I recently read an article (although I can’t find it) about a health department who conducted a point of distribution (POD) exercise during the holidays. Instead of handing out Tic Tacs or some other silliness, they did something great for their community – they distributed turkey dinners to those in need. As I don’t have the article to reference and I had only skimmed over it the first time through, I don’t have the details of how they pulled this off, but having participated in the planning of POD exercises (particularly those that have a direct impact on the community, such as one that distributed preparedness kits and information) I can surmise how they did it.
As most of my readers know, emergency management is a collaborative process. While local health departments are responsible for medical points of distribution, they can’t do it alone. These are massive efforts to inoculate or prophylax hundreds if not thousands of persons within a narrow time frame. These efforts require cooperation and support from emergency management, law enforcement, fire service, EMS, hospitals, volunteer organizations, and the private sector. Commodity PODs can also be established, not necessarily run by the health department, with the intent of distributing needed commodities – such as tarps, food, or water – to the populace. Health departments, however, are required to exercise their POD plans, which requires registration, intake, education, and inoculation of citizens.
In the example I linked to in the first paragraph regarding the preparedness kits, the health department was able to purchase most items and utilized a mix of staff and volunteers to run the POD, with support from other agencies to address traffic, parking, and other needs. In the turkey dinner exercise, I imagine they were able to pay for some items and had others donated for this worthwhile effort. It’s a great way of supporting the community with an immediate need while preparing for a future need. Kudos to that community!
Now if I can only find that article…
6/17/14 Edit… I found a reference!
LLIS posted an ‘Innovative Practice’ bulletin about this exercise. It can be found here. To clarify/correct, it was actually an SNS exercise.
© 2014 Timothy Riecker