Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Winnipeg has plan for possible pandemic

WFPS alerts will track cases

  • Print

WINNIPEG — IF a Winnipegger is suspected of hav­ing swine flu, Chief Jim Brennan of the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service will be one of the first to know.

That's because his Blackberry is linked to the city's First Watch com­puterized data collection system.

It's a system purchased by the city from an American company that helps officials monitor occurrences based on key words input by dispatch­ers and paramedics.

Brennan said it could be invaluable for illnesses like swine flu.

"In the world of bio-surveillance, you can put in certain key words, words like flu-like symptoms, fever, chills, Mexico. When words like that are entered at 911 or from a patient, it sends out an alert to the system.

"Calls like that came to my Black­berry all weekend. It gives the man­agers of the system an idea of the fre­quency of the calls."

Brennan said the system also has the flexibility to enable deeper analy­sis of the calls.

"You can lay the calls over a map of Winnipeg and see where the calls are," he said.

"We'll be able to advise paramed­ics on the areas to take precautions so they can come wearing gloves and masks."

In an email to city councillors in response to a question at Wednes­day's city council meeting, Mayor Sam Katz said the city's paramedics department have also set up other procedures on how to deal with calls from people who may be infected with swine flu.

"The WFPS (Winnipeg Fire Para­medic Service) has been in contact with peers across Canada to share in­formation on safe procedures to deal with calls from persons who may have the swine flu virus," the mayor said.

Katz said 911 dispatchers will ask questions whether the person has been to Mexico and whether they have a fever.

Katz also said the city has a pan­demic plan and is prepared to roll it out if there is a serious outbreak.

The mayor said during the past weekend there were 41 calls to 911 for respiratory ailments, with four of them believed to be serious enough for paramedics to wear masks to the call. None of the four actually had swine flu.

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Winnipeg Cheapskate: Your cheapskate questions

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS June 23, 2011 Local - A Monarch butterfly is perched on a flower  in the newly opened Butterfly Garden in Assiniboine Park Thursday morning.
  • JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Local- A large osprey lands in it's nest in a hydro pole on Hyw 59  near the Hillside Beach turnoff turn off. Osprey a large narrow winged hawk which can have a wingspan of over 54 inches are making a incredible recovery since pesticide use of the 1950's and  1960's- For the last two decades these fish hawks have been reappearing in the Lake Winnipeg area- Aug 03, 2005

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Are you worried Ebola might make its way to Canada?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google