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H5N1 in the U.S.

Emergency Notification SystemThere is a growing concern over the current H5N1 (avian flu) impacting the US. Some experts are calling this the largest outbreak in recent history. To date, 16 states have recognized this disease in their chicken and turkey processing facilities, with three states declaring state of emergencies to respond to this disastrous situation. Over 32 million birds have been claimed thus far in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control has stated there is a slim chance this strain of the virus will affect humans, however many precautionary recommendations are being made to states and to the general public. Local emergency management officials nationwide are working with their health and agriculture systems to provide appropriate response measures, preventative plans and health and safety information to the public.

While a great deal of this public information is being disseminated through national and local media outlets, state and local public safety officials should also consider the power of delivery mechanisms provided by their CodeRED emergency notification system in their public education and awareness efforts towards this disaster. Most of our clients use the CodeRED system proactively during natural and technological hazardous events, however not as much during non-traditional type disasters, such as this.

We strongly encourage our CodeRED communities to take full advantage of their CodeRED emergency notification systems to help deliver those important health and safety messages to the citizens that you protect. While it may not be something as urgent as an evacuation notice, these protective action recommendations you need to deliver to the public are very important to the protection of lives. Your public education outreach should include every avenue of message delivery you have access to in order to be successful.

As with any incident, we encourage you to use the CodeRED Mobile Alert app during this time to disseminate general and emergency messages to subscribers in the affected area. The CodeRED Mobile Alert app allows you to reach residential subscribers, as well as subscribers who may not be local residents but who are traveling through your area.

To learn more about how your CodeRED emergency notification system can better assist you with your outreach efforts, contact me at (866) 939-0911 or email me at


Don Hall is ECN’s Director of Government Relations and is a regular contributor on our blog. Hall’s public safety career experience includes 20 years as an Emergency Manager in Calvert County, Md., Jacksonville, FL and Washington, D.C. He also spent 10 years in law enforcement and 911 emergency communications and has 42 years of active duty experience in the Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service in Maryland. He has managed and directed more than 30 Presidential Disaster Declarations during his emergency management career and received numerous public safety- related awards and citations.