Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the Strategic National Stockpile
What is the SNS?
The Center for Disease Control (CDC)'s Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) has large quantities of medicine and medical supplies to protect the public in the event of a public health emergency (i.e. terrorist attack, flu outbreak, and earthquake). If requested by the Governor, supplies are delivered within 12 hours to regional sites and redistributed by County Emergency Managers within a 48-96 hour period to specific locations. The medicine in the SNS is free for everyone. The SNS, however, is a replacement, not a first response tool.
Who activates the SNS?
The SNS is activated when there is evidence showing the overt release of an agent that might adversely affect public health. To receive SNS assets, the affected State's Governor's office will directly request the deployment of the SNS assets from CDC or Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS, CDC and other federal officials will evaluate the situation and determine a prompt course of action.
How long does it take to get medication from the SNS to a local site?
The SNS is organized for flexible response. The first line of support lies within the immediate response 12-hour Push Packages. These are caches of pharmaceuticals, antidotes, and medical supplies designed to provide rapid delivery of a broad spectrum of assets for an ill defined threat in the early hours of an event. These Push Packages are positioned in strategically located, secure warehouses ready for immediate deployment to a designated site within 12 hours of the federal decision to deploy SNS assets.
What is included in the SNS?
The SNS is a national repository of antibiotics, chemical antidotes, antitoxins, life-support medications, IV administration, airway maintenance supplies, and medical/surgical items. The SNS is designed to supplement and re-supply state and local public health agencies in the event of a national emergency anywhere and at anytime within the U.S. or its territories.
Where do the SNS materials go to once activated?
HHS will transfer authority for the SNS material to the state and local authorities once it arrives at the designated receiving and storage site. This receipt, staging and storage (RSS) site is a secured, undisclosed site within the state's jurisdiction. State and local authorities will then begin the breakdown of the 12-hour Push Package for distribution to the regional, county, and local level.
Are hospitals included in the SNS?
Yes, included in the SNS plan are provisions for the delivery of SNS assets to local hospitals to augment their supplies to treat the symptomatic, the ill and the injured.
What is a POD?
PODs are fixed locations designed to provide medicines to well individuals, and contingency plans are in place to transport symptomatic individuals to hospitals from PODs. POD facilities are identified in each county to service up to 20,000 people, and operate on 12 hour shifts for a 3 to 4 day period.
Who operates the PODs?
Each POD is staffed by volunteers from the local community. At each POD there has been key personnel already identified and trained in POD operations, such as the POD manager, safety, planning, and operational positions. Upon activation, additional trained volunteers will fulfill other roles such as greeters, registrars, and escorts. Those volunteers that require additional training will receive "just-in-time" training.
How is the community notified that a POD is open and where to go?
Upon activation of the SNS, county authorities will activate the Emergency Broadcast System and a variety of other services to disseminate information to the public regarding POD locations and special instructions.
What about people that can not drive to a POD?
The SNS plan has specific procedures regarding special populations such as the homebound, the infirmed, and the incarcerated. Once the SNS plan has been activated, certain agencies such as nursing homes, prisons and Area Agencies on Aging have policies for obtaining SNS assets for their population. Homebound citizens that are not part of a formal program will be given special instructions over the Emergency Broadcast System.
How can I volunteer my services to the POD?
Individuals who wish to volunteer at a POD can contact their county Emergency Management Agency (EMA). Phone numbers for County EMA's are located in the blue pages of the phone book or at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency's (PEMA) website http://www.pema.state.pa.us , County Coordinators link.
If the PODs are for well people, what if sick people arrive?
Included in the SNS Plan are procedures for POD staff greet and screen to assure that people showing symptoms will be segregated and evaluated by Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for onsite treatment or transport to a hospital.
POD Operations & Management
If I volunteer at the POD, will I be insured?
Yes, depending on your personal circumstances you may be insured by either the school district or by the County policy that covers Emergency Volunteers.
Who is responsible for POD volunteer training?
Currently, County EMA's are responsible to assure there is formal awareness level training for an adequate number of volunteers for each POD. Awareness level training is also available through the North Central Task Force on the Cocciardi website, http://www.cocciardi.com , utilizing the SNS-POD North Central online training link.
Will I, as a POD volunteer, be liable for any mistakes I make at the POD?
While, no one can guarantee complete protection, Pennsylvania has addressed liability protection and afforded "Good Samaritan" Protection in the Counterterrorism, Planning, Preparedness and Response Act of 2002.
Do POD operations run 24 hours a day?
Yes, the SNS plan calls for POD operation to run 24 hours a day, for a 3 to 4 day period, typically utilizing 12 hour shifts. The rapid nature of the activation and the continuous operations necessitates the need for as many as 120 volunteers per shift; this number may be reduced depending on the style of activation (e.g. oral medications versus and injection).
Where do I go to get more information?
For more information, contact your County EMA or Cocciardi and Associates, Inc. at 570-963-0240.