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Posted: 8/1/2009 6:36:10 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/2/2009 5:11:21 AM EST by Mach]
Info on what the .gov is doing to prepare for swine flu this fall is slowly coming out. get ready. - Mach



Flu scare a boon to body-bag sales
August 01, 2009

Dave Feschuk
Feature Writer


As concerns grow of a possible flu pandemic onslaught this autumn, alert authorities worldwide have been stockpiling emergency supplies. Masks, gloves and anti-viral medications are on the list. And body bags.

Demand for the latter is prompting a surge of interest in the wares of a small Toronto custom bag manufacturer named Trevor Owen Ltd. Inquiries about its pandemic body bags are pouring in from as far away as the Sultanate of Oman on the Arabian Peninsula.



TREVOR OWEN recently shipped several thousand of the thick plastic bags – sewn in its Scarborough factory and touted for their ability to "prevent leakage and seepage of bodily fluids" – to Alberta. It is bidding on a contract to supply Ohio with 12,500 of the white woven polyethylene pandemic bags.

"Some seniors' residences are starting to buy five, 10 or 15 at a time," said Trevor Owen president Pierre Barcik.

"There are state and provincial governments that are starting to stockpile pandemic body bags ... It's a bad pun, but (the business) is growing."

The general fear is that the traditional fall flu season will this time bring a surge in H1N1 swine flu cases – and deaths.

Microbiologist Dr. Allison McGeer, director of infection control for Mount Sinai Hospital, recently warned there would be more deaths and infections in the city as a result of the labour disruption at Toronto Public Health.

Trevor Owen is not the only supplier thriving because of the fears. Richard Miller, owner of the U.S.-based web portal ToDieFor.Biz that sells a line of body bags, said demand has doubled this year.

Although the competition is considerable, Barcik's company appears to have found a niche with its pandemic body bag, which differs from the bag typically used to transport and temporarily store the dead.



WHILE MORGUES and hospitals mostly use bags made of light-duty plastic – glorified garbage bags with a zipper down the middle – the pandemic body bag's material is thicker and stronger, comparable to a light tarp.

It is coated on both sides with polyurethane for imperviousness and can be outfitted with six carry handles, an option that allows for the possibility of inexperienced personnel hastily hauling bodies at a time of crisis.

"It basically lets you handle bigger bodies with less care," said Barcik.

"I don't suggest we should handle the dead with anything but the utmost care, but if you've got a couple of volunteers moving people around in a pandemic centre, it's a lot different than a morgue situation."



HAULING DEATH ISN'T Trevor Owen's stock and trade. Barcik's company makes a variety of bags for everyday functions, from the giant padded envelopes that keep your pizza warm on its delivery route to the heavy-duty duffles in which hockey players like the Ontario Hockey League's Soo Greyhounds tote their gear.

Still, Trevor Owen carries a substantial array of body bags; it's a sector that appears to require a diversified product line.

Cindy Maguire, the controller of Centennial Products, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based distributor of body bags whose customers include public health centres in Nova Scotia, said that among coroners and other tenders to the departed, body bags "are like a fashion statement, almost.

"People are very particular about colour, style, the seal of the bag, the zipper."



SOME CORONERS are partial to blue bags, which are known to provide a photo-friendly background for making a visual record of autopsies. Fluorescent orange bags are often the choice of urban police personnel who frequently work in darkness.

And manufacturers say there is growing demand for extra-large bags, such as the widely used Chinese-made bag known as the "Big Girtha" in the Trevor Owen catalogue.

Where a standard body bag runs about three feet wide and seven feet long, the Big Girtha is close to five feet by nine feet.

Said Miller at ToDieFor.Biz: "It's for the 600-pounders. Our population is getting bigger. It's made of very, very heavy-duty material."

If death, by fat or by flu, is a heavy subject, some in the body-bag trade – the death-care industry, in its gentile parlance – see its lighter side. Maguire's company designs and sells novelty T-shirts that have become popular among customers. One is emblazoned with the company's slogan, "You tag it, we bag it."

Another cribs a coroner's theoretical lament during an obesity epidemic: "I think I need a bigger bag."

