough, the local government may prohibit public gatherings in large numbers. Make sure you plan for your finances in this rare situation.
As a Georgia church insurance company, we want to help you prepare for the worst, and hope that you don’t have to put these plans into action. What would your church do in the event of a pandemic flu outbreak?