This simple activity was completed as part of a pandemic influenza response tabletop exercise in March 2009. The activity was designed to illustrate how a pandemic could affect members of the Pandemic Influenza Response Team and to creatively build support for the need to identify three back-up employees for each response position.
The activity was conducted at the end of the exercise before the final hotwash. Exercise participants had each received a packet of materials upon arriving at the exercise. Colored dots had been randomly placed on the back on each packet in pre-assigned numbers. Colors indicated those who were:
- Ill themselves
- One family member ill
- 2-3 family members ill
- Not affected
Participants were asked to stand and then sit down as the dot descriptions were revealed.
This quick and inexpensive activity was highly successful in illustrating the following points:
- The majority of the population will survive a pandemic
- Most health care will be provided in the home by family members
- Impact across the response team may be spotty and unpredictable
- Assigning 3 trained back-ups for each response lead is important