Urgent Evoke

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When the pandemic flu hit the areas near-adjacent to DC in March 2011, many schools, religious and service organizations in the DC metro area were already prepared to mobilize and offer real-time support to ongoing medical, logistical and other official efforts.

The PTA and school Emergency Messaging Systems were activated to enable parent/volunteer/professional networks to develop solutions and assist official efforts to organize quarantines, distribution of medicines, information-sharing, etc.

Online civilian networking rolls have been organized to make sure everyone (including special services and elderly community members, through responsible contact-persons) is included in informational loop, and that no one who becomes ill and needs medical/other support falls out of the loop.

In a bold move, PTA members and community leaders (this effectively covering a great deal of the DC metro area, since so many within the beltway work in the extended metropolitan community) were also able to approach and enlist the agreement and support of all area food providers on the following provisions.

In the event of actual pandemic and area-wide sequestration/quarantine, stores and outlets can have a centralized data interface for distribution of available shipments of supplies, and have agreed, during implementation, to suspend competitive procurement, pricing and distribution practices.

Available shipments of food and resources (as has been arranged with medicines through official channels) will be centrally disbursed at market value. Online messaging boards will post availability of items, and provide anticipated delivery times as well.

Restaurants and other food preparation centers have a networking system available which will enable them, during implementation of emergency quarantine measures, to maintain clean food-production and distribution networks, in place of normal restaurant operations. In order to diminish spread of pandemic, food can be provided to quarantine centers, quarantined homes, buildings. Food will also be available for pickup by volunteer delivery networks.

Further, school kitchens, church kitchens, university/outreach kitchens and soup kitchens have all been identified and listed on community and official networks, providing detailed location, equipment and contact data. In event of prolonged sequestration, these food preparation centers can be cleaned and overseen by health and safety personnel for volunteer (including existing school and community organization culinary personnel) preparation of food as needed.

Non-quarantine shelters for homeless and indigent have also been located, identified, and computer-network accessible, and are ready to open, in order to prevent ambient spread of pandemic through poor hygiene practices, or exposure.

Additional preparations have included preparing school students and staff to deter spread of contagions through vigilant hygiene protocols and symptom awareness/notification procedures. Poster campaigns and some audio-visual and theater productions have been a vital part of curricular and extra curricular activities to reinforce safety, hygiene and awareness. Most importantly, students have posted details and videos of these posters and activities online, and have regularly-scheduled chat sessions to monitor developments, plan appropriate strategies and activities for involvement, with online and classroom mentoring from teachers and community leaders and experts.

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