F'ville mulls bird flu plans

The village of Fayetteville's Board of Trustees cited progress in preparing a streamlined plan for dealing with the threat of the global avian influenza pandemic scientists world-wide have anxiously predicted. The board also discussed problems at the town's code enforcement office and a tricky situation concerning difficulties with John Street parking at its Aug. 21 meeting.

The board had previously assigned trustee Christopher Randolf, along with medical specialists, to its pandemic preparedness committee in order to research what the town can do should an outbreak of "bird flu" occur in Fayetteville.

Randall reported that the committee has contacted medical agencies and related parties who may be called upon in the event of such a crisis in order to ascertain which Fayetteville and regional organizations have a plan, and which do not. So far, the committee is still in a phase of planning, and Randall's report of the committee's activity is an extension of the last report he gave, which was at a board meeting in mid-July.

"We just need to know what to expect," Randall said. "We need a simple, easy, organized plan."

The trustees were, however, careful to note that while the board intends to do all it can to assist its citizens with medical attention, community education is the primary focus. The board feels participation by Fayetteville citizens will be key in minimizing the spread and devastation of the epidemic.

Mayor Mark Olson said he anticipates as much as 40 percent of the workforce may be incapacitated should an outbreak occur. As a result, he intends to instruct members of the community that they should be aware that medical assistance such as ambulances might not be available in such an event.

Brian Gazda, the board's director of planning and development, said the board intends to take steps to inform the public it should think of the problem as it would major weather disasters.

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