Join Our Regional Influenza Network
The FirstWatch Regional Influenza Network (or simply, RIN) uses FirstWatch Real-Time surveillance software to automatically monitor live data in 911 (EMS, Fire and Police) computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems, watching for increases in complaints or symptoms that are consistent with the flu, including respiratory problems, abdominal pain, headache, fever, and other indicators associated with the flu, whether they appear in geographic clusters or across the entire population being monitored.
across North America
This innovative, real-time influenza network lets FirstWatch customers track influenza-like illness as it moves across jurisdictions in the US and Canada. Both influenza and bioterrorism are likely to be multi-jurisdictional, striking health districts that are related geographically but have different systems for tracking disease and health threats. The RIN gives a bigger picture of what’s truly going on from a regional and national perspective.
Originally created as the brainchild of a collaboration between Sedgwick County and FirstWatch in 2005, the Regional Influenza Network became the first real-time flu network of its kind. The original members were made up of Fort Worth, Texas; Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Okla.; Kansas City, Columbia and Independence, Missouri; Kansas City, Johnson County and Sedgwick County, Kansas; and Des Moines, Iowa.
Flu-Proofing Your Agency & Community
As the influenza season becomes more active, communities may be preparing for an increased impact. As a first responder, the risk is increased due to exposure in the community as well as in the course of their work with sick patients. There is an increased likelihood, like other health care workers, of exposing their patients to the flu, as well as taking flu home to their families or other contacts, from their patients. For those wondering how to help your personnel and/or your agency, consider some of the following to mitigate the impact:
Revisit flu vaccination for the workforce
Properly clean and disinfect the truck and equipment
Avoid touching the face, eyes, nose and mouth unless hands have been washed
Download the SRI (Severe Respiratory Illness) screen and Pandemic Protocol Card for the Greater Public Good from the Academy of Dispatch website.
Ask, or be prepared to when asked, to triage those with flu-like symptoms to alternate destinations if the flu becomes widespread in your community
Practice frequent hand-washing – Make a plan to disinfect common areas
Consult Management/HR to determine if personnel with flu symptoms should be encouraged to stay home
For more information on becoming a part of our regional Influenza Network, or implementing FirstWatch triggers related to biosurveillance or influenza-like illness contact our Support team at firstname.lastname@example.org