Monday, October 08, 2007

'Fast Track Funerals' To Become Norm In UK During Bird Flu Pandemic

Scots To Use Air-Conditioned Mobile 'Inflatable Tents' Instead Of 'Plague Pits' To Store The Dead

Scottish government officials seem to know almost exactly how many people will die in the coming bird flu pandemic. They've settled on a figure : 64,000 dead humans.

The government is also buying up "hundreds of inflatable body storage tents". These are likened to inflatable jumping castles, and will be air-conditioned to slow decomposition. Each 'tent' can store around 50 bodies, and will be 'mobile', meaning that these 'tents' can be dispatched to towns and cities and quickly inflated and made ready to take the dead off the streets and out of homes.

Preparations are also underway to shorten the average funeral service, so as to stop a massive logjam of funerals from building up, and worsening the trauma of friends and relatives of the dead.

In assessing the availability of funeral and mortuary services, Scottish officials found a "shortage of body storage space". The maximum available capacity to deal with the dead today in Scotland allows for only 2513 additional corpses, a shortfall of more than 63,000 'spaces'.

These kinds of stories of localized pandemic preparations, particularly stories about dealing with all the dead, are now regularly appearing in Sunday newspapers across the UK, the EU, Australia, Canada and the United States.

From Scotland On Sunday :

E-mail exchanges and letters reveal officials and police are impressed with a mobile "body storage system" made by Airegroup, for use in disasters. It has been used by the US military and uses a generator to keep bodies at a cool temperature so that they do not decompose.

Police and local authorities across Scotland have now been told to consider purchasing the equipment or consider taking part in trials of new prototypes so that they could purchase the equipment at a cheaper rate. The units cost around £10,000 and can store up to 50 bodies.

Another Scottish Government document states that relatives may have to hold shorter funerals because of the "rapid disposal of the dead".
Fast track funerals will become the norm.

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