Just months before facing a real life emergency, the island was testing how it would respond to a flu outbreak after public health advice identified a pandemic as Guernsey’s greatest risk.
Guernsey's emergency services, health experts, senior deputies, communications officers and others took part in a ‘flu pandemic’ exercise last November, culminating in a full-day simulation of such an emergency with agencies working through planned responses to the situation as it unfolded.
Led by Director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink, its aim was to test the island's preparedness for such a scenario.
At the time, pandemic flu was defined as “the worldwide spread of a new flu virus for which there in no immediate vaccine available”.
Health & Social Care President Heidi Soulsby said several areas of risk in the island’s emergency planning had been shored up following the exercise.
“We all knew it was our number one risk,” she told Express last week.
“We did a whole flu pandemic exercise through November that was led by Dr Brink and culminated in a desktop exercise with all the emergency services, the communications team and the Civil Contengencies Authority etc. at the Peninsula Hotel.
Pictured: Dr Brink led the exercise, which took place in November.
“It was really invaluable as some of the things that came out of that were areas of risk and other aspects that we were able to make sure we were more resilient in.”
States of Guernsey Chief Executive Paul Whitfield said the outbreak of a pandemic had been moved to the top of the on-island risk register following WHO and public health advice. That advice followed “flare-ups” of a potential outbreak with SARS and the Avian Flu.
He reiterated the importance of emergency planning and how vital it is to protect the island’s critical health infrastructure in this situation.
Pictured top: HSC President, Deputy Heidi Soulsby.
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