Communication Can Help Control H1N1 Flu Outbreaks


Patrick Fiel

With about 55 million school children heading back to classes over the next few weeks, many public health officials are warning about possible widespread outbreaks of the H1N1 swine flu.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a flu Website offering tips for schools, employers, state and local governments and health care professionals providing advice on how to best deal with the potentially deadly virus.

We asked ADT’s public safety advisor, Patrick Fiel, if there was any security technology that schools or state and local agencies employ that could help limit an outbreak.

“Mass notification systems will become even more important as a means of reaching parents, teachers, paramedics and many other people,” he said.  “These systems can simultaneously reach thousands of people through their choice of communications channels – including cell phones, email, work phone, text messages, voice mail, PDA, landline or TTY/TTD.”

He said these computer-based systems can serve as a community tool capable of not only alerting recipients of school or office closures, but also provide valuable information about how to spot H1N1 flu symptoms and important prevention measures from health officials.

And unlike other phone-based devices, these new systems provide confirmation that the messages were received.

“Communication is going to be vital in helping control the flu,” he said.  “And schools and other public agencies have one of the best tools available to them to help spread information.”

-- PSW Staff