Emergency PreparednessMaricopa Emergency Management System (MEMS): Current issues

The Maricopa Emergency Management System (MEMS) team is actively following a number of issues. Here you will find updates on these topics of heightened awareness:

Chancellor's Message


Dear Maricopa,

With the heightened awareness of this year’s flu season due to the Novel H1N1 (Swine) flu strain, I wanted each of you to know that preparations are under way at the District level to help the colleges prepare for this potential health threat.
Please be aware that much of what you’re hearing and reading in the news media about the Swine Flu is based on worst case scenarios that may not occur. Part of the uncertainty with the Swine Flu strain is created by difficulties in predicting the spread based on previous pandemic patterns. Dr. Bob England of the Maricopa County Health Department has indicated that uncertainty to us on numerous occasions. Therefore we have to plan for the worst, even though it is just as possible that the severity will be minimal and have little or no affect on operations.

The timeline for Swine Flu is also a guess, though the number of reported cases in Maricopa County is already on the rise. It is expected to peak later this fall, possibly from October to November, with seasonal flu (or the usual H1N1 strain we are used to) peaking between November and January.

Here’s what has been done or is in process:

∙ The MEMS (Maricopa Emergency Management System) team, working with the Marketing & Public Relations Offices at District and all 10 colleges, produced flyers for each campus to raise awareness about H1N1. The flyers are in the process of being distributed at your college.

∙ I have convened an H1N1 Task Force as a subset of the MEMS team to formulate plans in the event of an outbreak at any of our colleges. This group includes representatives of Human Resources, Faculty, Student Services, District and College Administration, Risk Management, Emergency Management, Public Safety and Media Relations. They will propose a series of plans to CEC later this month, with implementation at the ready shortly thereafter in case of an outbreak. These proposals will include recommendations for alternative class scheduling if necessary. We will communicate these plans once they are in place.

∙ Each college has worked with the MEMS team to develop a Business Continuity Plan in the event of an emergency. These and other plans in the MEMS Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) contain contingencies for emergencies, and will be followed if a Swine Flu emergency is declared by the county health department.

∙ Because of a limited supply, it does not appear at this time that vaccinations for the Swine Flu will be available for employees. A schedule for seasonal flu vaccinations, coordinated by Maricopa Wellness and Benefits, will be released in the next two weeks. All 10 colleges have been identified by the Maricopa County Health Department as swine flu vaccination centers for the community if mass immunizations are necessary. We are closely following the recommendations of the county health department, which is the county’s official authority when it comes to health emergencies.

We encourage each of you to immediately consult with your personal physician to see if you are among the high-risk groups that would be eligible for a Swine Flu vaccination. We also encourage you to avail yourself of the seasonal flu vaccine once the schedule is announced at your college. Finally, I would ask each of you to take as many personal precautions as possible to lower your risk of infection. These precautions are outlined in the Swine Flu flyers being distributed at your colleges, and at the following link provided for your convenience: http://www.maricopa.edu/marketing/download/DistrictMems1.pdf

Though we are dealing with unknown variables when it comes to the severity of Swine Flu, be assured that all scenarios are being considered—and planned for—so that we can provide the best response possible under the circumstances. Look for additional communications on this topic as it becomes available.

You can find additional information on this topic and other emergency planning at the MEMS web pages: http://www.maricopa.edu/mems/

If you have any questions or need additional information, contact Ruth Unks, Risk Manager, at 480-731-8879.


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