SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Local exercise addresses mass-distribution of medicines


March 27, 2008

Ketchikan, Alaska - In cooperation with the State of Alaska Division of Public Health, public officials from Ketchikan and Southeast Alaska communities attended a "Strategic National Stockpile" tabletop exercise in Ketchikan on March 25th.

The purpose of the exercise was to discuss the receiving of pharmaceuticals and supplies should there be a need for mass-distribution of medicines in the event of pandemic influenza, a public health emergency, or other health related event where mass-distribution of pharmaceuticals would be necessary.

jpg pharmaceuticals and supplies packs

Packs of pharmaceuticals and supplies

Participants included: Ketchikan Public Health Center, Ketchikan General Hospital, Airport officials, United States Coast Guard, City and Borough officials, Medical Reserve Corps, local pharmacists, school district, local Tribal Health officials, and Aero Services, along with representatives from Prince of Wales Island, Petersburg, Wrangell, and Metlakatla. Participants reviewed emergency operations plans and discussed the federal and state requirements should a "Strategic National Stockpile" delivery become necessary in Ketchikan.

Having a SNS plan identified prior to the arrival of the "Strategic National Stockpile" will affect the speed and effectiveness of the distribution process. To effectively receive, distribute, and dispense the SNS once it arrives, a SNS team must be established to address issues like; who is responsible, where is the best location for receiving and staging the SNS, how is inventory management accomplished, where will dispensing sites and treatment centers be located, and how will we provide protection of SNS assets and personnel.

The exercise will continue during the week of April 14th with a simulated "Strategic National Stockpile" shipment to Ketchikan where local participants will test what they learned during the March 25th tabletop session.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention... In 1999 Congress charged the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with the establishment of the National Pharmaceutical Stockpile (NPS). The mission was to provide a supply of large quantities of essential medical materiel to states and communities during an emergency within twelve hours of the federal decision to deploy.

The Homeland Security Act of 2002 tasked the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with defining the goals and performance requirements of the SNS Program, as well as managing the actual deployment of assets. Effective on 1 March 2003, the NPS became the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) Program managed by HHS. The SNS Program works with governmental and non-governmental partners to upgrade the nation's public health capacity to respond to a national emergency.

Once Federal, state, 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.

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. The medicine in the SNS is FREE for everyone.

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.

If the incident requires additional pharmaceuticals and/or medical supplies, follow-on vendor managed inventory (VMI) supplies will be shipped to arrive within 24 to 36 hours. If the agent is well defined, VMI can be tailored to provide pharmaceuticals, supplies and/or products specific to the suspected or confirmed agent(s). In this case, the VMI could act as the first option for immediate response from the SNS Program.

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Sources of News:

Ketchikan Fire Department,
Public Health in Ketchikan
Alaska Health and Social Services


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Ketchikan, Alaska