Said Maguire: "The coroners do have a little bit of a morbid sense of humour. But I guess they use that to get through what they do."

Barcik, whose company employs about 25 workers in an industrial mall near Eglinton and McCowan, said he expects body bags to remain a small part of his operation – currently about 10 per cent.



HE TAKES VISIBLE PRIDE in showing a visitor a custom tote manufactured in Scarborough for paramedics with Toronto Emergency Medical Services.

It's a bag, he notes, that could help save a life rather than simply contain the remnants of a lost one.

Not that body bags don't have various uses.

Quite apart from the spectre of the flu pandemic that got his phone ringing, Barcik said he has fielded calls from private citizens shopping for a single body bag for unstated purposes.

"There's a bunch of nutty folks out there," he said with a chuckle, recalling a summer hire at the plant "who was a little bit too goth – he wanted to get in a bag, take one home.

"It's your party, man. Have a good time."

http://www.healthzone.ca/health/article/675041

EDIT: spelling
Link Posted: 8/1/2009 6:50:47 AM EST


"bodie"? PLEASE tell me that you know how to spell "body".
Link Posted: 8/1/2009 6:56:05 AM EST
Wont be the first time that the government pissed away tax dollars.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 5:21:50 AM EST
Figures, people here more concerned about spelling and thinking the .govt is wasting dollars instead of the conflict between what they are saying " the swine flu is mild" and buying specially sealed body bags for the flu season. Just follow the herd to the slaughter. Everything is fine.

I should have put this in the SF. My bad.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 5:25:16 AM EST
Big deal. The local Medical examiner buys the things by the 18-Wheeler load just for everyday use. It's amazing how many people die in a major city everyday.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 5:34:20 AM EST
If the swine flu is so bad, then why isn't killing people off in larger than average numbers in South America, Australia, and lower Africa where it is winter and their flu season? Move along, nothing to see here.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 5:45:58 AM EST
they are stocking the FEMA camps
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 5:58:09 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/2/2009 5:58:23 AM EST by R_Flagg_77]
OK... Who gives a rats ass?

You don't need to worry until they start stocking up on backhoes, bulldozers, gasoline, and dump trucks.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 5:58:42 AM EST
There are 500,000 plastic coffins stockpiled right outside of Hartsfield in ATL.
http://www.wral.com/golo/blogpost/3346615/
http://bagrec.livejournal.com/677671.html
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 6:00:05 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/2/2009 6:03:00 AM EST by raven]

Originally Posted By twistedcomrade:
If the swine flu is so bad, then why isn't killing people off in larger than average numbers in South America, Australia, and lower Africa where it is winter and their flu season? Move along, nothing to see here.

It's killed like 40 people in England in the off season. But that's out of the hundresa of thousands who caught it
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 6:02:19 AM EST
Originally Posted By jeffco55:
There are 500,000 plastic coffins stockpiled right outside of Hartsfield in ATL.
http://www.wral.com/golo/blogpost/3346615/
http://bagrec.livejournal.com/677671.html



Only a matter of time until the people with boll weevils in their brain showed up.

Link Posted: 8/2/2009 6:03:12 AM EST
Originally Posted By raven:

Originally Posted By twistedcomrade:
If the swine flu is so bad, then why isn't killing people off in larger than average numbers in South America, Australia, and lower Africa where it is winter and their flu season? Move along, nothing to see here.

It's killed like 40 people in England in the off season


Bet they killed 3 times that in traffic accidents during the same time period.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 6:12:03 AM EST
Originally Posted By Plumbata:
Originally Posted By raven:

Originally Posted By twistedcomrade:
If the swine flu is so bad, then why isn't killing people off in larger than average numbers in South America, Australia, and lower Africa where it is winter and their flu season? Move along, nothing to see here.

It's killed like 40 people in England in the off season


Bet they killed 3 times that in traffic accidents during the same time period.



This, or general hospital screw ups such as giving the wrong meds or giving the amount.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 6:13:34 AM EST
Normal flu has a fatality rate of 0.1% during flu season. 0.0% during non-flu season

The 1918 pandemic first wave during May and June 1918 had a fatality rate of 0.5%. The current fatality rate (353 people) from April to July in the USA is 0.5% with modern medicine including anti-biotics, ant-viral, and vents.

