Last month the CDC posted a lighthearted look at emergency preparedness by couching a serious subject in terms of a zombie attack, and the ploy worked. The blog post, Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse by Assistant Surgeon General Ali Khan, scored millions of hits in a single week. The web public loved the rare glimpse of humor from the usually duller-than-dust government site. What readers got in return for their attention was a common sense guide to being disaster ready, a timely resource in light of the tornadoes, floods, ice storms, and wildfires that have plagued most of the country this year.
Zombie attacks are a bit unlikely, but making an emergency plan is a great idea, especially for a pharmacy. In tornado-devastated areas, medicines crucial for survival can easily be lost or buried in the debris of what used to be a home. Would you be prepared to handle your customers’ needs in the face of such a tragedy? You may be the only line of defense in terms of daily medical care with emergency rooms and doctor’s offices full of casualties. Getting your servers back online and keeping your refrigerated medicines cold is critical to serving the people who need you. The key is being prepared.
- Store a backup for patient information in a secure remote location in case your store takes a direct hit.
- Have a backup generator for medical refrigerators in case the power goes out.
- Know what the state emergency plan allows in terms of emergency prescription dispensation.
- Be prepared to handle overflow traffic from evacuees if a nearby area experiences a disaster.
- Stay informed about local road closures and evacuation areas and routes to help ensure that deliveries get through.
- Be proactive. Contact your most critical-care patients if possible.
- Let the hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities know as soon as you’re open for business.
- Be prepared with general emergency supplies relevant to the typical disaster scenario in your area. No matter what the disaster, things like candles, batteries, flashlights, first aid supplies, insect repellent, non-perishable food, ice, and water are helpful.
- Cooperate with other local pharmacies to pool resources and serve patients from accessible locations.
- Invest in technology. Even if the power is out, a smartphone may still offer service in some areas, which gives you access to all the information the web has to offer. Keep a car charger to stay on top of things if the power does go out – and fuel up vehicles and generators at first warning.
For the record, if there is a zombie apocalypse, my plan is to head for the coast and commandeer a cruise ship. They are self-contained with an independent power supply, fully stocked medical facilities, enough food to feed a small army for a week – and a small ragged band of plucky survivors for months. Assuming I grab one that’s ready to go out to sea, there should be enough fuel to run the generators for months on end if I don’t use the engines. As a bonus, there are things like laundry facilities, beds, and hot showers, everyday luxuries often sorely missing in zombie movies. I would anchor about 10 feet from the dock, far enough that the zombies could not reach the ship, but not a distance that would burn a lot of fuel to reach. Some of the new cruise ships even have gardens.
What will you do when zombies attack?