The Strategic National Stockpile - What it means to you
CDC's Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) has large quantities of medicine and
medical supplies to protect the American public if there is a public health
emergency (terrorist attack, flu outbreak, earthquake) 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.
should you know about the medicines in the SNS?
The medicine in
the SNS is FREE for everyone.
The SNS has
stockpiled enough medicine to protect people in several large cities at the
and local community planners are working together to ensure that the SNS
medicines will be delivered to the affected area to protect you and your
family if there is a terrorist attack.
How will you get your medicine if the SNS is delivered to your area?
are prepared to receive SNS medicine and medical supplies from the state to
provide to everyone in the community who needs them.
Find out about
how to get medicine to protect you and your family by watching TV, listening
to the radio, reading the newspaper, checking the community Web site on the
Internet or learning from trusted community leaders.
More Detailed Information about the
Helping State and Local Jurisdictions Prepare for a National Emergency
act of terrorism (or a large scale natural disaster) targeting the U.S. civilian
population will require rapid access to large quantities of pharmaceuticals and
medical supplies. Such quantities may not be readily available unless special
stockpiles are created. No one can anticipate exactly where a terrorist will
strike and few state or local governments have the resources to create
sufficient stockpiles on their own. Therefore, a national stockpile has been
created as a resource for all.
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 re-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 jointly by
DHS and HHS. With the signing of the BioShield legislation, the SNS Program was
returned to HHS for oversight and guidance. The SNS Program works with
governmental and non-governmental partners to upgrade the nationís public health
capacity to respond to a national emergency. Critical to the success of this
initiative is ensuring capacity is developed at federal, state, and local levels
to receive, stage, and dispense SNS assets.
National Repository of Life-Saving Pharmaceuticals and Medical Materiel
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 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.
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.
Determining and Maintaining SNS Assets
determine and review the composition of the SNS Program assets, HHS and CDC
consider many factors, such as current biological and/or chemical threats, the
availability of medical materiel, and the ease of dissemination of
pharmaceuticals. One of the most significant factors in determining SNS
composition, however, is the medical vulnerability of the U.S. civilian
The SNS Program ensures that the medical materiel stock is rotated and kept
within potency shelf-life limits. This involves quarterly quality
assurance/quality control checks (QA/QCís) on all 12-hour Push Packages, annual
100% inventory of all 12-hour Push Package items, and inspections of
environmental conditions, security, and overall package maintenance.
Supplementing State and Local Resources
During a national emergency, state, local, and private stocks of medical
materiel will be depleted quickly. State and local first responders and health
officials can use the SNS to bolster their response to a national emergency,
with a 12-hour Push Package, VMI, or a combination of both, depending on the
situation. The SNS is not a first response tool.
Rapid Coordination & Transport
The SNS Program is committed to have 12-hour Push Packages delivered anywhere in
the U.S. or its territories within 12 hours of a federal decision to deploy. The
12-hour Push Packages have been configured to be immediately loaded onto either
trucks or commercial cargo aircraft for the most rapid transportation.
Concurrent to SNS transport, the SNS Program will deploy its Technical Advisory
Response Unit (TARU). The TARU staff will coordinate with state and local
officials so that the SNS assets can be efficiently received and distributed
upon arrival at the site.
Transfer of SNS Assets to State and/or Local Authorities
HHS will transfer authority for the SNS materiel to the state and local
authorities once it arrives at the designated receiving and storage site. State
and local authorities will then begin the breakdown of the 12-hour Push Package
for distribution. SNS TARU members will remain on site in order to assist and
advise state and local officials in putting the SNS assets to prompt and
When and How is the SNS Deployed?
The decision to deploy SNS assets may be based on evidence showing the overt
release of an agent that might adversely affect public health. It is more
likely, however, that subtle indicators, such as unusual morbidity and/or
mortality identified through the nationís disease outbreak surveillance and
epidemiology network, will alert health officials to the possibility (and
confirmation) of a biological or chemical incident or a national emergency. To
receive SNS assets, the affected stateís governorís office will directly request
the deployment of the SNS assets from CDC or HHS. HHS, CDC, and other federal
officials will evaluate the situation and determine a prompt course of action.
Training and Education
The SNS Program is part of a nationwide preparedness training and education
program for state and local health care providers, first responders, and
governments (to include federal officials, governorsí offices, state and local
health departments, and emergency management agencies). This training not only
explains the SNS Programís mission and operations, it alerts state and local
emergency response officials to the important issues they must plan for in order
to receive, secure, and distribute SNS assets.
conduct this outreach and training, CDC and SNS Program staff are currently
working with HHS, Regional Emergency Response Coordinators at all of the U.S.
Public Health Service regional offices, state and local health departments,
state emergency management offices, the Metropolitan Medical Response System
cities, the Department of Veteransí Affairs, and the Department of Defense.