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Education key to combating H1N1 virus

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. — As defense officials monitor the H1N1 flu situation, Marine Corps Base Quantico Operations Division passed around its containment plan for pandemic influenza.

http://www.usmc.mil/units/hqmc/quantico/Pages/EducationkeytocombatingH1N1virus.aspx

4/30/2009
By Yvonne Carlock ,
Marine Corps Base Quantico

According to the assistant chief of staff for operations, Pete Streng, base officials have invested time and resources into preparing for a pandemic, to include hosting or participating in a number of training and planning events over the last couple of years.

“We’re fairly well connected with the right people in the surrounding communities,” said Streng, describing the base’s relationship with county and state offices responsible for monitoring progress of the disease.

“The most important step the base is taking is getting people smart about preventive measures like covering their mouths when sneezing and coughing, staying home when they’re sick, and washing hands,” he stressed.

If there are any confirmed cases of the virus in the local area, Streng said the base would consider implementing social distancing strategies like canceling events or meetings and closing schools.

According to Gary Gerstner, assistant superintendent for Quantico Dependent Schools, information about the schools’ communication plan and measures they can take to reduce the spread will be sent home this week.

Operations Division is taking a measured step by step approach, pushing information to the Crisis Management Team and Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection Working Group, as well as to division heads. Streng said this type of information is best passed through the chain of command to ensure the appropriate message is relayed to civilian and military staff members.

“The Mass Notification System is reserved for passing information that requires immediate action,” explained Streng.

Streng said his staff, along with other installations in the area, is continuing to monitor messages and instructions from higher headquarters and taking the necessary precautions to educate and safeguard military and civilian personnel, as well as family members.