Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness and Pandemic Management Services- Will your business continuity plans survive a pandemic?

“Employers remain ill-prepared for flu: Economic hit could top $2-billion. Employers are scrambling to plan for a scenario that could see half their work force absent, supply chains disrupted and customers vanish. That doesn’t mean they’re ready yet: 87 per cent of Canadian companies still don’t have a contingency plan to deal with a situation like a pandemic, a Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters survey found in April.”  – The Globe and Mail


Five questions regarding emergency preparedness for C-level executives and HR Professionals:

  1. Where is your organization in the continuum of risk management in the event of a pandemic?
  2. What is the extent of your exposure to legal liability in the event of the death of an employee due to a pandemic?
  3. What is your contingency plan if half of your employees do not come to work due to a pandemic?
  4. Can you identify the 5 most critical employees needed to run your business in the event of a pandemic?
  5. What is your crisis communication strategy and message to clients, customers and employees in the event of a pandemic?


With the recent declaration of the World Health Organization that we’re now experiencing an influenza pandemic, only one question remains — “how bad will it be?” The impact can range from loss of revenue for service contracts from failure to provide service or meet service levels to additional cost of working; administrative costs; travel and subsistence. Experience shows that only around 40% of actual loss is covered by insurance.


Lessons from SARS- Potential Behavioural Changes and Economic Impact. The assumed 20 percent potential air travel decline is well below the peak decline of 75 percent in air travel to Hong Kong during the SARS epidemic and an average decline of 50-60 percent during the four-month period the outbreak was active.

  • Evaluating the Economic Consequences of Avian Influenza (PDF – 58.4KB) (The World Bank)  Read a paper that bases economic impact upon three sources: mortality, illness and absenteeism, and avoidance behaviors. Link.
  • The Economic Impact of Pandemic Influenza in the United States: Priorities for Intervention (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Link.
  • The Global Economic and Financial Impact of an Avian Flu Pandemic and the Role of the IMF (PDF – 229 KB) (International Monetary Fund). Link.


Consultants at Arcus have substantial functional and hands on experience in public health and pandemic preparedness and management. We also have a proven track record and hands on experience in pandemic preparation and contingency planning during the SARS epidemic that occured in 2002 in North America.


Our consultants have worked in public health departments of the North American governmental organizations.Our consultants’ certifications include Certified Public Health Inspector (CPHI), Building Biology Environmental Consultant (BBEC), M.Sc. in Molecular Virology and Certified Management Consultant (CMC).
Pandemic Management Services

  • Communication
  • Education and training
  • Skill set inventory
  • Business continuity plan

Flu pandemic in Canada

In the revision of the phase descriptions, WHO has retained the use of a six-phased approach for easy incorporation of new recommendations and approaches into existing national preparedness and response plans. The grouping and description of pandemic phases have been revised to make them easier to understand, more precise, and based upon observable phenomena.


Phases 1–3 correlate with preparedness, including capacity development and response planning activities, while Phases 4–6 clearly signal the need for response and mitigation efforts. Furthermore, periods after the first pandemic wave are elaborated to facilitate post pandemic recovery activities. Below is an outline of the periods, phases, stages and intervals of a potential H1H1 flu pandemic.  Source: WHO


Phase 5 is characterized by human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries in one WHO region. While most countries will not be affected at this stage, the declaration of Phase 5 is a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that the time to finalize the organization, communication, and implementation of the planned mitigation measures is short.


Phase 6, the pandemic phase, is characterized by community level outbreaks in at least one other country in a different WHO region in addition to the criteria defined in Phase 5. Designation of this phase will indicate that a global pandemic is under way.