City of Richland Continues to Prepare for Potential Pandemic - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

City of Richland Continues to Prepare for Potential Pandemic

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Richland -- A year ago, the possibility of pandemic flu was making headlines worldwide. And bird flu was a major concern.

We hear less about it today.  But the City of Richland continues to prepare.  Leaders met in Richland this week.  The major concern they are dealing with is how to keep essential services, such as fire, police, and santitation, operating in the event of widespread sickness.

Steve Sautter with Benton County Emergency Services said this week, "The mindset is still pretty intense."

"We still attend a lot of national meetings and state meetings, and at these meetings, it's not if it will occur, it's when it will occur. Maybe not in my lifetime, but certainly history has shown us that pandemic flu outbreaks occur on a fairly frequent basis."

He said anything done to prepare for future trouble will also benefit the city now.  He added that preparations for running the city during a flu outbreak will also be beneficial should some natural disaster occur, such as a major earthquake or floods.