Friday, October 12, 2007

Banks, Financial Media Urge Public To Prepare For Pandemic Now

More than 2700 financial institutions, including banks and insurance agencies, are now deep into a three week long simulation exercise to see how well they cope in the event of a pandemic flu outbreak. The key idea being that even if there are hundreds of thousands of Americans dying from bird flu, banks and other financial institutions will have to be able to keep their businesses running.

Off the back of this exercise, influential finance website The Street has published an interesting and informative piece about how the average American can prepare for what most virologists now believe is inevitable. The advice proffered applies to people all over the world, not just in the United States :
You should spend some time considering all the things that you're going to need if a pandemic breaks out. You should stock up on things that you can buy now that will likely become more scarce if a pandemic begins -- such as surgical masks to help keep you from breathing in germs -- while there is a large supply.

You'll also want to make a list of things that you will want to stock up on right away when it appears an outbreak is taking place.

For example, ATMs may quickly run out of cash and with many workers calling in sick, may not be replenished.

Gas will also likely be hard to come by, as the people needed to refine and transport it to gas stations won't be available.

Also consider that you will need to change your habits during this time. You will not want to be in crowded places, meaning that you will want to keep shopping to a minimum.

You will need to make sure to thoroughly wash your hands several times a day -- which is a good habit to get into anyway.

If you have children, you need to come up with a plan on what to do with them. In the event of a pandemic, schools and day care centers are likely to shut down. Alternative day care will likely be difficult to find, meaning that unless you have created alternative plans ahead of time, you will likely find yourself staying home with them. You may want to set up a plan with a couple of friends, where you take turns taking care of the kids. By thinking through and creating a plan ahead of time, you will have a solution to this issue while others are scrambling.

If you have kids that get sick or you get sick yourself, it is likely that you will not be able to go into work for several weeks. You need to make sure that you have enough in your emergency fund if you are forced to stay home during this time.

More Essential Advice From The Street Can Be Read Here

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