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Strategic National Stockpile and Points of Dispensing

OWMRC Team Leader

Strategic National Stockpile  

About the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS)

Strategic National Stockpile is the nation’s largest supply of potentially life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for use in a public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out.

When state, local, tribal, and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts, the stockpile ensures that the right medicines and supplies get to those who need them most during an emergency. Organized for scalable response to a variety of public health threats, this repository contains enough supplies to respond to multiple large-scale emergencies simultaneously.


The National Pharmaceutical Stockpile was created in 1999 to ensure the nation’s readiness against potential agents of bioterrorism like botulism, anthrax, smallpox, plague, viral hemorrhagic fevers, and tularemia. The mission was to assemble large quantities of essential medical supplies that could be delivered to states and communities during an emergency within 12 hours of the federal decision to use the stockpile.

The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks prompted federal legislation and directives to strengthen public health emergency readiness. In 2003, the National Pharmaceutical Stockpile was renamed Strategic National Stockpile.

Today, the Strategic National Stockpile works with governmental and nongovernmental partners to upgrade the ability to respond to a national public health emergency, ensuring that federal, state, and local agencies are ready to receive, and stage and distribute products.

Since its beginning, the stockpile has responded to multiple large-scale emergencies including floods, hurricanes, and influenza pandemics. It has also supported various small-scale deployments for the treatment of individuals with life-threatening infectious diseases like anthrax, smallpox, and botulism.

Points of Dispensing  

Point of Dispensing Sites or PODs are designated locations in our community that will serve as the distribution location of Strategic National Stockpile medications and/or immunizations in the event of a public health emergency. These are in facilities large enough to handle thousands of people during the response. Our goal is to identify and provide the affected population with the proper medications within a forty-eight hour period.

There are two strategies for getting stockpile medications into the hands of the population; Open PODs and Closed PODs.

Open PODs are locations open for the public (residents and visitors) to report, complete registration paperwork and household member information, receive the required medications and/or immunizations, obtain important health education, and be advised of the next course of action. Open PODs are operated by DOH-Okaloosa staff members and volunteers. In Okaloosa County, the following locations in Okaloosa County have been identified as Open POD sites:

  • North – Crestview Community Center (walk-in and/or drive-thru)
  • Central – Northwest Florida State College Raider Arena (walk-in)
  • South – Emerald Coast Convention Center (walk-in), The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island (drive-thru)

Closed PODs are locations such as Churches, organizations, industries, critical infrastructure, military bases, hospitals, etc. that will serve their congregations, membership, employees and their families, first responders and their families, active duty military members or retirees and their dependents, health care workers and their families. Closed PODs locations are required to enter into an agreement with DOH-Okaloosa.  Locations are provided training on how to staff and operate a Close POD, how and where to obtain the stockpile medications for their location, and how to practice and exercise their individual plans to provide this important service for their people.

Advantages to operating a Closed POD:

  • Helps the Organization – Fits into your Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP).
  • Helps your Employees – Guaranteed medication for yourself, employees, and family members. Plus, it is more convenient than an Open POD!
  • Helps the County – Fewer people to serve at Open PODs.