Industry Companies Monitor H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu)
May 5, 2009

Even as the fears of the H1N1 virus (swine flu) begin to fade, many industry companies are taking precautions to both prevent and react in the event of an outbreak. One such company is Belron US, which has locations throughout the country.

"Belron US is actively assessing the risks of the current swine flu situation and its potential impact to our business," says Jenny Cain, Belron US spokesperson. "Our business continuity team is planning our response and the timing of that response if it is necessary to address a flu outbreak. Our plan will consist of two focused areas—communications and business continuity."

Cain says the communication portion of the plan launched last week and is focused on education, prevention and action/instruction for the company's employees.

"We began rolling out portions of the plan last week, including an aggressive communication plan educating our associates through print and electronic channels on what symptoms to look out for, how to prevent the spread of the flu and what action to take if they become sick," Cain says. Belron US also has been supplying hand sanitizers to various company facilities.

"Further details of the plan include implementation of an emergency response hotline, travel restriction guidelines and communication cascade procedures," she adds.

Belron US also has plans in place should an outbreak occur, to make sure that its calls are re-routed appropriately; plans for handling "mass absenteeism;" travel restrictions; telecommuting procedures; facility response/closure processes; and plans to handle IT maintenance in such an event.

Zeledyne officials, which has a facility in Mexico, the country in which the virus is believed to have originated, say the company has not implemented an official prevention plan, but has been working with employees in hopes of ensuring that they remain healthy.

"As so many companies are doing, [we are] advising employees to take proper precautions to avoid spreading the flu, staying home if they're ill, washing hands, etc.," says company spokesperson Della Dipietro.

In recent days, many prior fears about the H1N1 flu appear to have waned. Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the U.S. Center for Disease Control, announced during a press conference yesterday that he is comparing the severity of this current flu virus to the "severity of the seasonal flu."

"We know that each year with seasonal flu, people are hospitalized and people die, and unfortunately, we expect here that with a virus of this severity that there will be ongoing hospitalizations and that there will be additional deaths," he said. "It's important that as we talk about the encouraging signs that people don't take that as an indication that they have to let up their guard."

He added, "Personal responsibility, the things that we talk about every day about hand-washing, about covering your cough with your sleeve and not with your hand, about staying home when you're sick, about keeping your children home when they're sick, those things are critically important … These measures will help to keep people healthy and decrease the number of people around them who get sick."

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