Wireless News Desk
A Pandemic Exercise - Telecommuting & Will the Infrastructure Support It?
How to be prepared for the swine flu
Apr. 27, 2009 02:00 PM
I attended a pandemic exercise at Northeastern University last year that was really enlightening and timely considering the latest information about the “swine flu”. Although far from a pandemic at this time, the CDC is taking preventative measures by communicating with the general public what they can do to avoid becoming ill. Here are a few tips that can help spread the transmission.
- Hygiene- Wash your hands, it sounds insignificant but good hygiene can prevent the transmission by touching objects that others who have the influenza have also touched. Avoid any hand to mouth, eye or nose contact and cover your face if you have to sneeze or cough to also prevent the spread of airborne germs.
- Social Distancing – If you don’t have to attend gatherings with others, then don’t. The fewer people you come in contact with lowers your risk of contracting the flu. If you do need to commute to work via public transportation, just follow the first step of keeping sanitary. A respirator mask may help reduce the risk of airborne transmission but only certain masks are rated for that type of prevention.
- Don’t infect others – If you are feeling sick, stay at home and avoid spreading the disease to your co-workers.
- Get Informed – Get the latest information on the epidemic. Check out resources available like the Center for Disease Control, www.cdc.gov, and the World Health Organization www.WHO.int for the latest information regarding how to prevent contracting and the spread of the infection.
One of the worst pandemics was after WWI (1918-1920), when the “Spanish flu” killed approximately 20-40 million people within 18 months. Much of this had to do with the lack of communication and information regarding how to prevent contracting the virus and spreading to others. There are some interesting statistics from this time where towns that held parades for the returning WWI veterans had a higher rate of infection than those towns that canceled parades due to concern of being exposed to the flu.
If you can first accept the fact that pandemics happen, and the next one will, the more interesting question is if the current network infrastructure would support business continuity plans for a “work from home” type of prevention. Following the first few steps of hygiene and social distancing is the first step to prevention and spread of the infection but if there is an actual pandemic, then is working from home a realistic option? There are approximately 6.5 Million people, according to a recent census, in the Boston Massachusetts area. Would the local cable or Internet provider be able to handle 80% of that hitting the network infrastructure all at once? Given that the network infrastructure is more updated and current than our antiquated electrical grid, there is a better chance, but we all know what happens when a heat wave moves in for three or more days. Brownouts. And a brownout for the worldwide web won’t work and at very least won’t be productive to resume a functional level of business continuity.
What are your thoughts on the Internet infrastructure being sufficient to support a telecommuting strategy for business continuity?