The last time a flu virus caused a 0.5% fatality rate during the summer was 1918. Then in November of 1918 when the the fatality rate soared to 2.5%. 660,000 Americans died in a 6 week period from a population of about 100 million. If the same percentages happen this fall, 2 million Americans will die in a 6 week period. The similarities are disturbing.

Pay no attention though, it's all just hype and doomers. Don't bother to look to history, it never repeats especially for people that don't do anything to help themselves.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 6:18:50 AM EST
Originally Posted By Plumbata:
Originally Posted By jeffco55:
There are 500,000 plastic coffins stockpiled right outside of Hartsfield in ATL.
http://www.wral.com/golo/blogpost/3346615/
http://bagrec.livejournal.com/677671.html



Only a matter of time until the people with boll weevils in their brain showed up.



I forgot to put my sarcastic face on when I posted that... there you go..
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 6:22:39 AM EST
Good! I'm stock up on ammo for government season.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 6:22:41 AM EST
I bought a pallet of them recently and developed a mass fatality management protocol for my job.
Like any other prep, I'd rather have it in the warehouse ready to deploy then be on the phone with OEM in the middle of the 3rd shift trying to locate scarce resources.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 6:34:29 AM EST
"If I die, burn me, and scatter my ashes in a strong east wind."
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 7:41:39 AM EST
Originally Posted By Mach:
Figures, people here more concerned about spelling and thinking the .govt is wasting dollars instead of the conflict between what they are saying " the swine flu is mild" and buying specially sealed body bags for the flu season. Just follow the herd to the slaughter. Everything is fine.

I should have put this in the SF. My bad.

We are a nation of drones.

That said, I think the swine flu is a non-issue. As for the apparent conflict between that attitude and the acquisition of body bags, well, isn't ARFcom all about contingency planning?
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 7:42:33 AM EST
Originally Posted By R_Flagg_77:
OK... Who gives a rats ass?

You don't need to worry until they start stocking up on backhoes, bulldozers, gasoline, and dump trucks.

And lye. You forgot the most important item.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 7:43:39 AM EST
Who among us can now deny that something may have begun?

Link Posted: 8/2/2009 7:46:25 AM EST
Originally Posted By Mach:

Pay no attention though, it's all just hype and doomers. Don't bother to look to history, it never repeats especially for people that don't do anything to help themselves.


SARS
Bird Flu
now Swine Flu

Bird flu, BIRD FLU WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE WHEN IT GOES H2H.

It never did. We're still here.

Not saying shit can't or won't happen, but it's not too likely.

Balance.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 7:47:34 AM EST
Madagascar just closed all borders and suspended flights.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 8:01:03 AM EST
Originally Posted By TheNamelessOne:
Madagascar just closed all borders and suspended flights.












Link Posted: 8/2/2009 8:03:55 AM EST
Originally Posted By jeffco55:
There are 500,000 plastic coffins stockpiled right outside of Hartsfield in ATL.
http://www.wral.com/golo/blogpost/3346615/
http://bagrec.livejournal.com/677671.html


Not
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 9:04:37 AM EST
Originally Posted By TheNamelessOne:
Madagascar just closed all borders and suspended flights.



Link Posted: 8/2/2009 9:07:35 AM EST
Originally Posted By TheNamelessOne:
Madagascar just closed all borders and suspended flights.


I could never get Madagascar.....
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 9:24:06 AM EST
I'm still waiting on the zombie virus to start spreading.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 9:28:03 AM EST
Never seen so many people worried about getting a freaking cold.

Drink some orange juice, do some push ups
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 10:05:34 AM EST
I spent 9 hours yesterday in an N95 mask. I was exposed to H1N1 on the 27th and have to wear the mask at work until the 3rd.

Locally, we have 8 H1N1 people on vents. With 25 confirmed cases. Kind of odd for the off season.
All of the confirmed cases that I have seen in the ER are fairly sick. About half require admission. But that does not account for the people with fortitude who stay home and suck it up.


The only thing I am certain about. This winter is going to suck for health care people. I am betting that everyone gets a mask. Staff and patients.
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