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What is the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) and how is is used at PODs?

The federal Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) has large quantities of medicine and medical supplies to protect the American public if there is a public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out. Once federal and local authorities agree that the SNS is needed, medicines will be delivered to any state in the U.S. within 12 hours. Each state has plans to receive and distribute SNS medicine and medical supplies to local communities as quickly as possible.

Niagara County is prepared to receive, process and distribute medication, supplies and equipment to Points of Distribution (POD) sites and hospitals throughout the County. 

If Niagara County is impacted by a biological, chemical, radiological, nuclear, or explosive event, the County Emergency Manager along with the Director of the Health Department will coordinate federal, state and local resources to provide Niagara County residents with the services they need during the emergency.

To ensure that our residents receive medication during such an emergency, Niagara County departments will work together to receive medical supplies from the state and federal government. The materials will be processed and distributed to Point of Dispensing (POD) sites. Staff and volunteers will operate the PODs.

POD sites are typically large facilities (universities, colleges, high schools) located throughout the County. Depending on the nature of the medical emergency PODs may have to operate 24 hours a day for several days.  Niagara County Public Health has agreements with many locations throughout the County to operate POD’s in the event of an emergency.

The Niagara County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) may be activated during an emergency.  Team members would work in the POD’s to bring services to the public in an efficient manner.

Volunteers may also be mobilized during any event. Some examples of an emergency event that would require volunteer health / medical staff are pandemic flu, smallpox outbreak, large scale foodborne/waterborne outbreak or any large scale environmental exposure to disease event that exceeds the surge capacities of our hospitals, medical clinics, and related health systems.

In addition to administering vaccine, volunteers would be assigned to help fill out forms, give people directions, keep track of supplies, or perform other jobs, such as:

  • Set up and break down equipment;
  • Help those being vaccinated to complete paperwork;
  • Streamline and direct people waiting to be vaccinated;
  • Provide computer network support and a backup paper system; and
  • Support internal communications.
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