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Protecting Against Pandemics

Avian and Pandemic Flu 

Protective measures to help guard against catching the flu are the same for all types of flu.

Wash you hands frequently with warm water and soap for a minimum of 20 seconds.

Cover your nose and mouth with the inside of your elbow when you sneeze or cough.

Wipe down frequently touched surfaces with a disinfectant.

Use an alcohol based hand disinfectant/sanitizer.

Avoid large crowds.

Stay home when you are sick.

Keep your child(ren) home when they are sick.

Keep yourself healthy through proper diet, sleep and exercise.


Ordinary Flu 

Occurs every year during winter.

About 10% of the population will get sick.

On average 36,000 Americans will die from the flu each year.

Children and the elderly are at increased risk.

An annual vaccine is available.

Antiviral drugs are available to help treat the effects of illness.


Pandemic Flu 

Has occurred about three times every 100 years.

An estimated 25% of the population will get sick due to the nature of the illness..

Approximately 40% of the workforce will miss work due to illness or caring for family members.

Outbreaks usually occur in waves typically months apart.

All ages are at risk of serious illness.

Vaccines will not be available until three to six months following the outbreak.


For more information, go to:


MRSA:Methicillin -Resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

This information provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


What is Staphloycoccus aureus (staph)? 

Staphylococcus aureus (Staf-lo-coc-cus aw-ree-us) is a bacterium that is commonly carried in the nose and on the skin of healthy people. The bacterium is often referred to as "staph." It is estimated that 30 percent of the population carries staph on the skin or in the nose. Methicillin or penicillin and cephalosporins are generally used to treat staph infections. About 1 percent of persons have a type of staph resistant to these antibiotics called methicillin- resistant staph aureus, which is often referred to as MRSA. Other antibiotics must be used to treat MRSA infections. The drug Vancomycin has proven to be the most effective and reliable in these cases, but it is used intravenously and is not effective against MRSA when taken by mouth. Over the past 20 years, MRSA infections have occurred among patients in hospitals or long-term care facilities. However, MRSA infections are becoming more common in otherwise healthy persons who have not had contact with health care personnel or patients. These infections are known as " community- associated MRSA" or CA-MRSA infections. 

What does a staph infection look like?

Most infections caused by staph are skin infections, such as pimples or boils. Staph skin infections can be red, painful, swollen, or have pus or other drainage. More serious staph infections can also cause pneumonia and infections of the blood and joints.

How is staph spread?

Staph can be easily spread by contaminated hands that have not been properly washed. It also can be transmitted by contact with secretions from infected skin lesions, wounds and nasal discharge, and objects and surfaces contaminated with staph. MRSA is not spread easier, but it is more difficult to treat.

Close skin-to-skin contact; openings in the skin, such as abrasions or cuts; contaminated items or surfaces; and crowded living conditions are some factors linked to the spread of staph or MRSA skin infections among athletes, children, military recruits and correctional facility inmates.

Preventing the onset and spread of staph

Wash your hands. You, your family, and others in close contact should wash hands often with soap and warm water, especially after changing a bandage or touching an infected wound. You can use an alcohol-based hand gel when soap and water are not available.

Avoid contact with other people's wounds or bandages. Do not share personal itens. Avoid sharing personal items, such as towels, washcloths, razors, clothing, or uniforms that may have had contact with the infected wound or bandage. Wash soiled sheets, towels, and clothes with water and laundry detergent. Drying clothes in a hot dryer, rather than air-drying, also helps kill bacteria in clothes.

Talk to your doctor. Tell any health care provider who treats you that you have or had a staph or MRSA skin infection. Follow your health care provider's instructions. Pus from infected wounds can contain staph or MRSA. Bandages or tape can be thrown away with the regular trash. To prevent staph from infecting others, keep wounds that are draining or have pus covered with clean, dry bandages.

Resources for additional information:

Center for Disease Control

Cook County Department of Public Health

Illinois Department of Health

Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
Questions or Comments


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